Morozko


Once upon a time in one small Russian village lived an old peasant with his second wife. Both old man and his new wife had daughters from their previous marriages. The old man’s beautiful daughter Nastenka was bright girl and started her days working before the rooster woke up. However, the man’s wife’s daughter Marfusha was very spoiled, lazy and mean. The wicked old woman adored and praised her Marfa. At the same time she despised and hated her stepdaughter Nastenka. No matter how hard Nastenka worked her stepmother was never happy and made her work even more.

One day the old woman thought of the way to get rid of her step-daughter once and for all. As the old man went to the market, his wicked wife called Nastya and commanded her to go to the forest in order to bring some brushwood. “We still have plenty of it,” answered the girl. But poor Nastenka knew that she had no other choice rather than do what she has been told. Both Nastya’s step-mother and her daughter Marfa pushed the poor old man’s daughter out to the cold. And Nastya went to the forest. It was a freezing cold winter with white blizzards and snowstorms that season. Nastenka came into the forest, sit under the pine tree and did not know what to do next. She was shivering from cold and her teeth were chattering.

Suddenly she heard a noise behind her. It was Morozko (Russian Father Frost), who leapt from one tree to another covering them with new soft snow. He approached Nastenka and asked, “Are you warm, the beautiful one?” “Yes, dear Morozko, I am very warm indeed,” answered Nastenka still shivering from cold. “What brought you here in such a freezing cold?” asked Morozko. And Nastenka told him her story. “No, not for brushwood they sent you here,“ answered Morozko, “but since you are here, prove to me your knowledge and creativity.” He gave the girl a tow and a spinning-wheel and asked her to spin a tread to weave a linen and sew a new shirt for him by tomorrow afternoon. The girl was working all evening, all night and all morning. She had to forget about cold and blizzard and concentrate on doing the best she could in order not to disappoint Morozko by her work.

Morozko came back in the afternoon as promised and asked her again, “Are you warm, the beautiful one?” And Nastenka despite of being even more cold than before, answered to him, “Yes, my dear Morozko, I am very warm indeed.” “Oh, my child, I see that you are the hard worker. My reward will be as good as your work though,” said Morozko and granted Nastya silver and gold jewelry to wear and big wooden chest full of extra jewels and gems. Then he put a warm silver fur-coat on her shoulders and a magnificent richly embroidered shawl. Morozko led her out to the road and told her to wait for the good people to pass by who would take her home safely.

In the meanwhile, Nastya’s father, returned back home from the market and soon as he found out that his daughter went to the forest to gather the brushwood yesterday and never came back, he immediately rode off to the forest. As soon as he reached the road he saw his daughter standing on its side all dressed up holding the Morozko’s box of gifts. When the old man arrived home with his daughter and her gifts, his wicked wife was very jealous and disappointed. She made her stepdaughter to tell her in great detail about who gave her such expensive gifts and treasures. As she heard the story of Morozko, she dressed her daughter Marfa in a warm coat, gave her a bag full of food and commanded her husband to take Marfusha to the forest. “My Marfusha is smarter than your Nastya. She will bring two boxes of golden gifts and two new outfits,” said the greedy old woman.

The old man did as he was told: left the woman’s daughter in the forest and returned back home. In the meanwhile, Marfa found a good spot under the birch tree and camped out there. Finally, she got cold despite her warm coat and started shivering. Suddenly, Morozko appeared out of nowhere and asked her, “Are you warm, my sweet child?” “Are you blind?” shouted Marfa in response. “Can’t you see that my hands and feet are now numb? Curse you, miserable old man!” “What brought you here in such a cold weather?” asked Morozko. “I am here to get my gifts. I want to boxes of gold and two new outfits..,” she replied. “Show me your skills first,” said Morozko. After Morozko gave her the knitting needles and a pile of wool, he silently went away. “This old fool is truly gone insane by making me doing those things here in cold,” said Marfusha.

Next morning, before the roosters woke up, the old woman woke her husband and told him to bring back her daughter, adding, "Be careful with the boxes of jewels!” At the time the old woman saw her husband on his way home, she rushed outside being anxious to see the precious gifts first. When she pulled the sleigh’s cover, she discovered the breathless body of her beloved Marfusha who was frozen by angry Morozko. She started screaming and wining, but it was all in vain.

Later, Nastenka married a neighbor, who was a blacksmith. They had many children and even more grandchildren. They lived in harmony and love and always remembered Morozko with a great respect.

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