Fairy Tale/Folk Tale Friday- Father Frost

This Russian fairy tale is all about a man whose wife died leaving him to care for their young daughter, Irina. The man was worried that Irina was lonely, so he married a woman who had a daughter of her own. He felt like this gave Irina a family.

However, Irina’s father had made a mistake. Her stepmother was terrible and hated Irina. She was treated very like Cinderella whereas Nonna, the stepmother’s daughter got to lye in bed all day. If Irina or her father complained, the stepmother would throw pots and pans at them.

One morning, the stepmother decided that it was time for Irina to get married. She instructed her husband to take Irina into the forest and leave her by the tall pine tree. He didn’t want to because he believed that she would freeze in the cold. Irina’s stepmother insisted that she wouldn’t be waiting for long. The only food she was allowed to take were some peelings from the pigsty. Irina and her father were too scared to argue. As they rode away into the forest, the stepmother cackled at her trick…

Irina and her father went into the forest and located the pine tree. He really didn’t want to leave his daughter. She insisted that she’d be fine and didn’t want her father to get in any trouble.

As Irina was shivering in the cold and nibbling on the peelings, she heard footsteps in the snow. A glittering figure with a white beard came towards her. It was Father Frost. He asked her if she was warm and although she was shivering, Irina said that she was. He stepped closer making ice form at her feet. He asked her again if she was still warm. Irina said that she was, even though her toes were numb. Father Frost stepped closer making snowflakes fall. As he asked again, Irina struggled to breath because each breath stabbed like needles in her chest. Irina still insisted that she was warm enough. Father Frost took pity on Irina. He wrapped her up in a scarlet cloak and warm blankets.

That night, Irina’s father couldn’t sleep and rode into the forest, fearing that his daughter was dead. To his delight, she was alive, warmly dressed with a chest full of presents at her feet. The stepmother was furious when they returned. She said Nonna must go to the forest because she deserved richer clothers and presents than Irina.

When Father Frost visited Nonna at the tree, she was completely different to Irina. She moaned about the cold and was very greedy. Father Frost recognised that greed. He raised his staff.

The stepmother went into the forest, searching for Nonna. She found her as pale as ice with nothing but a box of pine needles at her feet. She hugged Nonna, but Nonna was so cold that they both froze on the spot!

An extract from A Year Full of Stories, by Angela McAllister, illustrated by Christopher Corr (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, 2016)   

Next Fairy Tale/Folk Tale- The Magic Porridge Pot

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Fairy/Folk Tale Friday- The Little Red Hen

I have heard this story so many times that I could tell it without even looking at the text. However, I gave this story a read for this feature and thought about how it carries wit it a good message for young children.

If you don’t know the story of the Little Red Hen then it’s all about a red hen who finds some wheat and decides to plant it and then turn it into bread eventually. Through all the steps, she asks for help from the lazy farmyard creatures around her. They don’t help her plant the wheat, cut the wheat, thresh the wheat, carry the flour to the mill or bake the bread. Each time, the Little Red Hen had to be an independent hen and do it herself! When it came to eating the bread, the lazy farmyard creatures were ready to help her eat it. She simply told them that she had done all of the work so she was going to eat it all with her chicks to help her! 🙂

I loved this story so much growing up and I still think that it is utterly charming!

An extract from A Year Full of Stories, by Angela McAllister, illustrated by Christopher Corr (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, 2016)   

Next Fairy Tale- The Ship Of Wheat