I set out to create a series of illustrations for the Folktale "The Silver Sixpence". I found the tale in Katharine Briggs' book "British Folktales and Legends".
The Silver Sixpence
"There was an old farmer who had a fine herd of cattle, but they gave no milk. At last he asked a wise woman, and she said someone must be milking the cows, and he had better watch in the byre at night.
So the old man lay in the byre, but always at midnight drowsiness would come over him, and he would fall asleep. So at last he made up his mind that he must stay awake, and at midnight the byre door creaked open a little crack and a brown hare came into the byre and went from stall to stall. So the next night the old farmer watched again, and he took his gun, and loaded it with a silver sixpence and waited till midnight. In came the hare, and lolloped from stall to stall, and when she got to the door the farmer took aim and fired. He only hit her front paw, but she gave a great scream, and a flood of milk came out of her and she scampered away.
The next morning the farmer went to see an old woman that lived near. The door was shut, and her granddaughter came to it. “You’ll no can see Grannie,” she said. “She’s ill. She’s hurt her hand.” “That’ll no prevent her from seeing me,” said the farmer “An old neighbour like me.” He went in and found the old wife sitting by the fire, with her hand all bundled up. “Let’s look at your hand, Maggie woman.” Said the old farmer “Maybe I can cure it” He unwrapped the bandages and sure enough there was a wound in it, and in the middle of the wound there was a silver sixpence.
The farmer’s cows gave good milk after that."
I find this story very beautiful, charming and simple with dark undercurrents. It Ignited my imagination and I decided to imbue my imagry with symbolism drawing from the occult and folklore in order the represent the characters, atmosphere and context.
I created these drawings with pencil on paper.