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Have You Been Nice?

Grandfather Frost

That’s Grandfather Frost [Дед Мороз] and he is the Russian ‘gift giver’. He is assisted by the Snow Maiden [Снегурочка], but ever the jolly, fun-loving people, the ‘gifts’ are a bit different. Threats of coal or sticks would be weird to a people who are trying to stay warm, they would consider them welcome.

Generally there are sweets, maybe salo [salted fatback], and other high energy food.

For the ‘naughty’ list there is the staff. You don’t get beaten, merely touched, which turns you into a popsicle. [I told you they were fun-loving.]

Tonight’s the night – you’ve been nice, right?

5 comments

1 jamsodonnell { 12.31.12 at 8:11 am }

I’ve been good Grandfather Frost please can I have extra lard?

2 Bryan { 12.31.12 at 1:01 pm }

Salo is actually like bacon and it isn’t bad toasted over a fire at minus 40 and dropped on a slice of black bread, but it is really salty as a preservative and a little goes a long way, even in the winter.

BTW, a vegen asking the Old Man for salo wouldn’t go over well – he doesn’t have a sense of humor like Father Christmas. Russian fairy tales rarely end with ‘happily ever after’ – a coroner’s inquest is more normal. ;)

3 ellroon { 12.31.12 at 2:36 pm }

Russian fairy tales? I remember Baba Yaga’s tale being told as if she were only a wise old woman who lived in a strange house that had chicken legs… apparently very cleaned up to present to American children.

The Grimm Tales were also horrific in the original form… warning kids of imminent and unpreventable death. That’ll teach’em ….

4 ellroon { 12.31.12 at 2:37 pm }

Btw, Grandfather Frost’s outfit is to die for!

(pun intended…)

5 Bryan { 12.31.12 at 5:48 pm }

That is one of the best ones I’ve seen, Ellroon and it looks like silk over wool with real Arctic fox trim. The helmet is certainly more impressive than a stocking cap with a pompom on the end.

There are many tales of Baba Yaga, and she did deal fairly with innocent people, but, like Grandfather Frost, if you annoyed her, you were definitely ‘toast’. The tales were a way to teach children to behave and the punishments were always extreme. Essentially if children weren’t polite and respectful they would die a horrible death which was always described in great detail.