THE STORY OF KING FROST
( All hail to you, great King!' answered the girl, in a gentle, trembling voice. ' Have you come to take me ? '
' Are you warm, maiden ? ' he replied.
' Quite warm, King Frost,' she answered, though she shivered as she spoke.
Then King Frost stooped down, and bent over the girl, and the crackling sound grew louder, and the air seemed to be full of knives and darts ; and again he asked:
' Maiden, are you warm ? Are you warm, you beautiful girl ? ' And though her breath was almost frozen on her lips, she
whispered gently, ' Quite warm, King Frost.'
Then King Frost gnashed his teeth, and cracked his fingers, and his eyes sparkled, and the crackling, crisp sound was louder than ever, and for the last time he asked her :
' Maiden, are you still warm ? Are you still warm, little love ? '
And the poor girl was so stiff and numb that she could just gasp, ' Still warm, 0 King!'
Now her gentle, courteous words and her uncomplaining ways touched King Frost, and he had pity on her, and he wrapped her up in furs, and covered her with blankets, and he fetched a great box, in which were beautiful jewels and a rich robe embroidered in gold and silver. And she put it on, and looked more lovely than ever, and King Frost stepped with her into his sledge, with six white horses.
In the meantime the wicked step-mother was waiting at home for news of the girl's death, and preparing pancakes for the funeral feast. And she said to her husband: ' Old man, you had better go out into the fields and find your daughter's body and bury her.' Just as the old man was leaving the house the little dog under the table began to bark, saying:
' Your daughter shall live to be your delight; Her daughter shall die this very night.'
' Hold your tongue, you foolish beast!' scolded the woman. ' There's a pancake for you, but you must say:
" Her daughter shall have much silver and gold ; His daughter is frozen quite stiff and cold."'
But the doggie ate up the pancake and barked, saying:
' His daughter shall wear a crown on her head; Her daughter snail aieunwooed, unwed.'