How “The Travelling Companion” became “Jophi’s Journey”

In 2011, I was in another writer’s group with a few friends of mine. We called ourselves The League of Extraordinary Scribes.

That group is no longer active, but the story that I’m currently working on started from a contest we were doing. Life soon got in the way, and until recently I feared that I had lost the files. The contest was to re-write a fairy tale. We could do whatever we wanted with it, but it had to still resemble the original story.

One of my favorite classic storytellers has always been Hans Christian Anderson. The Snow QueenThe Ugly Duckling, Thumbelina are just a few of the almost 200 stories he wrote.

But I didn’t want to do a story that was well known. I wanted something different, so I began reading through his lesser known (or never known) tales, and soon came across The Travelling Companion.

The story starts with a young boy named John who’s father is dying. After his father passes and he says his farewells, he goes out into the world to try his fortune. He soon meets a strange man who becomes his travelling companion and helps him on his journey.

The story stuck with me, so although it was quite long, I set out to rewrite it. I decided to set my version in more modern times in a city, and I made the main character female and gave her a different name. It was so long ago I don’t even remember where I got the name Jophi from.

My version has many similarities to Anderson’s, which you will see if you decide to read both of them, but I wanted Jophi to have more control over her fate than John did. Everything that led to John’s happy ending was done by his travelling companion. John was just along for the ride. I didn’t want that for Jophi, which is why I renamed my version “Jophi’s Journey”, because the story is about her, not her companion.

You can read chapter 1 HERE.

Original artwork done by Lieutenant Vilhelm Pedersen (1820-59).

Leave a Reply