THE SNOW-DAUGHTER AND THE FIRE-SON1
T HERE was once upon a time a man and his wife, and they had no children, which was a great grief to them. One winter's day, when the sun was shining brightly, the couple were standing outside their cottage, and the woman was looking at all the little icicles which hung from the roof. She sighed, and turning to her husband said, ' I wish I had as many children as there are icicles hanging there.' ' Nothing would please me more either,' replied her husband. Then a tiny icicle detached itself from the roof, and dropped into the woman's mouth, who swallowed it with a smile, and said, ' Perhaps I shall give birth to a snow child now !' Her husband laughed at his wife's strange idea, and they went back into the house.
But after a short time the woman gave birth to a little girl, who was as white as snow and as cold as ice. If they brought the child anywhere near the fire, it screamed loudly till they put it back into some cool place. The little maid throve wonderfully, and in a few months she could run about and speak. But she was not altogether easy to bring up, and gave her parents much trouble and anxiety, for all summer she insisted on spending in the cellar, and in the winter she would sleep outside in the snow, and the colder it was the happier she seemed to be. Her father and mother called her simply ' Our Snow-daughter,' and this name stuck to her all her life.
One day her parents sat by the fire, talking over the extraordinary behaviour of their daughter, who was disporting herself in the snowstorm that raged outside. The woman sighed deeply and said, ' I wish I had given birth to a Fire-son !' As she said these words, a spark from the big wood fire flew into the woman's lap, and she said with a laugh, ' Now perhaps I shall give birth to a Fire-
1 From the Bukowinaer Tales and Legends. Von Wliolocki.