This chilly tale tells of an old woman who has two daughters. One of them is her own daughter by blood, whom shes loves very, very much. The other is her step-daughter, whom she hates passionately.
One very icy day the woman orders her husband to take her step-daughter out into the winter fields and leave her there to die.
Of course he obeys, because fathers always seem to be especially useless in fairy tales.
So the poor girl is led out into the snow, and left all alone with nothing but the very thin clothes she is wearing.
After some time has passed Father Frost (also known as Morozko) turns up and finds the girl sitting in the snow.
She is very polite and kind to him despite being frightened and freezing cold. In return for her kindness Father Frost gives the girl a chest full of riches and some beautiful, warm clothes.
Back at home, the old woman sends her husband out again to bring back the girls dead, frozen body so that she can be buried (nice of her, huh?).
When her husband brings back her step-daughter still alive and happy, the old woman is shocked and furious. She becomes even more enraged when she sees the presents that were given to the girl by Father Frost.
Sure that if Father Frost met her own blood-daughter he would bestow even finer gifts, she orders her husband to take the other daughter out into the winter fields and leave her there.
The husband obeys yet again, because apparently he has no backbone or sense.
This time when Father Frost shows up, the second daughter is extremely rude to him. Offended, Father Frost freezes the girl to death and leaves her there.
The husband goes out again to bring back the girl and all the gifts the old woman is expecting to recieve, but instead brings back a poor, frozen dead body.
The old woman breaks down into tears.
The moral of the story?
- Fathers are generally useless. (At least fairy tales ones anyway)
- If you're polite people give you pretty things.
- Never anger an ice spirit unless you want to be turned into a popsicle.