Once Upon A …

Once upon a time.
That’s the way the story begins.

Tall Boy 2

Last week Margaret included many fairy tale motifs in her blog post. These forms of a fairy tale are familiar, and many  themes and stories repeat. 

Zwerger: Redcap

But the details differ.

Russian engraving

In 2010 I had a show of paintings that I thought of as illustrations for unwritten fairy tales. They looked like fairy tale pictures and there were characters who reappeared in different paintings, but the stories hadn’t been written or told.

Paschkis: The King and the Baby

That is where you come in: you bring your own story. This is always what happens with any painting, but it is explicit here.
…This week’s blog is a contest.
Please write a fairy tale for this painting:

Paschkis fairy tale painting
The winner will receive the original painting as a prize.
Please post your story as a comment (no more than 150 words please). All entries must be submitted by 6 PM,PDT on August 28th. Stories will be judged for brevity and wit.
New commenters might get stuck in the spam file for a little bit but all comments will be read and posted as soon as possible.
The winning entry will be announced and included in the blog on Thursday August 29th. That is the only place where it will be published or used.

I will mail the unframed painting (14″ x 20″, gouache on paper) to the winner.(That person can email me his/her mailing address.)
Relatives are encouraged to enter but not eligible to win.

Whoever wins will live happily ever after.

Tatiana Mavrena Carriage

30 responses to “Once Upon A …

  1. What a marvelous idea!!!!!!!!! Now to work…..

  2. Thanks for the fun and challenging opportunity! Here are my 150 words for SO SLEEPY:

    One morning the sheriff informed the children their dear father had stolen from the King and was hiding in the woods.

    “No, Sheriff!” Fritz cried. “You sent him there!”

    Heartsick, Fritz ran into the woods. Trudi hurried after.

    She lost sight of Fritz, and soon wandered in soft circles, wearier at each turn.

    She and the dog laid their heavy heads under the perfume of an apple tree and drifted to sleep.

    Yes, the woods were enchanted!

    The tree charmed Trudi’s flaxen braid right up its trunk!

    A towering bear attempted to free her. Her cries woke Fritz who had been charmed up to its top branches.

    He fell landing in the bear’s arms.

    As he did, the bear’s fur fell in chunks!

    “Father! You have been tricked by the sheriff.”

    The King rewarded them, but the sheriff had himself run into the woods to hide.

    Never to wake again.

  3. Long ago, and far away, a woodsman and his wife lived a simple but satisfying life. They would have been completely happy, but for the lack of a child. Summers were short, and winters long, but they had enough. One day, snow was deep and the ground rock-hard. A she-bear and her cub scratched in the snow around the house, looking for food. “Poor things,” said the woodsman’s wife. So each night, she placed apples on a stump for them. Later, food became plentiful and the bears wandered off and were forgotten about. Then, one hot day, the wife, resting in the orchard, dreamed she heard a bear. She woke. A real noise floated down from the treetop. And there, among the apples lay a real boy. He didn’t growl, but said, “Mama”. She carried him home and the three of them lived completely happily ever after.

  4. Great painting! Here is my story ‘The Woman and the Bear’:

    Once there lived a family who, travelling through the woods one autumn, came upon a bear. The woman and boy ran, while the man fought it off. When he did not return to them, the woman thought her husband dead. Scared for her son’s life, but exhausted from running, she bade her son climb to the top of the tallest tree to spend the night. The woman wound her long braid around the tree’s trunk so if the bear tried to reach her son while she slept she would feel the pull. While asleep she dreamt her husband was still alive inside the bear’s belly. Feeling a pull on her braid, she woke to find the bear climbing towards her son. She grabbed a branch and knocked the bear from the tree, sending him to his death. Without hesitation she sliced open the bear’s belly and her husband climbed out.

  5. Upbraided

    Once upon a time Ursula, Ernest and their dog were lost in an enchanted wood. They couldn’t see the wood for the trees.
    Ernest climbed to the top of an apple tree to see what he could see.
    Ursula had let him use her long plait to climb the trunk and reach the branches.
    From the top of the tree he looked for a way out of the wood, but the magic of the place closed his eyes and he fell asleep where he was.
    Ursula was already sleeping with her braid twined around the tree trunk where Ernest had left it.
    A she-bear had been watching them. She came closer to guard the sleeping dog and children. She knew a little bear, an earnest young man and a dog (tired) when she saw them.
    After what seemed like a hundred years she bore them out of the wood.

  6. Oops! For “children” please read “people” – this isn’t The Babes in the Wood, after all!😉 Sue

  7. Leonard ran away from home, angry with Mother for making his least favorite lunch, cherry soup. While he stomped through the cherry orchard a bear happened by thinking about her favorite lunch, little-boy-pie. The bear spotted Leonard and chased him until, trembling with fear, the boy climbed a tree.

    Poor bear! She gave up on her tasty lunch and left, but Leonard’s legs were shaking so that he couldn’t climb down. Exhausted, he fell asleep in the tree top.

    Poor Mother! She searched endlessly for her son until she fell asleep under the very tree where Leonard slept.

    Then the cherries sang:
    “Mother, mother, curl up your braid, so your son may slide down, unafraid” Mothers thick plait curled up and around the tree trunk until the tip tickled Leonard’s nose and woke him. He shimmied down the braid and found Mothers open arms waiting for him at the bottom.

  8. Stan Richardson

    The Bear’s Dream
    Once upon a time there was a bear who lived in the woods near an orchard. The bear often dreamed of the wonderful fruit that grew there and he loved watching the woman with the long yellow braid tending the trees followed by her young son and their dog. It was that dog that kept him from entering the orchard at night for a taste of the fruit.
    One summer night when the cherries were ripe, the smell of the fruit was strong and once again the orchard crept into his dreams. Only this time when he approached the trees he saw that the woman and the dog were asleep on the ground, her son sleeping soundly on the upper branches.
    Boldly stepping into the orchard, he awoke with a start to the barking of a dog close by. It was then that the bear realized he was sleepwalking.

  9. Such beautiful paintings, Julie! Thank you for this marvelous contest. I must think…

  10. Thanks for the opportunity, Julie! Love all your paintings – they’re enchanting and beautiful!
    Here is my story for The Magical Apple Tree:

    Once upon a time there were two lost siblings whose bellies were empty. They wandered through the woods and were drawn as if by magic to a luscious apple tree. Near it, slept a dog.
    “Do not fear,” whispered the girl. “He does us no harm.”
    They did not see him open one eye.
    The boy climbed up. He ate several apples and tossed others to the girl. With each bite, his eyelids drooped until he fell into a deep slumber.
    “Brother,” cried the girl. But the tree’s trunk wrapped her braid around itself, trapping her. She, too, fell asleep.
    A bear appeared from hiding. “Yum! Apple Dumplings!”
    But the dog, sent by the children’s Fairy Godmother, jumped up and chased the bear away.
    The dog never left the children’s side. They lived happily ever after in their magical apple tree, feeding those who got lost in the woods.

  11. Katjie’s little brother Petjie but he ran into the woods with their dog Lupjie, claiming he was bear hunting. They were lost, Katjie was exhausted, darkness had fallen. Katjie and Lupjie fell asleep under an apple tree. Petjie wound Katjie’s braid up the trunk as a ladder and went to sleep all the way at the top.
    A little breeze blew through the branches and Petjie started awake to find himself in the arms of the great brown bear who had stood up on tiptoe to catch him.
    “You are very naughty. I should eat you, but the dog might chase my cubs. I will leave a trail of apples you can follow out of the woods in the morning.”
    When Katjie awoke, she found Petjie sitting beside her, his eyes very big as he pointed at the trail of apples leading out of the forest.
    “Let’s go home, sister.”
    Mary C. Findley

  12. “Just as I thought,” said Hedgehog. “Matilda dreamt Murray to sleep. If she sleeps long enough, her braid will reach Murray and tickle that sleeper awake. Then Matilda will carry him home in her arms and wee puppy will come live with me. Sister and brother, Hedgehog and Puppy. Happy we all will be.

  13. Once upon a time there was a bear who owned magical apple trees. Anyone who ate the apples fell asleep and then the bear ate them. He was a very fat bear and never went hungry.

    The moral of the story is: An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but you won’t be able to bear the consequences.

  14. In a small village surrounded by a great wood, there lived a boy named Edward. Other boys often made fun of Edward and he became very withdrawn, believing himself to be lacking in courage.

    Edward was secretly fond of his neighbor Tilda who had the most beautiful hair, which she wore in a long braid. He was sure that Tilda would never consider him for a friend, since he was shunned by most everyone at school.

    One day the village was attacked and Edward, without thinking, grabbed his dog Hans and Tilda and ran into the forest. When night came, neither of them was sure if it was safe to go back. Edward climbed a tree to ensure their safety while Hans stayed with Tilda on the ground. As the evening wore on they fell into a gentle sleep, not knowing that each was dreaming of the other.

  15. Once upon a time, young Helga and her brother Hans followed their frisky hound into the deep forest and became hopelessly lost. A cloak of darkness fell upon the woods, and the children began to worry about wolves in the night.
    “I shall sleep on top of the tree,” said Hans, “where I can see the wolves if they come in the night.”
    “I shall tie myself to the tree with my hair,” said Helga, “so I will feel the tree shake if the wolves come in the night.”
    The dog lay down with his nose to the ground, so he could smell the wolves if they came in the night.
    But while they slept, a hungry and very quiet bear tippy-toed through the woods and ate them all.
    “When you prepare for one misfortune,” said the bear, picking his teeth, “you may be surprised by another one entirely.”
    (149 words)

  16. ampaschkis@juno.com

    a story for the once upon a time contest…for the sake of writing a story, because I am family and cannot win (Julie’s Mother, Marcia Paschkis) That Boy, Bon Bon, the Bear and the Apple Tree Everyone called him That Boy….That Boy always ran and ran and ran. Everyone called her Bon-Bon…she scampered right after That Boy wherever he went. One day they ran and ran beyond the town and fields and deep into the woods. They ran and ran and paid no heed to the young bear in the bushes. Because he really didn’t like being ignored, the bear paid great attention to them and followed, close as a shadow. That Boy became tired from all the running and of being followed by Bon-Bon, so he climbed way up into the apple tree and lay down close to the sky. Bon-Bon did not know where he had gone and leaned against the apple tree to rest. Both tired, both rested BUT Bon-Bon’s braid just kept on following That Boy. Now, as you know, hair never stops growing, even when you are asleep. That braid kept growing and chasing That Boy right up and around the tree trunk and through the branches. Hair does not grow quickly, by the time the braid grew near to That Boy, years had passed. That Boy had become much bigger and heavier. He was no longer comfy in the tree tops. Being a bit of a lout, he still couldn’t figure out how to get down. Then he noticed the braid, grabbed hold and climbed to the ground. The braid was so handy, he decided it should be his , took out his pocket knife and sliced it right off, rolled it into a hank and threw it over his shoulder. As soon as the braid was sheared off, Bon-Bon’s hair sprang into ringlets….this woke her right up. Not noticing how beautiful Bon-Bon had become in all the years they had been sleeping, That Boy strode away and called back., “So long!This hank will serve me well when I see what the world has to offer me” Bon-Bon had become wise in all those years of leaning into the wisdom of the apple tree. Bon-Bon watched That Boy go and laughed, “How silly I was to have ever followed the likes of him. ” Because she had become accustomed to sleeping under the apple tree, Bon-Bon went right back to sleep again. As she was so still, Bon-Bon became cold and shivered a bit. The bear noticed and came to her with his soft fun and warmth. More asleep that awake, she petted the soft pelt. Being wiser than most, the bear realized she would be most startled to wake in his arms. This most unusual bear decided he would be happier than he had ever been if he could become what would please her most. When Bon-Bon awoke she was delighted to find herself in the arms of a handsome prince, looking at her kindly, speaking sweet words and wearing just the nicest fur coat you could ever imagine. There they were….with each other. They were wise, had apples from the tree, water from the brook, wind blowing through the grass and the sun in the sky. They had all they needed….for then and probably forever. t

  17. Not all enchanted princes get rescued. Prince Doyla had grown content to live alone as a bear. However, once his son was born, matters changed. His son was human.

    Derek grew up the most protected child ever to set foot in a wood, but Doyla knew that, much as he loved Derek, the boy would be happier amongst people.

    When he saw it, a glade with trees full of the most shining, luscious, red apples, Doyla stayed. Surely people would visit sometime. At last, a girl, just Derek’s age, came to pick apples. Doyla waited for Derek to wake from his nap atop the tree, but instead the girl, belly full, fell asleep beside her dog. So, carefully, he wrapped the girl’s braid around the tree. Now they would meet, for Derek would feel the girl’s movement.

    Doyla woke to the near-forgotten sound of two humans laughing together.

  18. This is lovely, wheresmytower! There is nothing like the sound of laughter. Reminds me of J.M. Barrie’s line about the first baby’s laugh breaking into pieces “and that was the beginning of fairies.”

  19. Hello! I’m such a big fan of your art (I’ve coveted a piece for a long time), I’m so glad to have this opportunity. 150 words was quite a challenge, but here’s my entry. Hope you like it and am double-crossing my fingers!!

    “Grandma Apple”

    Far away, a cloud rose from the earth.

    “Oh, darlings,” a mother sobbed, clasping her daughter and young son. “That is a cloud of war. You must flee and hide!”

    The children fled into the forest, their dog following. Hungry and afraid, they began to weep.
    “Don’t cry,” said a smiling, old woman, suddenly behind them.

    They called her Grandma Apple. At night, with the dog and girl at her feet, Grandma Apple held the boy while stroking the girl’s hair. And when all fell asleep, only the forest animals saw the true form of the adopted grandmother.

    After 7 days, Grandma Apple gave them a fruit and told them to go home. When they returned, the children found they had been gone 7 years. They planted the fruit and called the tree that grew from it an apple tree, for it fed and protected them–just like Grandma Apple.

  20. Thanks for this opportunity. This is definitely a new writing experience/experiment for me. I enjoyed the challenge. Beautiful artwork!
    Hope you enjoy my story!

    Once upon a time Papa Bear wandered off from the Goldilocks and the Three Bears Story. All the creatures in FairytaleLand went looking for him in Johnny Appleseed’s apple orchard.
    Hansel declared, “ I shall look for him up high, for Papa Bear would certainly want to be above everything.” So he climbed the tallest apple tree and looked all about..until he promptly fell asleep.
    Rapunzel declared, “I shall look for him down low, for Papa Bear may very well be hibernating.” So she traveled throughout the forest floor and searched all about…until she promptly fell asleep.
    Old Mother Hubbard’s dog declared, “ I’ll eat the fallen apples in the orchard and sniff that bear out.” So he followed the bear’s scent and gobbled up all the apples all about…until he promptly fell asleep.
    Then Papa Bear appeared. “I found you. Who’s IT next?” And they played happily ever after…

  21. Ava Budavari-Glenn

    Hello, Julie. My name is Ava, and I am 13 years old. I absolutely love your art work! Your painting inspired me to write this story for entry into your contest:

    Felix stroked a stray dog lying in back of his stepmother’s castle.
    A memory of his sister Evangeline, banished to the forest when they were toddlers, came to him. He’d sleep at the top and Evangeline at the foot of their mother’s favorite tree. His sister would wrap her magical, golden hair around the trunk to feel her mother’s spirit.
    The dog spoke: “I am a messenger. A bear told me a girl has been captured in the forest and is in danger. Your heart is pure. You can rescue her.”
    The dog led him to the girl. They touched hands, then began running. Her captor suddenly appeared. The girl wrapped her golden hair around Felix, protecting him. “I’m Evangeline.”
    Felix had a vision of the sleeping scene. Now the bear and dog were in it. The bear whispered: “Thank you, my angel. I always knew you’d find your sister.”

  22. The witch’s flesh and fat sizzled and burned. Gretel pulled Hansel through the cottage, into the smoke-filled night. Branches scratched their faces. Rocks shredded their feet. Moonlight illuminated a clearing ahead. Gretel raced for the safe feeling of light. The kids blinked at the bright sky. A shadow fell across their faces. A kind-eyed bear raised up on two feet and spoke. “There are witches on the wind. Come!” He led them to an apple tree with a small gravestone that read, “Here lies Snow White. The tree that grew from the poisoned apple in her breast gives kids safety, gives them rest.” The bear lifted the boy into the branches and tied the girl’s braid around the trunk so she wouldn’t wander ‘til dawn. He hid in a bush beside the sleeping children, ready to defend them from the hags who had taken away his kingdom and his bride.

  23. Your painting is beautiful. Thank you for doing this!

    Bear frowned.

    In all the years he’d been guarding the apples, this had never happened. Thieves ran when they felt the ground shake as Bear approached. Any brave enough to withstand that ran after glimpsing Bear through the trees. Only one strapping young man had lasted until Bear came near him. When Bear rose to his hind legs the man screamed and fled.

    But these … *children*! had actually entered the grove. And fallen asleep! And nothing Bear did awakened them. He growled and the boy sighed. He snarled and the girl laughed. He roared and the dog rolled over.

    Still, they did look peaceful. The apples were meant to provide a peaceful rest to anyone who lay beneath them, after all. Bear was too busy watching to ever sleep himself. But perhaps he could just lie down. Perhaps he could close his eyes. He breathed the apple-scented air.

    Bear smiled.

  24. What a fun contest! My little story — wholly inspired by the beautiful painting:

    One autumn day a flaxen-haired woman and her beloved brown dog set off on a woodland walk. Several hours and so many steps later, the duo curled up under an apple tree. Deep sleep quickly found them.

    The woman conjured a son she’d lost to the ages. His spirit lived inside her, and his dreamtime visits — though ever fleeting — swaddled her soul in comfort.

    Presently a fuzzy forest bear stumbled upon the slumberous scene. He’d come to claim the fruits of the season, finally ripe for the shaking. As any smart bear would do upon discovering visitors, he listened for the whisper on the wind.

    It whooshed, “Let them sleep.”

    The bear watched over his charges until the woman awoke refreshed, rousing her playful pup and blowing kisses to her spirit son above.

    And so, his good turn done, the bear uprooted the apple tree and devoured his delicious due.

  25. Pingback: And the winner is | Books Around The Table

  26. I have spent several happy minutes reading all of these delightful stories.
    The pictures here are wonderful and the stories a joy.
    This is what art and reading and storytelling are all about.
    I will return to this site hoping for more nice days, enthralled by others creativity.
    Thanks to each of you who made my day, today.

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