The old man went off. And the little dog in the corner wagged his tail and said:
“Bow-wow! bow-wow! the old man’s daughter is on her way home, beautiful and happy as never before, and the old woman’s daughter is wicked as ever before.”
“Keep still, stupid beast!” shouted the stepmother, and struck the little dog.
“Here, take this pancake, eat it and say, ‘The old woman’s daughter will be married soon and the old man’s daughter shall be buried soon.’”
The dog ate the pancake and began anew:
“Bow-wow! bow-wow! the old man’s daughter is coming home wealthy and happy as never before, and the old woman’s daughter is somewhere around as homely and wicked as ever before.”
The old woman was furious at the dog, but in spite of pancakes and whipping, the dog repeated the same words over and over again.
Somebody opened the gate, voices were heard laughing and talking outside. The old woman looked out and sat down in amazement. The stepdaughter was there like a princess, bright and happy in the most beautiful garments, and behind her the old father had hardly strength enough to carry the heavy, heavy trunk with the rich outfit.
“Old man!” called the stepmother, impatiently; “hitch our best horses to our best sleigh, and drive my daughter to the very same place in the wide, wide fields.”
The old man obeyed as usual and took his stepdaughter to the same place and left her alone.
Old Frost was there; he looked at his new guest.
“Art thou comfortable, fair maiden?” asked the red-nosed sovereign.
“Let me alone,” harshly answered the girl; “canst thou not see that my feet and my hands are about stiff from the cold?”
The Frost kept crackling and asking questions for quite a while, but obtaining no polite answer became angry and froze the girl to death.
“Old man, go for my daughter; take the best horses; be careful; do not upset the sleigh; do not lose the trunk.”
And the little dog in the corner said:
“Bow-wow! bow-wow! the old man’s daughter will marry soon; the old woman’s daughter shall be buried soon.”
“Do not lie. Here is a cake; eat it and say, ‘The old woman’s daughter is clad in silver and gold.’”
The gate opened, the old woman ran out and kissed the stiff frozen lips of her daughter. She wept and wept, but there was no help, and she understood at last that through her own wickedness and envy her child had perished.
From Folk tales from the Russian, by Verra de Blumenthal.
Chicago, New York, London: Rand, McNally and Company, 1903.