King Kojata, a Polish Fairy Tale
Fairy Tales From Around The World
Last year, I finished a children’s alphabet book using fairy tales and folk tales from around the world as the theme. It was so much fun for me to illustrate using my collage method that I couldn’t wait to get it published and distributed. So I went to Lulu and got my first alphabet book published: The FairyTale Alphabet Book, Fairy Tales and Folk Tales from Around the World, available only on Lulu.
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 eleventh letter in the new book for the letter K.
King Kojata, a Polish Fairy Tale
In a certain county long ago, King Kojata had a very long beard, so long that it hung past his waist. He and his queen lived together happily but they longed for a son. One day the king went out to hunt in the forest and after a long time, grew thirsty. Finding a spring, he bent down to have a drink when a creature in the water grabbed him by the beard and refused to let go until the king promised to give him his most precious possession from the palace. Finally, the king agreed. When he returned to the palace, he found that the queen had a son.
He told no one about the strange creature in the water and his promise. After many years, the prince was out hunting when he came upon an old man who told him that it was time for the king to honor his promise. When the prince returned and told his father about the strange old man, the king finally revealed to him the story and his promise. The prince decided that he must pay the promised debt and keep his father’s promise.
After a hike through the woods, the prince came upon a small lake with twelve geese lazily swimming by. On the shore were twelve dresses, so the prince took one and hid. When the birds came ashore, they changed into beautiful girls and dressed, all but the twelfth goose. When the prince came out of hiding and showed the goose that he had her dress, she begged him to give it back. She said she would reward him if he did, so he returned her dress and she changed into a beautiful girl. She told the prince that she was the youngest daughter of the creature in the water who made the bargain with his father. She said that he was the king of the lake and when he reached her father, he was to approach him on his knees without any fear.
When he came to the creature, he was afraid because the creature was very fearsome and howled terribly. But he showed no fear and came toward him on his knees as the girl had told him. When he had nearly reached him, the girl’s father laughed and said it was a good thing that he hadn’t been frightened. To pay the debt of his father, the creature told the prince he would have to perform several tasks. The next morning the king of the lake ordered the prince to build him a marble palace in a single day. This was going to be impossible but the young girl came to him disguised as a bee and told him she would do it. The next day, he found that the palace had been built. The king of the lake was surprised but pleased and then ordered him to pick his youngest daughter from her twelve sisters. The girl had told him earlier that she would be the goose with a ladybug on her shoulder. When the geese came out, he knew just which one was the youngest daughter. On the third day, the king of the lake ordered the prince to make him a pair of boots. The prince didn’t know how he could accomplish this task as he was no shoemaker. That evening, the youngest daughter came to him and suggested they run away together. She brought food and made it look like the bed was slept in and they left.
The next day their flight was discovered and the king’s servants were ordered after them. The young daughter changed herself into a river and the prince into a bridge. When the servants crossed the bridge they could not find any tracks to follow so they returned to the king. He told them that the river and the bridge were the runaways and sent the servants out again. This time the maiden had turned herself and the prince into a dense forest and the servants became helplessly lost. When they returned to the king, he decided to go after them himself. This time the maiden had changed herself into a church and the prince into a priest. When the king came by he demanded to know if the priest had seen the prince and his daughter. He told the king that they had passed and sent their greetings. Finally, the king gave up looking and turned back.
The girl and the prince returned to the palace of his father the king and later they married.
I looked through several photo references for boys and geese. In the end, I used a good stock photo I had found in Pixabay of a boy and a photo I had taken of a goose. I wanted this goose to seem unusual and a bit magical so I used lots of purples. 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.
In my collages, I use paper from magazines, old wall calendars, catalogs, and circulars. Often I will add things into a collage you can't see unless you are looking for it like hidden pictures. The collage contains a submarine and some fish, a couple of snowflakes, a white horse, and a frosty blue flower in the water. There are a book and a fairy in the weeds, a sleeping princess on the goose, a clock, and a lady on the boy’s shoulder.
Happiness is like those palaces in fairy tales whose gates are guarded by dragons: we must fight in order to conquer it.— Alexandre Dumas
Did you like this story’s ending? I thought the prince was very brave and deserved to be rewarded after facing the creature in the water.
I hope you like my story and my fairy tale alphabet book idea. If you are interested you can purchase the first one on Lulu but not on Amazon. I’d love to read your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.