I’m adding some middle-grade cover images to my portfolio (I’m an illustrator) of stories that don’t exist but that I wouldn’t mind reading. I’ve read stories about giants eating sheep, but I’ve never read of a shepherd in those stories. Surely there must be at least one shepherd in all of those accounts who has suffered the indignity of his flock being eaten. After some day dreaming, I decided to do a picture of a shepherd boy awkwardly encountering a giant eating his flock.
Sam Smith saw an early digital sketch of this piece and emailed me an accompanying poem. I am happy to report that the giant isn’t malicious. He just needs to get his snack on.
The Dining Habits of Polonius Wheeler
By S.D. Smith
THERE was a large giant who lived in the woods,
His name was Polonius Wheeler.
He mostly was nice, just a singular vice,
He sometimes became a sheep-stealer.
Wheeler rolled in, nonchalant, to the meadow,
And much to the shepherd’s chagrin.
He grabbed wriggling bunches and gobbled with munches,
The poor, little lambs near to him.
But what was our sad, huge Polonius to do,
With an appetite fixed upon lamb?
Nibble on finches? Settle for pinches,
Of berries, and jellies, and jam?
One must have meat, whatever your size,
Sparing people, what else can he do?
He must balance his diet, without causing riots,
For giants need some protein too.
Let him gobble a chubby white sheep now and then,
And let him eat cake without fuss.
For if he began fancying Englishmen,
He’d sniff and come swiftly for us.