Yousra Sheded's profile
القنديل الصغير The Little Lantern Short Story
My first attempt to illustrate a short story "The Little Lantern" By the palestinian writer "Ghassan Kanafani"
as a personal project.
Main character model sheet
"The Little Lantern"
Written by: Ghassan Kanafani
Translated: Nora Shawwa
Illustrated: Yousra Sheded
The city woke up one morning to sad and painful news. The beloved old king who had ruled justly all his life and who loved by all the people had died...
The grief felt by his people was even grater because the king’s only successor to the throne was a young daughter who was unable to rule the kingdom.
But the king had left his daughter a will in which he stated, in just a few words: “To become queen, you must bring the sun into the palace.”
In his short will the king also said, “If you are unable to bring the sun into the palace then, as your punishment, you will spend the rest of your life in a closed wooden chest.”
After the little princess read the will she called the sage of the palace and told him that her father had entrusted her with an extremely difficult mission and that she had no desire to become queen...

But the old sage told her that the laws of the kingdom were written a long time ago and forbade a prince or princess from refusing the throne. “the daughter of the king cannot be anything but a princess” he added. “Our kingdom has lived in everlasting happiness because each one of us knows his duty and does not run away from it. Your father, the king, was very wise when he told you to bring the sun into the palace or forever live in a closed wooden chest.”
The next morning, the princess decided to climb up the high mountain over which the sun passed every day, and she asked the sage’s opinion about her plan. He told her, “Little princess, you have to bring the sun to our kingdom without anyone’s help.”
So the little princess started to climb the high mountain...
Only when the princess reached the top did she realize that the sun was still too far away beyond anyone’s reach..
So she returned to the palace feeling miserable and locked herself in her room and wept.
Two days later, the sad princess saw a small piece of paper that had been slipped under her door. She rushed over and began to read it. It contained onle one short sentence: “You will not be able to fine the sun in a locked room.”

The princess was puzzled because she did not know who had written the note. Nevertheless, she decided she would continue her search for the sun even of she had to climb up the mountain every day...
At the same time the princess hung a notice on the outer walls of the palace stating the any man who could help her bring the sun into the palace would be rewarded with precious jewels...

Soon, all the people knew that the little princess wanted to bring the sun into the palace, but no one was able to help her. Some people decided that the princess was mad because she was seeking the impossible; others decided that she was a wise princess because she wanted to achieve the impossible, but they were all incapable of helping her...
In the next morning the old sage came to the princess and told her that the chance was given to her is about to finish. The old sage explained, “ your father, the king, has told me before he died to light a big candle immediately after he die.. and if the the candle melted before you bring the sun, Your punishment will be inevitably...
When the old sage left the room the princess became extremely sad and realized that she would never become queen. She began to imagine herself in the royal robes that she would never ever be able to wear...
As she drowned deeper in her sorrow, a very old man tried to enter the palace.
The guards stopped him from getting in, but the old man was very stubborn...
The princess saw this from her window and heard the old man shouting at the guard, “I want to go in to help the princess.”
And the guards were yelling back, “You old and feeble man, how can you help her?”

The princess heard him shouting back....
“Alright then.. tell her that if an old man cannot enter her palace, the how does she expect the sun to enter it?”

At that moment, the old man turned his back on the palace and left. The princess tried to call him back but he had already disappeared into a nearby alley, and by the time she set her guards to find him the old man was too far away.

The princess went back to her room feeling sad and disheartened, and began thinking of what the old man had told the guards.
But she could not understand what he meant. Suddenly, she decides to summon the chief guard.
The chief guard was a strong man who had served at the palace for more than ten years.
When he entered the room, she asked him about the old man who was sent away by the guards and whether this was the first time that he had come to the palace.
He said that the old man came every evening, but the guards forbade him from entering because they believed he was insane.
The princess said, “Describe him to me.”
The guard replied, “ He is a poor man who always carries a little lantern...”

The princess said, “If the old man comes tomorrow.. let him in.”
But sadly the old man did not come the next day and the princess became sad and disheartened once again.
As she sat in her room, weeping, the princess saw another piece of paper that had been slipped under her door. She ran to it opened it and read. “Time is sunning short.. the large candle is about to melt away.. tears and sadness do not solve problems,”

The little princess felt she must do something or else spend her life in a closed wooden chest, so she summoned the chief guard. “I want you to bring to the palace every man in the kingdom who is carrying a little lantern,” she told him.
Surprised, he asked,”All this because of an old mad man?!”
The princess replied, “I should seek out the old man, maybe the solution is with him.”

Early next morning. The chief guard deployed his men throughout the kingdom. He told them to wait until darkness fell when they would have to arrest every man carrying a little lantern and immediately send him to the palace.
That evening, the princess sat by the window watching the street and waiting for the men arrive with their little lanterns..

Suddenly, the princess saw an extraordinary sight. For on the dark distant horizon there were thousands of men carrying lanterns and proceeding towards the palace from all directions.

A little while later, they all arrived at the palace gates which were narrow and closed.
They crowded around in front of them. With each passing moment the men with the lanterns grew in number but could not enter because the gated were so narrow. So the princess asked the servants to tear down the high walls and widen the entrances so everyone could enter the palace courtyard.

The princess went down to the palace courtyard by her side the chief guard to show her the old man, and when she arrived the light was glowing like the sun because of the huge number of the men with lanterns.
One of the guards said: “My princess, I can not recognize the old man..!!”
The princess was not able to open her eyes because of the light
And She said to the chief guard, “ I never would have imagined that there were so many lanterns in my kingdom.”
“they’re afraid of thieves,” the chief guard explained.
But the old sage said,”No.. when darkness falls every man carried his little lantern to find his way...”
And then he looked at the princess and said.” Can you carry all these lanterns all at once?”
“of course not.” The princess replied.
The sage said, “The same goes for the sun. It is too great for one man or one woman to carry on their own.”
“Now I understand everything,” the princess said.” The little lanterns gathered together are the sun my father wanted me to find”
The sage replied, “Yes, but look over there.”
He pointed to the window. The sun had started to rise and its rays were streaming into the palace. The princess cried, “ this is incredible. It is the first time that this has ever happened!”
The sage said, “Yes this is happening for the first time because you tore down the walls and the gates.. did you forget? Those walls were keeping the rays of the sun from entering the palace..”

The sage immediately placed the jeweled crown on the little princess’ head and told her, “You have become queen because you have fulfilled the terms of your father’s will and have carried the sun into the palace...”
The End
القنديل الصغير The Little Lantern Short Story

القنديل الصغير The Little Lantern Short Story

Illustration of a Short Story " The Little Lantern" By "Ghassan Kanafani"