Meet Karen Chace, an award-winning professional storyteller.
Every year Karen–known as “Storybug”–sends me, at my request, a heartwarming seasonal story to share with you. Here’s Karen’s 2022 contribution. I think it’s wonderful!
Viktor Vasnetsov, 1899
The Snow Maiden
A Russian folktale adapted by Karen Chace ©
Many seasons ago in the forests of Russia there lived a peasant couple Ivan and Maria. They were poor but content. They had a small, comfortable cottage to live in; enough food in their cupboards, wood for the fire, and many kind friends, but the one thing they wished for was a child. All of the village children loved them dearly and visited often but they always hoped and prayed for their very own child.
One winter day Ivan watched the village children build a snowman outside their window. He called out to Maria, “Come and see!” As they watched the children cheerfully play Ivan said, “Let’s build a snowman, too!” So, they put on their ushanka’s, (hats) pulled on their fur lined boots and gloves, wrapped themselves in their warm winter coats and stepped outside. Throughout the day and into the early evening Ivan and Maria had a grand time making a beautiful little maiden out of snow with the children, no detail was spared; they even dressed her in clothes from their homes, draping a beautiful brocade cape on her shoulders. As the sun began to set and the sky filled with gold they finished their creation; the children agreed that she was quite lovely. They all joined hands with Ivan and Maria and began to dance around her singing,
“Little Snow Maid so lovely and white
Come and play with us tonight!”
Before their very eyes Snegurochka became a real girl and when she spoke she said, “I come from the land of winter, ice and snow, I am your wish come true” and she ran and embraced Ivan and Maria. When word spread about the charming snow maiden all of the villagers spilled from their homes; a great celebration took place, with joyous singing and dancing. Throughout the long Russian winter Snegurochka played with the other children and the smiles never left the faces of Ivan and Maria.
When the first robins appeared in the trees and the crocuses began to bloom Snegurochka came to Ivan and Maria, and with tears in her eyes said, “Mother, father, the time has come. I must return to the North, to the land of snow and ice.” They begged her to stay. Ivan jumped up and bolted the door so she couldn’t leave. Maria embraced her, hugging her tightly, but as she held her the child gently melted away.
The days turned into weeks, the weeks into months, and yet not one smile crossed their faces; they found no joy, not even in the laughter of the village children. Spring turned into summer and soon the leaves were dressing themselves in the dazzling colors of autumn. Then, as the leaves began to fall winter slowly swept the land, soon the earth was icy and cold once more.
One clear, crisp night a soft snow began to fall, gently covering the land. All was still until Ivan and Maria heard a familiar voice at their door, “Mother! Father! Open the door! The snow has brought me back once more!” Ivan threw open the door and Snegurochka ran into their arms and happiness once again reigned in their home throughout the winter months.
All too soon the snows began to melt away, the robins appeared, the crocuses began to awaken from their winter sleep, and their child of snow returned to the north once more. But this time Ivan and Maria did not cry for they knew she would return when winter came again.
And so it was that the snow maiden brought warmth, joy and love to Ivan and Maria during the long, cold, Russian winters for many, many, years.
Ñíåãóðî÷êà (Snowmaiden) is pronounced as “snee-GOO-rahch-ka”; translit:
MORE ABOUT KAREN CHACE
Many thanks to Karen Chace for this uplifting story.
To learn more about Karen Chace, visit her Website:
WISHING YOU A GREAT HOLIDAY SEASON!
I wish you and yours a great holiday season!
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