Creature Compendium

Creature Compendium: Snegurochka (The Snow Maiden)

Winter always makes me a bit melancholy, and this is a tale that fits the mood.

Snegurochka (The Snow Maiden)

Ice Maiden by Dark Spider

The story begins with a childless old couple, who long desperately for a child, and one winter while the children from the village are playing, they make a child out of snow, use two blue beads for her eyes, and a red ribbon for her lips. To their amazement the child comes to life. There appear to be two different endings to the story. In one, the snow child is lonely when spring comes, and stays inside the house. Her parents, concerned, tell her to go out and play with the other children. When she leaves the house, she melts away and never returns. In another story, Snegurochka grows quickly into a beautiful young woman, who has a suitor named Lal, but her heart is ice. She’s granted the ability to fall in love, and when her heart warms to Lal, she melts away.

Modern interpretations of the folktale say that Snegurocha is the daughter or companion of Father Frost (Russian Santa) and the Snow Queen (or Winter), and helps her father deliver presents to children.

Origins of the tale of Snegurochka are tied to pagan traditions symbolizing the transition of winter to spring. In some places, the change in seasons is still marked by the burning of a straw effigy dressed as a woman (Maslenitsa). This tradition is associated with rites performed to honor Kostroma, a pre-Christian East-Slavic fertility goddess.


Region of Origin: Russia

I almost hate to say it, but the folktale reminds me of Frosty the Snowman, minus the jolly. I much prefer the Snow Maiden.


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