A Bunch of Words · Assignments · Creative Responses

A Maiden of Ice and Snow

For the final assignment last semester we had to reinvent a myth. I chose a Russian myth of Snegurochka. this is my reinvented version.

SnegurochkaDed Moroz stood near the edge of the winter forest. His hand traced over a branch and left fresh frost as he did so. It was one of his favourite things to do before the world woke up. Creating his winter wonderland again. The children loved waking up to the new frost and snow. He smiled as he thought of the children running around. Throwing snow at each other. Building snowmen. Lying in the snow making snow angels. Eyes full of wonder and joy. The children loved winter.
Ded Moroz grabbed his crystal pikestaff and moved to the next tree. As he reached his hand out to the branches on that tree he heard voices nearby. He looked through the trees and saw an old couple. He knew them. They lived in an old isba by the edge of the forest. Ded Moroz smiled. They were good people. The old couple had worked hard all their lives. Their hearts were always open to everyone in the town they lived near. Especially the children. The old couple had always wanted a child of their own but hadn’t been blessed with one.
Ded Moroz rubbed his red nose as he watched the couple move the snow to gather more firewood. The old man looked at his wife and smiled. He nodded towards the pile of snow and soon they were building a snowman. Ded Moroz tilted his head as he watched them. Adults didn’t normally play in the snow as much as the children did. Especially the elderly. What was the old couple up to?
They crafted a young woman out of the snow. A beautiful young woman. They gave her a beautiful face with blue beads for her eyes. She had dimples and dainty little hands and feet. They made her a beautiful dress out of snow and made her hair flow down her back. When they had finished they stepped back and looked at her. The old man wrapped his arm around his wife as she rested her head on his shoulder.
“Look, it’s our little Snegurochka.” Ded Moroz heard the old man say to his wife. They reached out and touched the little snow maiden’s face lovingly before turning around to return to their isba. The old man picked up the wood and they walked back together.
Ded Moroz looked at the snow maiden and back at the couple. He smiled before raising his pikestaff and knocked some ice from a high branch. He caught it as it fell. They deserved this. He held the ice in his hand and looked back at the couple. They had stopped and were looking back at their snow maiden. Ded Moroz blew the ice out of his hand towards their snow maiden. As it reached her, the ice melted into the snow, and her snow lips parted. A half frozen breath left her mouth as the snow started to melt away.
Ded Moroz watched the astonishment on the old couple’s face as they watched their snow maiden turn into a very real young woman. There she stood in the snow a beautiful pale face, bright blues eyes and long flaxen hair. Ice crystals still hung to her hair, eyelashes and gorgeous dress.
“Mother! Father!” she cried out to the couple. The old woman ran as fast as her old legs could carry to their snow maiden and hugged her tight as her husband followed.
“Oh my little snow maiden. Oh my little Snegurochka. Could this be real?”
“Yes mother. This is real,” Snegurochka replied and the couple embraced her again. They were over joyed. As they walked back to the isba hand in hand, Snegurochka looked back at the forest. She saw Ded Moroz who smiled and waved at her as he wished her a good life.
The days passed by as Snegurochka lived with the old couple. She was a perfect daughter and the couple couldn’t have asked for more. But the old woman would often catch Snegurochka looking out the window watching the people in the town with confusion in her eyes.
“Oh my beautiful Snegurochka, it must be so boring for you to be here with your father and I all day. Why don’t you go to town for the festival and make some friends?” Snegurochka smiled at her mother and agreed. Her mother grabbed her a white coat and she left. She stood by the edge of the town watching all the townspeople, still confused. She saw the little children playing in the streets. As they ran past her laughing, Snegurochka smiled. They looked happy.
Snegurochka saw a young man walking arm in arm with a young woman. Snegurochka watched as they laughed and smiled at each other. They seemed happy as well. But a different type of happy. Snegurochka couldn’t quite place what was different about it. The smiles on their faces were different. The look in their eyes. Especially as they looked at each other. Snegurochka’s head tilted as she tried to understand how they were feeling. But she couldn’t.
As she looked around she could see other couples looking at each other that why. As Snegurochka thought about it, she remembered seeing that look on the old couple’s face as well.
A young shepherd boy came up to Snegurochka and smiled. He invited her to come and join the others and soon Snegurochka was singingand dancing as well. She was making friends, especially with the young shepherd boy. His name was Lel.
In the following days whenever the other town girls would come out to dance and sing around the fires near the forests, Lel would rush to the little isba the old couple lived in a beg Snegurochka to come out as well. The old couple would smile to each other as the two young people left the isba.
Snegurochka started to notice Lel looking at her the way that other young couple did. She noticed his smiles to her were different to the smiles he gave the other town girls. This played on Snegurochka’s mind.
One morning as she was walking through the forest Snegurochka came across Ded Moroz. She saw his long snowy hair, beard and red nose. He smiled and finished putting more frost on a branch as she approached him.
“Father, what is that the humans feel?” she asked him. “They smile so differently,”
“Ah, you mean love, my child. The humans feel love,”
“How do you feel love?” Snegurochka looked up at old Ded Moroz’s face. His shoulders seemed to sag as he sighed and looked down at her with a sad smile on his face.
“Oh my snow maiden, that is a dangerous path you should not go down. Winter is coming towards an end. You should enjoy the sow while you still can. But be careful my child. Stay in the shade, away from the sun. You’re a child of snow and ice. You would melt with that heat,” Ded Moroz warned her.
“Yes Father.” But her question never left her mind.
Lel continued to show that love to Snegurochka and she continued to wish she could feel it too. The days started getting warmer and the snow and ice started melting. Snegurochka’s colour started to fade as spring approached. When the town girls would go out to dance and sing, Lel would always run to her door but Snegurochka started to not leave as often. Then one warm afternoon when Lel knocked on her door and called out her name she come out again.
They went to the edge of the forest. Snegurochka stayed in the shade and Ded Moroz had warned her. She sat under a tree with Lel. Ded Moroz was in the forest nearby about to start some of the last winter afternoons when he saw them sitting and laughing together. He saw how Lel looked at Snegurochka. Ded Moroz looked at his little snow maiden and sighed. Winter was nearly over. She would be gone soon.
With another sigh, Ded Moroz raised his pikestaff and tapped it on the ground twice. Magic rippled through the wind and reach Snegurochka and Lel. But neither of them knew it.
“Lel, sing for me?” Snegurochka asked. Lel turned to her and smiled. He started singing an old song and Snegurochka smiled. She closed her eyes and listened as the young shepherd boy sung. She started feeling a warmth grow in her chest. The warmth grew and grew. Ded Moroz lowered his head. He couldn’t watch. Lel finished his song and pulled Snegurochka into a warm hug. As he did so he felt her melt away in his arms. Lel was startled. He pulled back to look at her. Snegurochka gave him one last smile. That different smile she had seen on others and on Lel. With that last smile the ice she was made of blew away in the wind.
Lel sat there frozen solid. Despite the warmth of the coming spring, Lel felt only coldness inside. His beautiful Snegurochka was gone. Melted away like the rest of Ded Moroz’s winter wonderland.
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