Robin Redbreast

Robin Redbreast
Birds can represent the fluttering, darting thoughts of intuition. This is why little birds helped Cinderella help herself.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Vasilisa the Beautiful, pt.3

these dolls came from Russia in the 1980's
☛☻Once upon a time, in Russia, Vasilisa the Beautiful had just returned to the hut of her step mother, with fire from the witch Baba Yaga. But the fire from that witch's skull had burned her stepsisters and stepmother all to cinders, so Vasilisa was alone with her magic doll. It told her to bury that bad skull and leave the house, so she did. She walked all the way to town and "asked an old woman to give her a home until her father should  came back. All went well, now, except that Vasilisa did not have enough to do. One day she asked the old woman, "Please buy me some of the very best flax. I should like to do some spinning. " So the old woman did, and Vasilisa spun thread as fine as her hair. Soon she had so much that she knew she must weave it, but "no loom was good enough for such fine thread. Vasilisa thought again of her doll. The little doll was ready, and said, 'I will take care of everything. Please bring me a comb, a spindle, a shuttle, and some horsehair.' And sure enough, during the night,  while Vasilisa slept, the little doll made a splendid loom for weaving." The linen that she wove from it was so fine that yards and yards of it could be pulled right through the eye of a needle. Now Vasilisa told the old woman that she should go to market and sell it. But "the old woman looked at the cloth and was amazed. 'No, my child. This I shall not sell. Such linen as this should be worn only by the Tsar. I will take it to the palace'. So she did. At first, the guards did not want to let her through the gate, but finally, she talked her way in. "When he saw the linen, [the Tsar] was astounded. 'What do you want for it?' he asked. 'There is no price, Your Majesty. I have brought it as a gift.' Now the Tsar wanted to have shirts made out of it, but none of the seamstresses at the palace dared work that fine linen. So he called the old woman back, and told her to cut and sew them. But she said she could not, that it was her "foster child" who had done so. " Well, then let her sew the shirts." said the Tsar. So the old woman brought the linen back, and Vasilisa sewed the shirts. Then the old woman took them back to the palace, and Vasilisa " stayed at home and washed and combed and dressed herself. The she sat down at the window to see what would happen next." Well, the next thing she knew, a servant appeared, calling for her to travel back to the palace so that the Tsar could reward her. So she went and " As soon as he saw her, [the Tsar] fell head over heels in love with her. He took Vasilisa by the hand, sat her near him, and ordered bells to be rung for their wedding. " Shortly after, her father finally returned and "Vasilisa took him, and the old woman also, to live in the palace. And the little doll she carried ever after in her pocket. Notes: This story was taken from Favorite Fairy Tales Told in Russia,  retold by Virginia Haviland. See "Children's Literature a Guide to Reference". Publication date is 1961. This author has collections of fairy tales from Ireland, Norway and Greece, as well as others.

Montessori Connection: 6-9 Russian Dolls, Russian Culture. Learn more about Russia by reading some books by Patricia Pollaco, especially  Babushka's Doll (Aladdin Picture Books).  Do you have a set of Russian dolls in your classroom? Do you know someone who does? This set came from Russia in the 1980's. A good lesson to study with this story is Living or Non Living? For a set of beautiful, free, downloadable sorting cards, go  to: and look on the left under FREE DOWNLOADS.  I have printed these on cardstock and gently used them unlaminated.
this doll is part of a set from the Slovak Republic

9-12 Spinning: A History of Textiles 
Learn about textiles, looms and the tools used to make cloth. 1. Find a good book about the subject, such as this one, or, if this is too adult, try
Kids Weaving, a project book. 2. Define these words: loom, warp, weft, spindle, yarn, thread.