Thursday, 27 December 2012

Morozko (Jack Frost) - the Russian Magical Winter

The power of imagination can make a lot of difference in how you feel at the moment. So here I am, imagining a typical Russian winter. Everything is under a thick layer of snow and when you step on the snowdrift, your feet sink into its softness. The sky is clear blue and you can see crystals sparkling in the air. It's frost. Moroz in Russian. 
The winter season found its reflection in Russian folklore. As it can last up to 7 months, this season is a significant part of the Russian annual life cycle. There are numerous festivals celebrated during the winter, as to brighten up and warm up the cold days. Also, important to note, that the weddings were conducted in the winter too.
As I had promised earlier here is another Russian magical fairy tale. "Morozko" (Father Frost, Jack Frost) is its name. If interested, you can read it here. Not only this fairy tale pictures the Russian winter, it also teaches us very good lessons of patience, politeness, respect and kindness.
The female character of Morozko is a girl, who has to bear all the challenges of being a step daughter. A step mother hates her, as she is, first of all, beautiful, kind, and a good helper in the house. These qualities may affect her own daughter's marriage proposal success, as step daughter will be preferred upon her. Thinking of what shall she do with her accurst step daughter, the wicked step mother forces her husband to leave his daughter alone in the winter forest as she can freeze there to death.
Obeying his wicked wife, he takes the daughter to the woods on the sledge and leaves her under a big pine tree (a great father!). Later the girl starts feeling very cold, trying to warm up her ice cold hands with her breath when suddenly hears :"Are you warm, my girl?" This is Morozko, leaping from one tree to another.The girl being very kind and polite answers him: "I'm warm, father, thank you..." Morozko first wants to freeze the life out of her, but seeing her good nature, has mercy on this nice girl. them he keeps asking her same question few more times, and when she still replies "You are welcome, father, I'm warm", decides to bestow her with jewelry and a trunk of gems. The girl returns home in rich clothes and in beautiful sledge. 
The wicked step mother of course, becomes furious, and asks husband to send her own daughter to the forest as she can also get all those treasures from Morozko.
Now we assume that the story ends good for those how deserve happiness and bad for those who deserved  punishment. In this way the fairy tale seems to be quiet cruel. The step mother's daughter never returns home in all the glory. Placed under the same pine tree,she is also questioned by Morozko how she is doing, but she replies rudely : "Are you blind? Can't you see that my hands and feet are numb?" In the end what the step mother gets is her daughter's cold body in the sleigh... Morozko didn't have mercy on her rude, lazy daughter. The old man's daughter marries a neighbor, and they live happily ever after.
Yes, many Russian fairy tales have this moment in them, when the main character gets everything after sufferings, and the offender left with nothing or even finds his or her death. Morozko meanwhile is a personification of the Russian winter, which can be kind or cause many difficulties to people. So as to please it, you have to be kind and polite to it always. 
Have a happy magical winter and a Happy New Year!
Yours sincerely,
Witchcraft and Literature

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