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Snow Maiden - Translation of a Poem:Snowmaiden, Lyel, Snow maiden, Snegurochka

"Wife, wife, what makes you sit there staring at other people's children, deep in thought? Why should we not go out ourselves and have some fun, old though we be? Let us make a snowman too!" And sure enough, a wave of merriment came over the old woman as well. "Very well, husband, out we go. But why make a snowman? We already have you in the family, and that's enough for me. Let us make a daughter for ourselves, a snow maiden." No sooner said than done. Out they went into the back garden and began to mould their snow daughter. When they had finished, they took two blue beads for her eyes, and made two little dimples in her cheeks. They made the mouth out of scarlet ribbon. How lonely she looked, their little snow daughter, their Snow Maiden! The old man and his wife gazed and gazed, and could not take their eyes off her. All of a sudden, the corners of the Snow Maiden's mouth turned up in a smile and her hair began to curl! Then she stirred slightly with her hands and feet, started to move - and walked through the garden to the hut! The old man and his wife were so astounded that they stood rooted to the spot. "Husband!" cried the old woman. "Just think! We have got a real live daughter of our own, our darling Snow Maiden!" And they rushed into the hut. What a joy that was! The Snow Maiden grew fast, and with every passing day she grew lovelier and lovelier. The old man and his wife would not let her out of their sight, they fairly doted on her. The Snow Maiden was white as a snowflake, her eyes were like blue beads, and her flaxen hair fell to her waist in a thick plait. Yet there were no roses in her cheeks, not a touch of color in her lips. Even so, the Snow Maiden was a beauty. Soon the merry springtime came, the trees burst into leaf, the bees flew here and there in the fields, and a skylark sang. All the lads were glad as glad, and the lasses sang songs of spring. But the Snow Maiden grew sad and listless, she would look out of the window and weep. Then came the bright summer days. The flowers blossomed in the gardens, and the corn ripened in the fields. The Snow Maiden grew more and more melancholy. She avoided the sunshine and sought out cool, shady places - she liked to be out in the rain best of all. The old man and his wife would ask her uneasily: "Aren't you feeling well, little daughter?" "I'm well," would be the reply. But she still sat in the corner, and wouldn't go out. A day came when her friends, the village girls, decided to go berrying in the woods, to pick raspberries, bilberries and wild strawberries. They called to the Snow Maiden to join them: "Come with us, little Snow Maiden," they cried. "Do come!" The Snow Maiden was reluctant to go to the woods, out there in the sunshine. But the old man and his wife insisted, saying: "Go along, Snow Maiden, go with them, dear, it will be jolly with your friends." The Snow Maiden took a little basket and went to the woods with her young friends. Her friends walked about in the woods and made garlands and danced in a ring and sang songs. But the Snow Maiden found a cool streamlet to sit by, and looked into the swift-flowing water, dipping her fingers into it, and playing with the pearly drops. The day was drawing to a close. The girls disported themselves still more merrily - they adorned themselves with their garlands, built up a bonfire, and began jumping across it. The Snow Maiden had no desire to join them in this pastime, and hung back, but her friends gave her no peace until she walked up to the fire. She stood there, trembling. There was not a drop of blood in her face, and her flaxen hair had come unbound and fell loose about her... "Jump! Jump, Snow Maiden!" cried the girls. The Snow Maiden took a flying leap... There was a hissing sound above the fire, a piteous moaning, and the Snow Maiden vanished. A white wisp of steam rose from the fire. It formed a little cloud that floated ever higher and higher into the sky. The Snow Maiden had melted away. TO ORDER BOOKS: "Khudozhestvennaya Literatura" Publishers would be glad to have your opinion on this book, its translation and design and any suggestions you may have for future publications. Please send all your comments to 19, Novo-Basmannaya, Moscow, USSR (Fax: 261 8300, Telex: 412162 Pegas Su)