Fairytale Retellings & Prompts: Islands

This month we’re doing a series called the A-Z blogging challenge where we dive into Fairytale Retellings and provide prompts for writers. Writers are the people making the books, television shows, and movies of tomorrow. For more information on the challenge check out my earlier post here.

Treasure Island is an adventure tale of “buccaneers and buried gold.” Its influence is enormous on popular perceptions of pirates, including such elements as treasure maps marked with an “X”, and one-legged seamen bearing parrots on their shoulders.

It was originally serialized in the children’s magazine Young Folks from 1881 through 1882 under the title Treasure Island or the mutiny of the Hispaniola, credited to the pseudonym “Captain George North.” Though the author is a Scottish man by the name of Robert Louis Stevenson. It was first published as a book on 14 November 1883, by Cassell & Co. – (Wikipedia)

Treasure Island was originally considered a coming-of-age story and is noted for its atmosphere, characters, and action. It is one of the most frequently dramatized of all novels. The references to this work and its characters are endless.

Historian Luis Junco suggests that Treasure Island is in fact a marriage of the story of the murder of Captain George Glas on board the Earl of Sandwich in 1765 and the taking of the ship Walrus off the island of La Graciosa near Tenerife. The pirates of La Graciosa buried their treasure there before they were all killed during a bloody battle with the British navy. The treasure was never recovered.


The plot follows an old sailor named Billy Bones who checks in at the rural Admiral Benbow Inn. He tells the innkeeper’s son, Jim Hawkins, to keep a lookout for “a one-legged seafaring man.”

A former shipmate, Black Dog, confronts Bones and engages in a violent fight with him. After Black Dog is defeated and takes off running, a blind beggar named Pew visits to share a map leading to buried treasure. Shortly thereafter, Bones suffers a stroke and dies.

Pew and his accomplices attack the inn, but Jim and his mother save themselves while taking Bones’ sea chest. Inside the chest, they find a map of an island on which the infamous pirate Captain Flint hid his treasure. Jim shows the map to the local physician Dr. Livesey and the district squire John Trelawney, and they decide to make an expedition to the island, with Jim serving as a cabin boy.

They set sail on Trelawney’s schooner, the Hispaniola, under Captain Smollett. Much of the crew, as it is later revealed, are pirates who served under Captain Flint including the infamous one-legged chef Long John Silver.

Jim overhears the conspirators’ plan to mutiny after the salvage of the treasure and to assassinate the skippers.

We’re not going to give away the ending but I think you get the idea. The elements in this work of classic fiction can be found in many adaptations of pirate stories we see in film and read about today. There is of course the pirates of space and a famous doctor named Bones.

Want to relive the pirate adventure? Ten fairytale islands you can actually go to. Click here.

There have been lots of sequels and prequels added to this story. Pirates of the Caribbean created an entire different world. Doraemon the Movie: Nobita’s Treasure Island created an entire anime based off of the famous story.

How would you make this story your own? Feel free to leave a comment below about your favorite version of the story.

For more blogs participating in A to Z 2020 click the link here.


T.S. Valmond is the science fiction and young adult fantasy author of The Bolaji Kingdoms Series and The Verity Chronicles. As an award-winning poet, world traveler, and sign language interpreter she uses her experiences to fuel her stories. She’s a regular contributor to the website and founder of the Riders & Flyers group.


  1. Pirate stories are the best ;))

    1. I love them too! Most of my books are pirates in space. Let’s be honest, they’re just so cool.

  2. Wonderful post. I also write science fiction and fantasy. Historically in the romance genre, now I am working at future dystopia. Glad I found this blog.

    1. I’m glad you were able to find me too. Are you doing the A-Z blogging challenge? If you have a favorite dystopian author please share. It looks like Kiera Cass’ Selection series is coming to Netflix. I’m going to be binging other Dystopian YA authors for a bit before that happens though.

  3. I started Treasure Island twice when I was a teenager but never really got into it. There are many folktales with islands though that I would love to re-tell! Like the travels of Maeldun, for example…

    The Multicolored Diary

    1. It’s so funny how some of these ‘classics’ just don’t cut it these days. I love a good island story. My father’s family are from an island named Dominica and I’ve always wanted to place a story there. Something with a buried treasure. They filmed part of Pirates of the Caribbean there so it’s a prime location.

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