The following is an annotated version
of the fairy tale. I recommend reading the entire story before
exploring the annotations, especially if you have not read the tale recently.
I have chosen to present "Vasilissa
the Beautiful" as the representative Baba Yaga tale to annotate since
it is arguably the best known tale featuring the character. However, this
area of SurLaLune is somewhat different from its siblings, focusing more
on the Baba Yaga character than the Vasalissa tale in its subsections,
such as in Baba Yaga Tales and Modern
IN a certain Tsardom,2 across three times nine kingdoms, beyond high mountain chains, there
once lived a merchant.3 He had been married for twelve years, but in that time there had been
born to him only one child, a daughter, who from her cradle was called
Vasilissa the Beautiful. When the little girl was eight years old the
mother fell ill, and before many days it was plain to be seen that she
must die.4 So she called her little daughter to her,
and taking a tiny wooden
doll5 from under the blanket of the bed, put it into
her hands and said:
Little Vasilissa grieved greatly for her mother, and
her sorrow was so deep that when the dark night came, she lay in her
bed and wept and did not sleep. At length she be thought herself of
the tiny doll, so she rose and took it from the pocket of her gown and
finding a piece of wheat bread and a
cup of kvass,7 she set them before it, and said: "There,
my little doll, take it. Eat a little, and drink a little, and listen
to my grief. My dear mother is dead and I am lonely for her."
Then the doll's eyes began to shine like fireflies,
and suddenly it became alive. It ate a morsel of the bread and took
a sip of the kvass, and when it had eaten and drunk, it said:
"Don't weep, little Vasilissa. Grief is worst at
night. Lie down, shut thine eyes, comfort thyself and go to sleep. The
morning is wiser than the evening." So Vasilissa the Beautiful
lay down, comforted herself and went to sleep, and the next day her
grieving was not so deep and her tears were less bitter.
Now after the death of his wife, the merchant sorrowed
for many days as was right, but at the end of that time he began to
desire to marry again and to look about him for a suitable wife. This
was not difficult to find, for he had a fine house, with a stable of
swift horses, besides being a good man who gave much to the poor. Of
all the women he saw, however, the one who, to his mind, suited him
best of all, was a widow of about his own age with two daughters of
her own, and she, he thought, besides being a good housekeeper, would
be a kind foster mother to his little Vasilissa.
So the merchant married the widow and brought her home
as his wife, but the little girl soon found that her foster mother was
very far from being what her father had thought. She was a cold, cruel
woman, who had desired the merchant for the sake of his wealth, and
had no love for his daughter. Vasilissa was the greatest beauty in the
whole village, while her own daughters were as spare and homely as two
crows, and because of this all three envied and hated her. They gave
her all sorts of errands to run and difficult tasks to perform, in order
that the toil might make her thin and worn and that her face might grow
brown from sun and wind, and they treated her so cruelly as to leave
few joys in life for her. But all this the little Vasilissa endured
without complaint, and while the stepmother's two daughters grew always
thinner and uglier, in spite of the fact that they had no hard tasks
to do, never went out in cold or rain, and sat always with their arms
folded like ladies of a Court, she herself had cheeks like blood and
milk and grew every day more and more beautiful.
Now the reason for this was the tiny doll, without whose
help little Vasilissa could never have managed to do all the work that
was laid upon her. Each night, when everyone else was sound asleep,
she would get up from her bed, take the doll into a closet, and locking
the door, give it something to eat and drink, and say: "There,
my little doll, take it. Eat a little, drink a little, and listen to
my grief. I live in my father's house, but my spiteful stepmother wishes
to drive me out of the white world. Tell me! How shall I act, and what
shall I do?"
Then the little doll's eyes would begin to shine like
glow- worms, and it would become alive. It would eat a little food,
and sip a little drink, and then it would comfort her and tell her how
to act. While Vasilissa slept, it would get ready all her work for the
next day, so that she had only to rest in the shade and gather flowers,
for the doll would have the kitchen garden weeded, and the beds of cabbage
watered, and plenty of fresh water brought from the well, and the stoves
heated exactly right. And, besides this, the little doll told her how
to make, from a certain herb, an ointment which prevented her from ever
being sunburnt. So all the joy in life that came to Vasilissa came to
her through the tiny doll that she always carried in her pocket.
Years passed, till Vasilissa grew up and became of an
age when it is good to marry. All the young men in the village, high
and low, rich and poor, asked for her hand, while not one of them stopped
even to look at the stepmother's two daughters, so ill-favored were
they. This angered their mother still more against Vasilissa; she answered
every gallant who came with the same words: "Never shall the younger
be wed before the older ones!" and each time, when she had let
a suitor out of the door, she would soothe her anger and hatred by beating
her stepdaughter. So while Vasilissa grew each day more lovely and graceful,
she was often miserable, and but for the little doll in her pocket,
would have longed to leave the white world.
Now there came a time when it became necessary for the
merchant to leave his home and to travel to a distant Tsardom. He bade
farewell to his wife and her two daughters, kissed Vasilissa and gave
her his blessing and departed, bidding them say a prayer each day for
his safe return. Scarce was he out of sight of the village, however,
when his wife sold his house, packed all his goods and moved with them
to another dwelling far from the town, in a gloomy neighborhood on the
edge of a wild forest. Here every day, while her two daughters were
working indoors, the merchant's wife would send Vasilissa on one errand
or other into the forest, either to find a branch of a certain rare
bush or to bring her flowers or berries.
Now deep in this forest, as the stepmother well knew,
there was a green lawn and on the lawn stood a miserable little hut
on hens' legs, where lived a certain Baba Yaga, an old witch grandmother.
She lived alone and none dared go near the hut, for she ate people as
one eats chickens. The merchant's wife sent Vasilissa into the forest
each day, hoping she might meet the old witch and be devoured; but always the girl came home safe and sound, because the little doll showed
her where the bush, the flowers and the berries grew, and did not let
her go near the hut that stood on hens' legs. And each time the stepmother
hated her more and more because she came to no harm.
One autumn evening the merchant's wife called the three
girls to her and gave them each a task. One of her daughters she bade
make a piece of lace, the other to knit a pair of hose, and to Vasilissa
she gave a basket of flax to be spun. She bade each finish a certain
amount. Then she put out all the fires in the house, leaving only a
single candle lighted in the room where the three girls worked, and
she herself went to sleep.
They worked an hour, they worked two hours, they worked
three hours, when one of the elder daughters took up the tongs to straighten
the wick of the candle. She pretended to do this awkwardly (as her
mother had bidden her) and put the candle out, as if by accident.
"What are we to do now?" asked her sister.
"The fires are all out, there is no other light in all the house,
and our tasks are not done."
"We must go and fetch fire," said the first.
"The only house near is a hut in the forest, where a Baba Yaga
lives. One of us must go and borrow fire from her."
"I have enough light from my steel pins,"
said the one who was making the lace, "and I will not go."
"And I have plenty of light from my silver needles,"
said the other, who was knitting the hose, "and I will not go.
"Thou, Vasilissa," they both said, "shalt
go and fetch the fire, for thou hast neither steel pins nor silver needles
and cannot see to spin thy flax!" They both rose up, pushed Vasilissa
out of the house and locked the door, crying:
"Thou shalt not come in till thou hast fetched
Vasilissa sat down on the doorstep, took the tiny doll
from one pocket and from another the supper she had ready for it, put
the food before it and said: "There, my little doll, take it. Eat
a little and listen to my sorrow. I must go to the hut of the old Baba
Yaga in the dark forest to borrow some fire and I fear she will eat
me. Tell me! What shall I do?"
Then the doll's eyes began to shine like two stars and
it became alive. It ate a little and said: "Do not fear, little
Vasilissa. Go where thou hast been sent. While I am with thee no harm
shall come to thee from the old witch." So Vasilissa put the doll
back into her pocket, crossed herself and started out into the dark,
Whether she walked a short way or a long way the telling
is easy, but the journey was hard. The wood was very dark, and she could
not help trembling from fear. Suddenly she heard the sound of a horse's
hoofs and a man on horseback galloped past her. He was dressed all in
white, the horse under him was milk-white and the harness was white,
and just as he passed her it became twilight.
She went a little further and again she heard the sound
of a horse's hoofs and there came another man on horseback galloping
past her. He was dressed all in red, and the horse under him was blood-red
and its harness was red, and just as he passed her the sun rose.
That whole day Vasilissa walked, for she had lost her
way. She could find no path at all in the dark wood and she had no food
to set before the little doll to make it alive.
But at evening she came all at once to the green lawn
where the wretched little hut stood on its hens' legs. The wall around
the hut was made of human bones and on its top were skulls. There was
a gate in the wall, whose hinges were the bones of human feet and whose
locks were jaw-bones set with sharp teeth. The sight filled Vasilissa
with horror and she stopped as still as a post buried in the ground.
As she stood there a third man on horseback came galloping
up. His face was black, he was dressed all in black, and the horse he
rode was coal-black. He galloped up to the gate of the hut and disappeared
there as if he had sunk through the ground and at that moment the night
came and the forest grew dark.
But it was not dark on the green lawn, for instantly
the eyes of all the skulls on the wall were lighted up and shone till
the place was as bright as day. When she saw this Vasilissa trembled
so with fear that she could not run away.
Then suddenly the wood became full of a terrible noise;
the trees began to groan, the branches to creak and the dry leaves to
rustle, and the Baba Yaga came flying from the forest. She was riding
in a great iron mortar and driving it with the pestle, and as she came
she swept away her trail behind her with a kitchen broom.
She rode up to the gate and stopping, said:
Little House, little House, Stand the way thy mother
placed thee, Turn thy back to the forest and thy face to me!
And the little hut turned facing her and stood still.
Then smelling all around her, she cried: "Foo! Foo! I smell a smell
that is Russian. Who is here?"
Vasilissa, in great fright, came nearer to the old woman
and bowing very low, said: "It is only Vasilissa, grandmother.
My stepmother's daughters sent me to thee to borrow some fire."
"Well," said the old witch, "I know them.
But if I give thee the fire thou shalt stay with me some time and do
some work to pay for it. If not, thou shalt be eaten for my supper."
Then she turned to the gate and shouted: "Ho! Ye, my solid locks,
unlock! Thou, my stout gate, open!" Instantly the locks unlocked,
the gate opened of itself, and the Baba Yaga rode in whistling. Vasilissa
entered behind her and immediately the gate shut again and the locks
When they had entered the hut the old witch threw her
self down on the stove, stretched out her bony legs and said:
"Come, fetch and put on the table at once everything
that is in the oven. I am hungry." So Vasilissa ran and lighted
a splinter of wood from one of the skulls on the wall and took the food
from the oven and set it before her. There was enough cooked meat for
three strong men. She brought also from the cellar kvass, honey, and
red wine, and the Baba Yaga ate and drank the whole, leaving the girl
only a little cabbage soup, a crust of bread and a morsel of suckling
When her hunger was satisfied, the old witch, growing
drowsy, lay down on the stove and said: "Listen to me well, and
do what I bid thee. Tomorrow when I drive away, do thou clean the yard,
sweep the floors and cook my supper. Then take a quarter of a measure
of wheat from my store house and pick out of it all the black grains
and the wild peas. Mind thou dost all that I have bade; if not, thou
shalt be eaten for my supper."
Presently the Baba Yaga turned toward the wall and began
to snore and Vasilissa knew that she was fast asleep. Then she went
into the corner, took the tiny doll from her pocket, put before it a
bit of bread and a little cabbage soup that she had saved, burst into
tears and said: "There, my little doll, take it. Eat a little,
drink a little, and listen to my grief. Here I am in the house of the
old witch and the gate in the wall is locked and I am afraid. She has
given me a difficult task and if I do not do all she has bade, she will
eat me tomorrow. Tell me: What shall I do?"
Then the eyes of the little doll began to shine like
two candles. It ate a little of the bread and drank a little of the
soup and said: "Do not be afraid, Vasilissa the Beautiful. Be comforted.
Say thy prayers, and go to sleep. The morning is wiser than the evening."
So Vasilissa trusted the little doll and was comforted. She said her
prayers, lay down on the floor and went fast asleep.
When she woke next morning, very early, it was still
dark. She rose and looked out of the window, and she saw that the eyes
of the skulls on the wall were growing dim. As she looked, the man dressed
all in white, riding the milk-white horse, galloped swiftly around the
corner of the hut, leaped the wall and disappeared, and as he went,
it became quite light and the eyes of the skulls flickered and went
out. The old witch was in the yard; now she began to whistle and the
great iron mortar and pestle and the kitchen broom flew out of the hut
to her. As she got into the mortar the man dressed all in red, mounted
on the blood-red horse, galloped like the wind around the corner of
the hut, leaped the wall and was gone, and at that moment the sun rose.
Then the Baba Yaga shouted: "Ho! Ye, my solid locks, unlock! Thou,
my stout gate, open!" And the locks unlocked and the gate opened
and she rode away in the mortar, driving with the pestle and sweeping
away her path behind her with the broom.
When Vasilissa found herself left alone, she examined
the hut, wondering to find it filled with such an abundance of everything.
Then she stood still, remembering all the work that she had been bidden
to do and wondering what to begin first. But as she looked she rubbed
her eyes, for the yard was already neatly cleaned and the floors were
nicely swept, and the little doll was sitting in the storehouse picking
the last black grains and wild peas out of the quarter- measure of wheat.
Vasilissa ran and took the little doll in her arms.
"My dearest little doll!" she cried. "Thou hast saved
me from my trouble! Now I have only to cook the Baba Yaga's supper,
since all the rest of the tasks are done!"
"Cook it, with God's help," said the doll,
"and then rest, and may the cooking of it make thee healthy!"
And so saying it crept into her pocket and became again only a little
So Vasilissa rested all day and was refreshed; and when
it grew toward evening she laid the table for the old witch's supper,
and sat looking out of the window, waiting for her coming. After awhile
she heard the sound of a horse's hoofs and the man in black, on the
coal-black horse, galloped up to the wall gate and disappeared like
a great dark shadow, and instantly it became quite dark and the eyes
of all the skulls began to glitter and shine.
Then all at once the trees of the forest began to creak and groan and
the leaves and the bushes to moan and sigh, and the Baba Yaga came riding
out of the dark wood in the huge iron mortar, driving with the pestle
and sweeping out the trail behind her with the kitchen broom. Vasilissa
let her in; and the witch, smelling all around her, asked:
"Well, hast thou done perfectly all the tasks I
gave thee to do, or am I to eat thee for my supper?"
"Be so good as to look for thyself, grandmother,"
The Baba Yaga went all about the place, tapping with
her iron pestle, and carefully examining everything. But so well had
the little doll done its work that, try as hard as she might, she could
not find anything to complain of. There was not a weed left in the yard,
nor a speck of dust on the floors, nor a single black grain or wild
pea in the wheat.
The old witch was greatly angered, but was obliged to
pretend to be pleased. "Well," she said, "thou hast done
all well." Then, clapping her hands, she shouted: "Ho! my
faithful servants! Friends of my heart! Haste and grind my wheat!"
Immediately three pairs of hands appeared, seized the measure of wheat
and carried it away.
The Baba Yaga sat down to supper, and Vasilissa put
before her all the food from the oven, with kvass, honey, and red wine.
The old witch ate it, bones and all, almost to the last morsel, enough
for four strong men, and then, growing drowsy, stretched her bony legs
on the stove and said: "Tomorrow do as thou hast done today, and
besides these tasks take from my storehouse a half-measure of poppy
seeds and clean them one by one. Someone has mixed earth with them to
do me a mischief and to anger me, and I will have them made perfectly
clean." So saying she turned to the wall and soon began to snore.
When she was fast asleep Vasilissa went into the corner,
took the little doll from her pocket, set before it a part of the food
that was left and asked its advice. And the doll, when it had become
alive, and eaten a little food and sipped a little drink, said: "Don't
worry, beautiful Vasilissa! Be comforted. Do as thou didst last night:
say thy prayers and go to sleep." So Vasilissa was comforted. She
said her prayers and went to sleep and did not wake till next morning
when she heard the old witch in the yard whistling. She ran to the window
just in time to see her take her place in the big iron mortar, and as
she did so the man dressed all in red, riding on the blood red horse,
leaped over the wall and was gone, just as the sun rose over the wild
As it had happened on the first morning, so it happened
now. When Vasilissa looked she found that the little doll had finished
all the tasks excepting the cooking of the supper. The yard was swept
and in order, the floors were as clean as new wood, and there was not
a grain of earth left in the half-measure of poppy seeds. She rested
and refreshed herself till the afternoon, when she cooked the supper,
and when evening came she laid the table and sat down to wait for the
old witch's coming.
Soon the man in black, on the coal-black horse, galloped
up to the gate, and the dark fell and the eyes of the skulls began to
shine like day; then the ground began to quake, and the trees of the
forest began to creak and the dry leaves to rustle, and the Baba Yaga
came riding in her iron mortar, driving with her pestle and sweeping
away her path with her broom.
When she came in she smelled around her and went all
about the hut, tapping with the pestle; but pry and examine as she might,
again she could see no reason to find fault and was angrier than ever.
She clapped her hands and shouted:
"Ho! my trusty servants! Friends of my soul! Haste
and press the oil out of my poppy seeds!" And instantly the three
pairs of hands appeared, seized the measure of poppy seeds and carried
Presently the old witch sat down to supper and Vasilissa
brought all she had cooked, enough for five grown men, and set it before
her, and brought beer and honey, and then she herself stood silently
waiting. The Baba Yaga ate and drank it all, every morsel, leaving not
so much as a crumb of bread; then she said snappishly: "Well, why
dost thou say nothing, but stand there as if thou wast dumb?"
"I spoke not," Vasilissa answered, "because
I dared not. But if thou wilt allow me, grandmother, I wish to ask thee
"Well," said the old witch, "only remember
that every question does not lead to good. If thou knowest overmuch,
thou wilt grow old too soon. What wilt thou ask?"
"I would ask thee," said Vasilissa, "of
the men on horse back. When I came to thy hut, a rider passed me. He
was dressed all in white and he rode a milk-white horse. Who was he?"
"That was my white, bright day," answered
the Baba Yaga angrily. "He is a servant of mine, but he cannot
hurt thee. Ask me more."
"Afterwards," said Vasilissa, "a second
rider overtook me. He was dressed in red and the horse he rode was blood-
red. Who was he?"
"That was my servant, the round, red sun,"
answered the Baba Yaga, "and he, too, cannot injure thee,"
and she ground her teeth. "Ask me more."
"A third rider," said Vasilissa, "came
galloping up to the gate. He was black, his clothes were black and the
horse was coal-black. Who was he?"
"That was my servant, the black, dark night,"
answered the old witch furiously; "but he also cannot harm thee.
Ask me more."
But Vasilissa, remembering what the Baba Yaga had said,
that not every question led to good, was silent.
"Ask me more!" cried the old witch. "Why
dost thou not ask me more? Ask me of the three pairs of hands that serve
But Vasilissa saw how she snarled at her and she answered:
"The three questions are enough for me. As thou hast said, grandmother,
I would not, through knowing over much, become too soon old."
"It is well for thee," said the Baba Yaga,
"that thou didst not ask of them, but only of what thou didst see
outside of this hut. Hadst thou asked of them, my servants, the three
pairs of hands would have seized thee also, as they did the wheat and
poppy seeds, to be my food. Now I would ask a question in my turn: How
is it that thou hast been able, in a little time, to do perfectly all
the tasks I gave thee? Tell me!"
Vasilissa was so frightened to see how the old witch
ground her teeth that she almost told her of the little doll; but she
bethought herself just in time, and answered: "The blessing of
my dead mother helps me."
Then the Baba Yaga sprang up in a fury. "Get thee
out of my house this moment!" she shrieked. "I want no one
who bears a blessing to cross my threshold! Get thee gone!"
Vasilissa ran to the yard, and behind her she heard
the old witch shouting to the locks and the gate. The locks opened,
the gate swung wide, and she ran out on to the lawn. The Baba Yaga seized
from the wall one of the skulls with burning eyes and flung it after
her. "There," she howled, "is the fire for thy stepmother's
daughters. Take it. That is what they sent thee here for, and may they
have joy of it!"
Vasilissa put the skull on the end of a stick and darted
away through the forest, running as fast as she could, finding her path
by the skull's glowing eyes which went out only when morning came.
Whether she ran a long way or a short way, and whether
the road was smooth or rough, towards evening of the next day, when
the eyes in the skull were beginning to glimmer, she came out of the
dark, wild forest to her stepmother's house.
When she came near to the gate, she thought, "Surely,
by this time they will have found some fire," and threw the skull
into the hedge; but it spoke to her, and said: "Do not throw me
away, beautiful Vasilissa; bring me to thy stepmother." So, looking
at the house and seeing no spark of light in any of the windows, she
took up the skull again and carried it with her.
Now since Vasilissa had gone, the stepmother and her
two daughters had had neither fire nor light in all the house. When
they struck flint and steel the tinder would not catch and the fire
they brought from the neighbors would go out immediately as soon as
they carried it over the threshold, so that they had been unable to
light or warm themselves or to cook food to eat. Therefore now, for
the first time in her life, Vasilissa found herself welcomed. They opened
the door to her and the merchant's wife was greatly rejoiced to find
that the light in the skull did not go out as soon as it was brought
in. "Maybe the witch's fire will stay," she said, and took
the skull into the best room, set it on a candlestick and called her
two daughters to admire it.
But the eyes of the skull suddenly began to glimmer
and to glow like red coals, and wherever the three turned or ran the
eyes followed them, growing larger and brighter till they flamed like
two furnaces, and hotter and hotter till the merchant's wife and her
two wicked daughters took fire and were burned to ashes. Only Vasilissa
the Beautiful was not touched.
In the morning Vasilissa dug a deep hole in the ground
and buried the skull. Then she locked the house and set out to the village,
where she went to live with an old woman who was poor and childless,
and so she remained for many days, waiting for her father's return from
the far-distant Tsardom.
But, sitting lonely, time soon began to hang heavy on
her hands. One day she said to the old woman: "It is dull for me,
grandmother, to sit idly hour by hour. My hands want work to do. Go,
therefore, and buy me some flax, the best and finest to be found anywhere,
and at least I can spin."
The old woman hastened and bought some flax of the best
sort and Vasilissa sat down to work. So well did she spin that the thread
came out as even and fine as a hair, and presently there was enough
to begin to weave. But so fine was the thread that no frame could be
found to weave it upon, nor would any weaver undertake to make one.
Then Vasilissa went into her closet, took the little
doll from her pocket, set food and drink before it and asked its help.
And after it had eaten a little and drunk a little, the doll became
alive and said: "Bring me an old frame and an old basket and some
hairs from a horse's mane, and I will arrange everything for thee."
Vasilissa hastened to fetch all the doll had asked for and when evening
came, said her prayers, went to sleep, and in the morning she found
ready a frame, perfectly made, to weave her fine thread upon.
She wove one month, she wove two months-all the winter
Vasilissa sat weaving, weaving her fine thread, till the whole piece
of linen was done, of a texture so fine that it could be passed, like
thread, through the eye of a needle. When the spring came she bleached
it, so white that no snow could be compared with it. Then she said to
the old woman: "Take thou the linen to the market, grandmothers
and sell it, and the money shall suffice to pay for my food and lodging."
When the old woman examined the linen, however, she said:
"Never will I sell such cloth in the market place;
no one should wear it except it be the Tsar himself, and tomorrow I
shall carry it to the Palace."
Next day, accordingly, the old woman went to the Tsar's
splendid Palace and fell to walking up and down before the windows.
The servants came to ask her her errand but she answered them nothing,
and kept walking up and down. At length the Tsar opened his window,
and asked: "What dost thou want, old woman, that thou walkest here?"
"O Tsar's Majesty" the old woman answered,
"I have with me a marvelous piece of linen stuff, so wondrously
woven that I will show it to none but thee."
The Tsar bade them bring her before him and when he
saw the linen he was struck with astonishment at its fineness and beauty.
"What wilt thou take for it, old woman?" he asked.
"There is no price that can buy it, Little Father
Tsar," she answered; "but I have brought it to thee as a gift."
The Tsar could not thank the old woman enough. He took the linen and
sent her to her house with many rich presents.
Seamstresses were called to make shirts for him out
of the cloth; but when it had been cut up, so fine was it that no one
of them was deft and skillful enough to sew it. The best seamstresses
in all the Tsardom were summoned but none dared undertake it. So at
last the Tsar sent for the old woman and said: "If thou didst know
how to spin such thread and weave such linen, thou must also know how
to sew me shirts from it."
And the old woman answered: "O Tsar's Majesty,
it was not I who wove the linen; it is the work of my adopted daughter."
"Take it, then," the Tsar said, "and
bid her do it for me." The old woman brought the linen home and
told Vasilissa the Tsar's command: "Well I knew that the work would
needs be done by my own hands," said Vasilissa, and, locking herself
in her own room, began to make the shirts. So fast and well did she
work that soon a dozen were ready. Then the old woman carried them to
the Tsar, while Vasilissa washed her face, dressed her hair, put on
her best gown and sat down at the window to see what would happen. And
presently a servant in the livery of the Palace came to the house and
entering, said: "The Tsar, our lord, desires himself to see the
clever needlewoman who has made his shirts and to reward her with his
Vasilissa rose and went at once to the Palace, and as
soon as the Tsar saw her, he fell in love with her with all his soul.
He took her by her white hand and made her sit beside him. "Beautiful
maiden," he said, "never will I part from thee and thou shalt
be my wife."
So the Tsar and Vasilissa the Beautiful were married,
and her father returned from the far-distant Tsardom, and he and the
old woman lived always with her in the splendid Palace, in all joy and
contentment. And as for the little wooden doll, she carried it about
with her in her pocket all her life long.