It was in olden times that some girls went to wed the snow. 2 They came to a water-hole, sat down, and traced a magic circle all around themselves upon the snow. They were seated on a bearskin. One of the paws of the skin projected accidentally beyond the circle, but not one of the girls noticed it. All at once the skin under them began to move. The water in the water-hole bubbled as in a kettle, and something made its appearance out of the water. They were horribly frightened and rushed away. Nearest to the river stood the small house of an old woman. She was pious and wealthy. She had among other things a great number of saucepans, large and bright, made of solid copper. She met them in the entrance, and
ordered them immediately to put the saucepans on their heads as caps. Then they sat down and waited. After a few moments the door was torn open, and in rushed a large stove, all of black iron, breathing fire from all its openings. All at once all the saucepans were pulled down with great violence. That done, the phantom departed. Most certainly the saucepans had been mistaken by it for the heads of girls, so the girls were saved. That is all.
Told by Mary Dauroff, a Russian creole woman, in the village of Pokhotsk, summer of 1896.
105:2 It is a kind of old Russian divination, practised on Christmas Eve or Twelfth Night. Young girls "wed the snow," and, according to the marks left on the snow by their fingers, foretell the future chiefly in reference to their possible marriage during the coming year.--W. B.