In a far-away country, somewhere in Russia, there lived a stepmother who had a stepdaughter and also a daughter of her own. Her own daughter was dear to her, and always whatever she did the mother was the first to praise her, to pet her; but there was but little praise for the stepdaughter; although good and kind, she had no other reward than reproach. What on earth could have been done? The wind blows, but stops blowing at times; the wicked woman never knows how to stop her wickedness. One bright cold day the stepmother said to her husband:
"Now, old man, I want thee to take thy daughter away from my eyes, away from my ears. Thou shalt not take her to thy people into a warm izba. Thou shalt take her into the wide, wide fields to the crackling frost."
The old father grew sad, began even to weep, but nevertheless helped the young girl into the sleigh. He wished to cover her with a sheepskin in order to protect her from the cold; however, he did not do it. He was afraid; his wife was watching them out of the window. And so he went with his lovely daughter into the wide, wide fields; drove her nearly to the woods, left her there alone, and speedily drove away—he was a good man and did not care to see his daughter's death.
Alone, quite alone, remained the sweet girl. Broken-hearted and terror-stricken she repeated fervently all the prayers she knew.
Father Frost, the almighty sovereign at that place, clad in furs, with a long, long, white beard and a shining crown on his white head, approached nearer and nearer, looked at this beautiful guest of his and asked:
"Dost thou know me?—me, the red-nosed Frost?"
"Be welcome, Father Frost," answered gently the young girl. "I hope our heavenly Lord sent thee for my sinful soul."
"Art thou comfortable, sweet child?" again asked the Frost. He was exceedingly pleased with her looks and mild manners.
"Indeed I am," answered the girl, almost out of breath from cold.
And the Frost, cheerful and bright, kept crackling in the branches until the air became icy, but the good-natured girl kept repeating:
"I am very comfortable, dear Father Frost.
Concerning the Fate of Essido and his Evil Companions
Category: Nigerian folktales
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