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Jasper Who Herded Hares, A Scandinavian Fairy Tale

Updated on September 4, 2020
PAINTDRIPS profile image

As a children's book illustrator, Denise has many things to say about the process, her struggles, and children's books on the market today.

The illustration for Jasper, Who Herded Hares
The illustration for Jasper, Who Herded Hares | Source

The FairyTale Alphabet Book

Last year, I finished a children’s alphabet book using fairy tales and folk tales from around the world as the theme. After I danced the happy dance at my success, I noticed that there were a lot more fairy tales out there that I didn’t use, enough to make a whole series using global fairy tales and folk tales. Thus the conception of my second alphabet book began. I have only been working on it since February and so I haven’t finished very many of the illustrations. Here is the tenth letter in the new book for the letter J.

My collection of references for the illustration
My collection of references for the illustration | Source

Jasper Who Herded Hares, A Scandinavian Fairy Tale

There once was a small kingdom, so small one could the border to the east and to the west from one of the towers of the king’s castle. The king of this kingdom had only one child, a daughter. He didn’t want to see her marry just anyone, so he devised a series of tests for any suitors. First, they had to bring twelve of the fines pearls, to ensure the suitor was rich. Next, they had to perform certain great feats of the king’s devising. Many princes and merchants came bringing pearls but they couldn’t perform the great tasks. Many poor men came trying the tasks but brought false pearls and were turned away.

One day a fisherman with three sons brought home three-dozen oysters. Each one contained a fine pearl. He told his sons, Peter, Paul, and Jasper, that they should each take twelve pearls to the castle and try for the hand of the princess. Peter left first with his pouch of pearls and a lunch for the trip. Along the way, he met the King of the Ants, who had been battling the King of the Beetles. They were loosing and so the King of the Ants asked Peter for his help. Peter told them he didn’t have time for such nonsense. He was about important business and he left them. Next, he came upon an old woman who asked what he was carrying so carefully in his pouch. Peter didn’t want to tell her about the pearls so he lied that they were cinders to make his fire for lunch. The old woman said, very well, they are cinders. And when Peter got to the castle his bag of pearls had turned into a bag of cinders so he was turned away. When he got home, he didn’t tell his father about the cinders. He was too ashamed.

The next to try was Paul. He took his bag of pearls and headed to the castle. When he met the King of the Ants, he answered much the same as his brother had and went on. When he met the old woman on the way, he too didn’t want to tell her what was in his pouch so he said he had a bag of rocks. The old woman said, very well, they are rocks. When Paul got to the cast his bag of pearls had turned into a bag of rocks, and so he too was turned away.

Finally, it was Jasper’s turn. When he came upon the battle between the ants and the beetles, he helped the King of the Ants and they won. When he met the old woman he told the truth that he had a bag of pearls. She asked him for his lunch and thinking he could eat at the castle, he gave her all he had to eat. As he left, the old woman called him back and gave him a special whistle. She told him that it could bring back whatever he had lost.

When Jasper arrived with twelve of the most beautiful pearls, the king was not happy. He didn’t look much like a good son-in-law to him so he devised the hardest of tasks for him to do. He put him in a room with four sacks of wheat, barley, oats, and rye mixed together and told him that he had to sort them by the end of the day. Luckily Jasper saw some ants in the room and asked them to help him. The King of the Ants sent all his troupes to Jasper and the grain was sorted before the end of the day.

Next Jasper was sent to herd a hundred hares. This would be a very hard task but with the old woman’s whistle, he was able to keep them all together. The king was not happy. He decided to trick Jasper. That day a shabby looking girl came and begged for a hare to feed her family. Jasper agreed to give her one in exchange for a kiss. After she left with the hare, he whistled and it came back. The next day a stout old woman in a peasant dress came to him. She also begged for a hare so he told her he would give her one if she agreed to tiptoe around him cackling like a hen. When she left with the hare, he whistled it back again. The next day a fat old man in a royal groom's livery came begging for a hare. Jasper agreed to give him one if he would stand on his head. When the fat old man left with the hare, Jasper whistled it back again.

There was no denying it. Jasper herded the hares well and didn’t lose a single one. For the next task, the King set out a tub and said that Jasper must fill it with undoubted truths, and only the king would be the judge when full was. So Jasper told of a shabby dress girl who came to him and kissed him but who was really the princess. Then he said that a stout old woman in a peasant dress had cackled like a hen but was really the queen. Then he said a fat old man came… and the king declared that the tub was full. The king decided that Jasper could marry the princess and would be a good king if he could look after his people as well as he looked after the hares.

Thumbnail Sketches
Thumbnail Sketches | Source

Collage Illustrations

I looked through several photo references for boys and bunnies. In the end, I ended up using a good stock photo I had found in Pixabay of a boy with a rabbit. Hares have longer ears and hind legs than rabbits so I just adjusted my drawing. I hope you enjoy seeing my progress on the collage. Sometimes after finishing the collage, I need to make a background layer using Photoshop. I decided this one didn’t need anything more added.

Refined thumbnail
Refined thumbnail | Source

Will Be Published with Lulu

This fairy tale has been shortened to fit into my book along with all the other letters of the alphabet. If you would like to read the full version, you can Google the title and find the story as Jasper Who Herded Hares.

Hidden Pictures

In my collages, I will add things into a collage you can't see unless you are looking for it like hidden pictures. This collage contains raspberries on the boy’s shirt, a little dog, a bouquet of flowers, and a castle.

Value sketch
Value sketch | Source

I love fairy tales because I think that behind fairy tales, there is always a meaning.

— Monica Bellucci
Color Composition
Color Composition | Source

Final Thoughts

Did you like this story’s ending? I thought Jasper deserved to be rewarded after being honest with the old beggar woman and then passing all the king’s tests even though he tried to trick him. I’d love to read your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.

Comments

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    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      10 months ago from Fresno CA

      Devika Primić,

      I'm glad you like it. It was a very enjoyable story for me to illustrate too. The hares were so much fun to create. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      10 months ago from Fresno CA

      Umesh Chandra Bhatt,

      I am successful if people are entertained. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      10 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Denise incredible! It is a great story and told with an emotion. illustrations are beautiful and I like the story.

    • bhattuc profile image

      Umesh Chandra Bhatt 

      10 months ago from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India

      Very nicely narrated. I enjoyed the tale. Thanks.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      10 months ago from Fresno CA

      Linda Crampton,

      I hope that the process is educational as well. There is a lot of effort and planning that go into any children's book illustration. The behind-the-scenes work is long and complicated and I think many people don't appreciate all that goes into every children's book on the market. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      10 months ago from Fresno CA

      Peggy Woods,

      I do love a happy ending. Maybe it is the child in me. I don't like to be sad. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      10 months ago from Fresno CA

      Rosina S Khan,

      Thank you. I think this one would make a cute animated movie too. I bet the kiss the princess got as the disguised peasant girl convinced her about Jasper too. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      10 months ago from Fresno CA

      RoadMonkey,

      Yes, I feel like I am unearthing real treasure for others to enjoy with me. I'm glad you like this one too. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      10 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I love reading the fairy tales that you share. It's very interesting to discover traditional tales from different parts of the world. It's always interesting to see your art as well.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      10 months ago from Houston, Texas

      I am learning more fairy tales from you than I ever heard as a child. This one ended happily for Jasper, and, as always, your artwork is superb!

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      10 months ago from Fresno CA

      Drew Agravante,

      I'm so happy you like it. These kinds of stories make me so happy. It's my favorite thing along with the art. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      10 months ago from Fresno CA

      Bill Holland,

      Yes, you did, but did you have to herd hares to get the opportunity? Since I know some of your story I figure you had to go through a lot worse than herding hares. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      10 months ago from Fresno CA

      peachy,

      I was hoping that they would be educational, multicultural, and enlightening as well as fun. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • surovi99 profile image

      Rosina S Khan 

      10 months ago

      I loved the tale of Jasper who treated loyally and helped all those on his way to the King. The King made it hard for him to pass his tests but Jasper made it all and won the heart of the King and rightly deserved the princess. I liked the illustrations too- most of all the moral of the story was great. Thanks for your superb contribution.

    • RoadMonkey profile image

      RoadMonkey 

      10 months ago

      That's another great story. You are finding some real treasures with these stories.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      10 months ago from Fresno CA

      Lorna Lamon,

      I thought it was a welcome ending too. The morals are so clear for me. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      10 months ago from Fresno CA

      Liz Westwood,

      For me it is all about the art and what brought me to the final destination. Even the research of the stories I will use is all a means to the end of creating the art. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      10 months ago from Fresno CA

      Marie Flint,

      I'll do my best to keep them coming. I was enchanted by this one too. It makes a difference when there is kindness and thoughtfulness rewarded. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      10 months ago from Fresno CA

      Eric Dierker,

      Thanks. I liked Jasper too. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • Drew Agravante profile image

      Drew Agravante 

      10 months ago from Philippines, Currently in Qatar

      I love this story. Though it may look simple. It's full of inspiring thoughts that could go into one's heart. Thanks, Jasper. Thanks, Denise!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      10 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Well done Jaspar! Well done you! Loved this story. I feel a bit like Jaspar in that I married a princess. :)

      Blessings always

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 

      10 months ago from Home Sweet Home

      I love all your stories, very unique and one of a kind. Never heard before, not from the fables for sure

    • Lorna Lamon profile image

      Lorna Lamon 

      10 months ago

      A wonderful tale with so life's lessons etched between the lines. Your artwork always does justice to the piece. Loved the happy ending.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      10 months ago from UK

      This is a lovely tale with a lot of depth to it. So many lessons can be drawn out of it. It is very interesting to see your references for the illustration, its creation and the excellent finished product.

    • Marie Flint profile image

      Marie Flint 

      10 months ago from Jacksonville, FL USA

      Another masterpiece, Denise. It's such a crazy little story. I remember another one with ants. The protagonist was kind to the little insects, who later helped him complete the task of gathering thousands of scattered sunflower seeds. I don't remember any other details off the top of my head. The story was from THE ENCHANTED PRINCESS AND OTHER TALES that remains on the farm in Michigan. My sister had given the book to me one year for Christmas.

      Keep those magical stories coming along with those equally enchanting illustrations!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      10 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Excellent story telling. This is one of those real clear messages. Illustrations are fun indeed.

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