Vasilisa had feared, as soon as her
father was gone, Liliya and her daughters
began to make life unbearable for her.
They shouted and screamed abuse at Vasilisa
for no reason, bullied her unmercifully
and made her do all the work around
neighbours, who realised what was going
on, came over several times to tell
them to leave the girl in peace.
one morning Liliya announced that they
were going to move house. 'I've had
enough of those nosey neighbours interfering
in our business!' Although Vasilisa's
father wrote regularly to her, Liliya
never gave her his letters.
sneered, 'Your beloved father obviously
doesn't care about you any more. He
hasn't sent us any money in weeks -
it looks as if he's not coming back.
We can't afford to live here any longer:
we must move to the country and you
must work in the fields to earn your
'It can't be true!' cried Vasilisa in
tears, 'Father would never have forgotten
me - something must have happened to
packed up everything into a cart and
left the house before the neighbours
were awake. Liliya left a note on the
door to say they had gone to join Vasilisa's
had to walk alongside the cart, while
her stepsisters sat behind their mother.
But she hardly noticed the distance
she was walking, she was so preoccupied
with thoughts of her father and what
could have happened to him.
All along the way her stepsisters mocked
her saying that her father had forgotten
was in tears by the time they reached
the old house standing alone at the
edge of a dark forest. It was a large
gloomy house with a few fields at the
front, which looked as if they hadn't
been worked for years. The nearest neighbours
were miles away.
was a swampy, unhealthy area and nobody
came near the place if they could help
it, for the old witch Baba Yaga lived
in the middle of the forest and devoured
anyone who came near her hut.
evening Vasilisa was told to unpack
the cart, take everything inside, and
clean the house while the others went
to bed. When they had gone upstairs,
Vasilisa took out her little doll, gave
it a some food, all the time crying
'My little friend, please help me, for
I am in despair over my dear father
- I fear that something must have happened
doll's eyes began to shine as it came
'Do not worry Vasilisa, your father
is alive and well and loves you as he
always has. Your stepmother has been
lying. Even when things become worse
than they are now, do not despair, for
no harm can come to you while I am here.
Go to sleep now. The morning is wiser
than the evening.'
Vasilisa was comforted by the words
of the little doll and fell into a deep
she awoke the next morning all the unpacking
had been done, the house was tidy and
the stoves were lit.
stepmother and sisters were amazed to
see how fresh Vasilisa looked after
she had been apparently working all
night. And although they teased her
and mocked her about her father, this
did not seem to bother her as it had
the day before.
'How come she always looks so well?'
grumbled one of her stepsisters.
'Don't worry, ' replied her mother,
'we won't have to put up with her for
much longer! Baba Yaga will soon take
care of her!'
(twelve pages in all)