Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Father Frost

FATHER FROST or Dedt Moroz is a Siberian ice spirit who hides in fir trees deep in the forest and as he snaps his fingers, he splits and shatters the trees.

Legend tells a similar story to that of Mother Holle, involving a Husband and his second wife, each with a daughter from their first marriages. The wife’s daughter was spoiled and mean, whereas the husband’s daughter was very gentle and kind. The wife only loved her daughter and made the other girl work very hard. The poor girl cleaned and cooked for her stepmother, and was often beaten as the wife’s hatred for her grew.

One day, in the middle of a terrible winter, the wife decided that the girl should be taken deep into the woods and left there to die. The husband of course did not want to agree to this, but himself also afraid of the woman, he reluctantly took his daughter into the forest where he left her. The girl sat helpless and alone under a tree. Soon she heard the breaking and snapping of twigs and branches, and then a voice spoke. “Are you warm my child?” It asked. The girl recognized the ominous voice as that of Father Frost and replied, “Yes Father Frost, I'm quite warm.” Father Frost repeated his question several times, each time coming closer to the girl. The girl always answered that she was warm, and then thanked him. Feeling pity for the poor creature, Father Frost wrapped her in a beautiful coat, showered her with gifts, and kept her warm throughout the night.

Returning the next day to retrieve his daughter's body, the husband was happily surprised to find her not only alive, but dressed warmly and covered with riches. Upon their return home, the jealous wife then insisted that her own daughter be left in the forest overnight, hoping that she too would return wealthy.

Again the husband travelled deep into the woods, this time leaving his step daughter there. As the night grew long she too heard the voice of Father Frost. “Are you warm my child?” he asked. The girl was annoyed with his question and replied, “Of course not, now leave me alone!” Father Frost was enraged with her reply and sent the coldest frost that there had ever been.

When the husband went into the woods the next day, he returned not with the girl showered in riches, but with her cold frozen body instead. Upon his return home he took his daughter and left his evil wife. The husband and his daughter lived happily ever after.

Illustration: drypoint etching

2 comments:

lori said...

Happy New Year Rima. I loved the story. Thanks so much for sharing.
xo

Alison said...

Hi Rima,
I have just brought a copy of wintersong from your etsy shop...can't wait till it arrives!
Take care,
Alison x