Last year I made my first illustration of The Goose Girl (click here). I return again to the theme while prepping my portfolio for the SCBWI conference. For those unfamiliar with the story, The Goose Girl is the dark and sorrowful Grimm fairytale about a princess who, on her way to be wed, is cast down from her position by her handmaiden and must live as the girl who tends the geese. In order to ensure silence, the handmaid-turned-princess kills the princess' horse, Falada, severing its head and hanging it at the town gate. But the horse had been enchanted; in life it could speak, and in death it continued to talk to the lowly goose girl as she exited town with her flock.
'Early in the morning, when she and Conrad drove out their flock beneath this gateway, she said in passing, "Alas, Falada, hanging there!" Then the head answered, "Alas, young Queen, how ill you fare! If this your tender mother knew, Her heart would surely break in two."'
The end of 2012 and the start of 2013 has not been gentle. It's been a true time of sorrow in our family, with tragedy and another threat of loss looming on the horizon. It's been a time for tears. This made this artwork particularly difficult to draw, as it did nothing to lighten the mood of the house. Even so, I think my sadness helped me to understand the pain of the Goose Girl as she caresses Falada as he hangs there on the town gate.