Hlapić the Apprentice

Small as an elbow, cheerful as a bird, brave as king Marko, wise as a book, and good as the sun." Everyone knows that under this description is the apprentice Hlapić, one of the most famous fictional characters in Croatian literature. It is about a small shoemaker who worked in the workshop of the strict master Mrkonja. After an argument with master Mrkonja and fear of being beaten, Hlapić takes his boots, leaves the workshop and goes on adventures where he meets Gita, the long-lost daughter of master Mrkonja and his future love, a black man, Grga and many others. The character of the apprentice Hlapić was created by the writer Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić in her work The Strange Incident of the Apprentice Hlapić.

Due to its popularity, Hlapić leaves the frame of literature and gets several drama adaptations, then a radio drama adaptation, and finally a screen adaptation. Silvio Petranović's feature film entitled Šegrt Hlapić was shot in 2013, 100 years after Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić published the first edition of the book. One of the most well-known and children's favorite adaptations is the 1997 cartoon The Strange Incident of Hlapić's Apprentice. It is a feature-length cartoon produced by Croatia Film, which is considered the most successful Croatian animation project and was nominated for an Oscar. The main difference between the cartoon and the book is that the characters in the book are people and in the cartoon they are animals. For example, Hlapić is depicted as a mouse, and the black man is no longer a black man, but a black rat. Due to its popularity, the film is getting a sequel in the form of a 26-episode television cartoon series called Hlapić's new adventures. The book and the cartoon have been translated into other languages. Hlapić and friends also appear in the edition entitled Hlapić's sports games with the aim of promoting sports activities among children, and Hlapić also becomes the face of the police campaign called "Respect our signs".

Find out more: