Father Frost, A Russian Fairy Tale
The FairyTale Alphabet Book
Last year, I finished a children’s alphabet book using fairy tales and folk tales from around the world as the theme. It was so much fun for me to illustrate using my collage method that I couldn’t wait to get it published and distributed. Amazon refused to carry a book with the illustrations stretching across two pages.
My solution was to acknowledge that Amazon isn’t the only self-publishing venue available so I went to Lulu and got my first alphabet book published: The FairyTale Alphabet Book, Fairy Tales and Folk Tales from Around the World, available only on Lulu.
After I danced the happy dance at my success, I decided that there were a lot more fairy tales out there, enough to make a whole series using global fairy tales and folk tales. Thus the conception of my second alphabet book began. I have only been working on it since February and so I haven’t finished very many of the illustrations. Here is the sixth letter in the new book for the letter F.
“If I’m honest I have to tell you I still read fairy-tales and I like them best of all.”— Audrey Hepburn
Father Frost, A Russian Fairy Tale
Long ago there lived a woman and her husband. The woman had both a daughter of her own whom she loved and a stepdaughter, whom she hated. Although the stepdaughter did everything she was asked and tried very hard to please her stepmother, she never seemed able to do so.
As it happens, the land became plagued by famine and the little family began to be in need. One day, the woman ordered her husband to take his daughter, the hated child out into the winter woods, and leave her there to die. Because there was no food left, the man thought it may be the kindest thing and so he obeyed his wife. He took his daughter deep in the forest, kissed her on the forehead, and left her there.
After her father left, the girl began to weep as if her heart would break. This attracted the attention of Morozko or Father Frost. He was a bitter cold man and scolded the girl for her blubbering noise. The girl dried her eyes and asked if there was anything she could do for Father Frost. She was kind and polite and kept his house clean for him. After a couple of weeks, Father Frost gave the girl a chest full of beautiful jewels, gold, and fancy garments. He told her to take the chest with her when her father came to get her.
About this time, the stepmother ordered her husband to go back into the woods and bring back the girl’s body to be buried. She expected that if there were a funeral, the kind neighbors would bring food and gifts to ease their grief. Her husband obeyed and went to the place where he had left his daughter but instead of finding a body there, he found the girl beautifully dressed and happy, waiting for him. Father Frost gave their family dog a voice to see the reaction of the stepmother. While the girl and her father were on their way home, the family dog told the stepmother that the girl was coming and she wasn’t dead. Instead, she was beautiful and happy.
The stepmother was astonished to see the girl alive and well. The girl told them the whole story about how Father Frost gave her gifts. The next day the woman ordered her husband to take her own daughter out to the forest and leave her there just as he had done his daughter so that she also would get gifts. Unlike her sister, when Father Frost appeared, this girl was rude and bad-mannered. She refused to do any chores and so Father Frost let her freeze to death in the snow. When the stepfather came back to bring her home, he found her cold body. The family dog told the woman that her daughter was coming back and there was going to be funeral after all. The woman wept and grieved bitterly.
I looked through several photo references of girls and old men in capes, plus snowy forests for this illustration. In the end I ended up using a good photo I took myself of a girl I knew who posed for me to get the viewpoint I wanted. I decided to use a close up view of the girl and the old man to give a different look to this page. I hope you enjoy seeing my progress on the collage. Sometimes after finishing the collage, I need to make a background layer using Photoshop but I felt this page didn’t need one.
“The way to read a fairy tale is to throw yourself in.”— W.H. Auden
Will Be Published with Lulu
This fairy tale has been shortened to fit into my book along with all the other letters of the alphabet. If you would like to read the full version, you can Google the title and find the story as Father Frost. There were several different endings to this story but I liked the one I chose best. I expect to be finished and ready to publish by July next year.
Did You Notice
In my collages, I use paper from magazines, old wall calendars, catalogs, and circulars. Often I will add things into a collage you can't see unless you are looking for it like hidden pictures. In this collage, you will find in Father Frost’s hood, a Native American woman, a princess with a unicorn, a cowgirl, swans in flight, and an old man in his beard. The girl has a covered wagon with oxen in her hair.
I love fairy tales because I think that behind fairy tales, there is always a meaning.— Monica Bellucci
Did you like this story’s ending? I thought it was a bit harsh but the mother wanted a funeral so badly she finally got one.
I hope you like my story and my fairy tale alphabet book idea. If you are interested you can purchase the first one on Lulu but not on Amazon. I’d love to read your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.