Fairy Tale of the Month

bilibinbabawhite Ivan Bilibin

Edge of the Forest

The forest before me is dark, darker than the twilight surrounding me. Really, it is too cold to be out here, but I have on my heavy fur coat and there is the warmth of the pipe I am smoking.

Vasilisa the Beautiful entered this forest, not of her own will, but not without good advice.

Although the daughter of a well-to-do merchant, she became the victim of a stepmother with two preferred daughters. A small wooden doll, given to Vasilisa by her mother, as she lay on her deathbed, protects the girl from harm. Vasilisa, heeding her mother’s instructions, feeds the doll food and drink, reciting, “There, my little doll, take it. Eat a little, and drink a little, and listen to my grief.” The doll’s eyes shine; it comes to life, eats, drinks, then gives Vasilisa advice and aid.

The stepmother’s cruelty…

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