Thursday, August 19, 2010

Fairy Tale Fridays: A Russian Tale

Special Thanks to my Personal Faery Friend for the Button Art: Ye Olde Faery Shoppe 

This week I decided to make a change to our schedule because I came across a book at the library featuring fairy tales from Russia.  We had not yet covered this country in this weekly feature and I thought I would throw it in to explore.  I am so glad I did!!

I chose to read the tale, The Snow Maiden this week.  With the extremely hot temperatures in my neck of the woods, it was nice to experience a cooler breeze, even if it was ultimately in my imagination!!  Though the two versions I read had slightly different details, the point of the story was the same . . . A childless couple decides to create a snow maiden one winter's day.  Their many prayers are answered and out of the snow, a beautiful child appears, growing at an alarming rate.  The couple fall in love with the child and invite her in as their beloved daughter.  However, as the weather warms, the maiden begins to sulk and wither.  By the end of the story, spring time has arrived and a trip to the woods with friends results in the disappearance of the sweet girl.

A few topics or themes immediately stood out to me as I read this tale.  The first and foremost was the parallels with a tale that I grew up with . . . Frosty the Snowman!  I have very fond memories of this tale and those warm and fuzzies were carried over into this tale as well.

The second theme is one that just keeps popping up in many of the tales that we have read . . . Have you noticed that many tales start out with couples that are childless or children that are parentless?  So many tales feature a loss of some sort and how happily ever after this lost may eventually result in . . . or not.  It makes me wonder if many of these tales started out as coping mechanisms for those who did love and lose.

Finally, the end of this particular tale leaves the reader hanging . . . will the snow maiden return during the next snow fall?  Or, was she a one time deal?  From there, I then begin to wonder . . . how did this couple who longed for a child so much react to only being with their sweet maiden for such a short period of time?  Did they feel that it was better to have loved and lost than not to have loved a child of their own at all?

I would like my imagination to run wild on this one, leaving those warm and fuzzies inside of me . . . let's take this tale a bit further for the purpose of filling one of my own desires.  Imagine this childless couple building yet another snow maiden after the first snowfall of the season and once again a beautiful girl shakes away the snow and spends another winter with her parents.  She once again disappears, but in honor of her memory, the couple continue the tradition with the same result each and every year.  I will leave it there, but you take it from here . . . what would be the result of this "alternate ending"?

The Snow Maiden wraps up the traveling fairy tale portion of this weekly feature.  We will be exploring fairy tales in a wider sense in the next month, and then will return to more familiar tales and fairy tale authors for the remainder of the year.  If you have a suggestion or request, please do not hesitate to post here or contact me via email using the menu at the top of this page.

Have you enjoyed traveling the world exploring fairy tales?  Did you have a favorite region that stands out to you?

UPCOMING TALES:  Please note that I made a change to include one additional cultural tale this week instead of your choice!  Please feel free to join along with me or switch the weeks around due to late notice!  The special posts mentioned will be coming soon!

Friday, August 27th:  Choose Your Own Tale
Friday, September 3rd:  Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (special post to come for details!) 
Friday, September 10th:  Fairy Tale Flick (special post to come for details!)
Friday, September 17th:  TBA


  1. She reminds me of Suzie Snowflake.

    I went with a different Russian tale this week but still a wintery theme - Father Frost. I should have my post up shortly

  2. carolsnotebook . . . Suzie Snowflake??? I'm not familiar with her. Can you enlighten me?

  3. Another interesting post! You're right that so many tales begin with a childless couple or parentless child, so maybe they were coping mechanisms? I like the moral that it's better to have loved and lost than never to have the joy of a child at all. But I did like your alternate ending!

  4. Alexia561 . . . I was thinking coping mechanism too! It makes sense to me.


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