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C’era una volta un vecchio e sua moglie. Erano stati molto felici durante tutta la loro vita, ma rimpiangevano di non aver avuto dei figli. Un bel giorno d’inverno la coppia vide alcuni bambini che giocavano nella neve e si divertivano e il dispiacere non avere dei figli propri cominciò ad acuirsi ancora di più. Così il marito propose alla moglie di fare una ragazza di neve e di foggiarla come la figlia che avrebbero voluto avere. Così presero della neve e a poco a poco le dettero la forma e anche gli abiti di una splendida fanciulla. Non appena ebbero finito, le labbra della ragazza diventarono rosse e gli occhi cominciarono ad aprirsi. Sorrise leggermente alla coppia di anziani, si scrollò di dosso i fiocchi di neve e uscì come da un guscio di neve, una splendida ragazza. I due furono sopraffatti dalla gioia, la portarono nella loro casa e la chiamarono Snegurochka, che vuol dire fatta di neve. La fanciulla cominciò a crescere molto in fretta, non di giorno in giorno, ma di ora in ora. Si trasformò nella figlia che avevano sempre voluto avere……. era diligente, brava, bella……la figlia che tutti sognerebbero di avere. Le piaceva anche cantare e la sua voce melodiosa sembrava come quella di un angelo. Snegurochka amava molto stare all’aria aperta, soprattutto quando si levava la brezza fresca dai monti e le piacevano tutte le creature della foresta. L’inverno passò rapidamente e al suo posto venne la primavera con le sue brezze tiepide……. La ragazza smise di sorridere e si chiuse in un grave silenzio e malinconia. Che cosa sta succedendo, si chiedeva gli anziani genitori. ” Stai male?” “No mamma, no papà, sto bene” rispondeva la ragazza, ma non smentiva che c’era qualcosa di sbagliato. Quando l’ultima neve si sciolse, i fiori cominciarono a sbocciare, gli uccelli a cantare, la ragazza divenne ancora più triste. Si nascondeva dal sole non appena poteva.

Un giorno delle nuvole nere comparvero all’orizzonte portando con sé delle forti raffiche di vento e grandine. La ragazza subito si rallegrò, guardando i chicchi di grandine, grossi come perle. Però molto presto la grandine si sciolse e la ragazza cominciò a piangere.

Venne l’estate e un gruppo di ragazze invitò Snegurochka per una passeggiata nel bosco. Non voleva andare con loro, ma i suoi genitori la obbligarono, dicendole che si sarebbe sicuramente divertita. Così andò con loro e raccolsero fiori cantarono, danzarono. Snegurochka però non era dello stesso umore e non si divertiva. Poi cominciò a scendere la notte e le ragazze accesero il fuoco con della legna che avevano trovato lungo la strada nel bosco. Continuavano a ridere e a cantare e Snegurochka le guardava, finché siccome si divertivano tanto, anche lei si unì a loro. Per la prima volta dalla fine dell’inverno Snegurochka sorrideva di nuovo e cantava e ballava con le altre. Poi una ad una le ragazze per divertirsi cominciarono a saltare sul fuoco. Anche Snegurochka ci provò, ma purtroppo il calore del fuoco le fuse i piedi, poi via via tutto il resto. Snegurochka si trasformò in una nuvola bianca, che si innalzò nel cielo e quasi con un sussurro salutò tutti e scomparve nell’immensità del cielo.

Paola

(libera traduzione dall’inglese Snowmaiden)

Tratto da : http://www.cozy-corner.com

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Ma, nella tradizione russa, Snegurochka è la nipote di Ded Moroz (il Babbo Natale russo) ed è legata al Capodanno che è decisamente la festa più bella e significativa per il popolo russo.

Si tratta di una ricorrenza amata in particolar modo da tutti i bambini, i quali attendono appunto con trepidazione l’arrivo di Ded Moroz e di sua nipote Snegurochka perche’ portano con se’ i tanto sospirati regali… 🙂

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Snegurochka (www.mazaika.com)

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Ded Moroz ( Babbo Natale russo) (www.mazaika.com)

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THE SNOW MAIDEN

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Far away lies the land of the Midnight sun. All through the summer, every hour of the day is filled with golden sunshine.

But when Old Father Frost passes by, the sun goes to sleep and the earth lies cold and dead for the whole winter long.

In a little wooden house lived a woodcutter, Boris, and his wife Bobilika. Their house was always quiet, for they had no children. This was their only sadness, but it was a wide as old Mother Russia herself.

Each winter when the sun slept, Boris would become busy cutting trees for the village folk to burn in their stoves, and Bobilika stayed inside to make soup for her husband’s return. One dreadfully cold winter day, Bobilika was watching the children play outside. The snow was falling steadily, and each flake seemed more beautiful than the one before. ‘If I had a daughter, she would be as fair as a snowflake.” Bobilika thought.

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When Boris came home that evening, he excitedly called to his wife. The children had built a snowman, so Bobilika put on her furriest hat and warmest coat. The snowman had coals for eyes and a beetroot for his nose. Knowing she would interfere, he began shaping a figure out of a pile of snow. “We could make a better one,” he teased. Bobilika shook her head, and showed Boris how to make a proper snowman. Together they rolled a ball of snow through the clearing under the flickering Northern Lights in the sky.

It grew colder, but Boris and Bobilika ignored the gathering wind of Old Father Frost and continued carving, whittling, and smoothing the figure. When the couple finally stepped back, they saw they had built a beautiful snowmaiden, a white frozen child. They had carved their hearts desire, a daughter.

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The sky turned from a frozen blue to an empty black, alive with stars. Father Frost passed among the trees, whistling ice crystals and snow flurries as we shuffled past. When he saw the snowmaiden, his eyes gleamed and he smiled. Sadly, the snowmaiden could not move or speak, but since Father Frost was the bringer of winter he could not give life, only take it away. He called to Mother Spring to blow a warm breeze of life into the little figure. She was to be the child of Winter of Spring, but for now she would be in the care of Boris and Bobilika. Quickly, so as not to be seen, Spring and Frost hurried away through the forest.

Bobilika, warm inside with her bowl of cabbage soup, looked out at the pretty snowmaiden and smiled, thinking of her

wish. To her surprise, the snowmaiden smiled back. Bobilika jumped out into the snow and began dancing like a flame in a stove. Boris followed her out to see the girl. Her shining eyes were the blue of winter ice, and her hands and feet were covered in boots and mittens. She was made of snow and her heart was frozen, but she was alive all the same.

The snowmaiden laughed and told Boris and Bobilika her name. She repeated it, slowly, when they stumbled. “Sne..goo…rotchka! Because I am made of snow!” And the little snowmaiden laughed. Bobilika turned the snowmaiden inside.

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Snegoorotchka enchanted the whole village with stories about the cold north and her ability to command the snowflakes to take on any form- delicate frosted flowers, silent gardens of ice ferns, and magnificent and strange winter animals. When the shepherd played his flute for her, she whirled and danced like a snowflake, making everyone dancing.

Soon all the children noticed Snegoorotchka was a little strange. Though she was beautiful and clever, she wouldn’t sit by the fire or drink hot soup. She was melancholic, cold, and distant, and apart from the shepherd boy’s music, she stayed indifferent of them all.

Soon spring took over for winter, and the snow began to melt. Snegoorotchka stayed inside, and not even the shepherd boy could persuade her to come outside and play with the other children. Each day she seemed sadder, and when she wept for the melting snow it was snowflakes that fell from her eyes.

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Though spring had come, the sun refused to come out, for there was still a spirit of winter lurking in the village. On midsummer, Snegoorotchka was invited to come to the festival, to take part in the dancing, bonfires, games, music and songs. Snegoorotchka knew nothing of summer games so she hid in the dark forest. When the shepherd noticed she was not there, he went to look for her. When he found her, he took her hand and danced with her and played his flute. When they finished whirling around the clearing he leant forward and kissed her on the lips. Snegoorotchka looked into the shepherd boy’s warm brown eyes, and her little heart melted and fell in love.

Together they went to dance the Hopak at the festival, for Snegoorotchka was no longer afraid of the summer. The festival became so loud and jubilant, the sun could not resist peeking out. The sun could not shine while her heart was frozen, but since love had melted it, the sunlight went right through her.

She sighed, and real warm tears fell from her eyes. As she slipped out of the shepherd boy’s arms, she kissed his hand and disappeared into a summer mist.

The shepherd played his flute, and the villagers searched the forests for her, but she could not be found.

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The snowmaiden wasn’t dead, for spirits can never die, but she had gone to live with Father Frost in the north. Perhaps next winter, when Father Frost comes with his blanket of snow, maybe Snegoorotchka, the little snowmaiden, will come back to them.

From : Midwinter Story