Marvelous Seasonal Story About Parents and Children

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!

Snow Maiden
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:


Many thanks to Karen Chace for this uplifting story.

To learn more about Karen Chace, visit her Website:

I wish you and yours a great holiday season!

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The Farmer’s Daughter Made a Gift Worth a Fortune

The Farmer’s Fun-Loving Daughter
A Folktale from the British Isles
Original version by Taffy Thomas, adapted by Karen Chace

There once was a farmer who lived in an enormous house with 131 rooms. He had two sons and a daughter. The sons were intelligent, hard-working chaps, and the daughter, although she was smart as well and helped with the chores on the farm, she was more inclined to slip away to meet her friends and was known as the farmer’s fun-loving daughter.

Now the farmer was in the autumn of his years, and he knew he needed to make plans; he loved all three of his children equally but had to decide who would inherit the land and farm. He thought for many days and nights and finally, he knew what to do. He called for his lawyer and asked him to add a special, secret section to his will and when all was done, he sent the lawyer away.

Far too soon the day came when the farmer passed peacefully away. People came from miles around to pay tribute to the kind, old farmer for he was well-loved. After the service in the churchyard the family and friends went back to the farm to have something to eat and share stories of their dear friend. Everyone stayed long after they should have gone, for they were curious and wanted to know which of the children would inherit the farm.

When the lawyer gathered the three children together for the reading of the will a hush fell over group. He began, “Upon my passing each of my children will receive one gold coin. With this coin each one must buy something to fill every room in the house from floor to ceiling. The one who succeeds will inherit the house and the farm.”

The lawyer was barely finished when the eldest son jumped up out of his chair, ran to the barn, tackled up his horse and wagon and set off. He drove all through the countryside buying every secondhand mattress he could find. When he arrived home, everyone stepped outside to watch as he carried each one into the house. Then he took out his knife, slit each mattress open and began filling every room from floor to ceiling with…feathers. When he was done, he turned to the lawyer and said, “I’ve done it! I have filled each room from floor to ceiling with feathers.”

“Well,” said the lawyer, “It is my duty to check every room in the house.” And so, he went from room to room, noticing that each one was indeed full, but it took him so long to visit all the rooms, by the time he came to the last one the feathers had settled and there was a gap between the top of the feathers and the ceiling. So, the oldest son had failed.

Now the second son rode away and returned sometime later. While he was gone everyone rushed to remove the feathers from the house. They finished just in time as the second son returned. Jumping off his horse he withdrew a small cardboard box full of candles from his saddlebag. He set a candle in the middle of each room, struck a match, and lit each one. When he was finished, he announced “I have done it. I have filled every room from floor to ceiling with…light.”

“Not so fast,” said the lawyer and once again he set out to check every room. But it took so long that by the time he reached the last room the candle had burned down, and the room was in darkness. So, he too had failed.

That left the farmer’s fun-loving daughter. She smiled as she waved goodbye and set out on foot with her gold coin. They watched her walk down the winding, dirt road until she disappeared around the bend. Everyone waited impatiently, whispering among themselves, “What will she bring?” “She can’t carry much, she is traveling on foot, with no horse or wagon.” “She’ll stop at a party and forget all about us.”

As the sun began to settle low in the sky, they saw her walking back down the road. She didn’t seem to be carrying anything at all. When she finally stepped into the house, she reached into her pocket and pulled out a penny whistle. Everyone looked confused. “A penny whistle?” “Surely she is joking.”

With a smile still on her face she sat down cross-legged in the hall, lifted the penny whistle to her lips and began to play a lively tune. The lawyer watched as the people began to smile and laugh, some tapped their feet, and others began to dance.

At the end of the tune the lawyer said, “That’s very lovely but you haven’t filled the house.”

“Oh, dear sir, I have indeed filled the house, not once, not twice, but three times. First, I filled every room from floor to ceiling with…music. Second, the people started to smile and dance, so I filled every room with…joy. And if you put music and joy together then you have…life. So even at the time of my own father’s passing, I filled every room in his house with life. I think he would pleased.”

Everyone, including the lawyer and her brothers, were so impressed they all agreed that she should indeed inherit the farm. And the farmer’s fun-loving daughter lived a long and happy life, sharing her riches with her brothers and anyone in need.

And that is what I wish for all of you at Christmas time and throughout the year, that your homes will be filled with music, joy, and life.

Thanks to Karen Chace, a professional storyteller who provides, at my request, a heartwarming and challenging story about giving every Christmas season.

Professional Storyteller Karen Chace in Action

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