The Wonderful Birch

Whew, now that ride wasn't too bad.  It was by far one of the easiest rides thus far.  Well, here we are, Russia.  Sadly, this will be our last Cinderella story we will journey to today, but I think you now have a good understanding of the many different Cinderella stories from all over the world.  Now, as you know, once I say the magic words, the story will begin.  Are you ready? OK, here goes.  Sarov, Tarov, Darov.
"Where did that darn sheep go?" said Gala.
"I don't know, honey. Let's go out into the woods and look for her.  We can leave Feodora here to start supper," said Kalina.
Gala and Kalina leave their daughter and went out into the woods to search for their missing sheep.  When they got out into the woods, they decided it would be best for them to split up and look for the sheep.  Kalina stumbled upon a wicked witch.
"What are you searching for?" asked the wicked witch.
"I have come looking for my black sheep that has gone missing," said Kalina.
The wicked witch then transformed Kalina into a black sheep and made herself look exactly like Kalina.  The wicked witch then took Kalina back to Gala and told him that she had found the sheep and they went back to the house because Gala thought that the wicked witch was actually her mother.
When they got back to the house, Feodora knew that the woman was not her mother.  When she looked into the eyes of the sheep, she knew that the sheep was actually Kalina.  She overheard her father and the wicked witch talking, saying they were going to slaughter the sheep.  Feodora then ran to her mother, very scared.
"Oh Mother, they are going to slaughter you.  What should we do?" said Feodora.
"Well, if they slaughter me, do not eat the meat that is made from me.  Take my bones and bury them on the edge of the field," said Kalina.
Gala and the wicked witch did indeed slaughter Kalina. Feodora then took her bones and buried them on the edge of the field as her mother had asked her to and a beautiful birch tree sprang up.
Years passed and the wicked witch and Gala had a daughter of their own. They named her Kira.  Kira was very mean to Feodora and she often mistreated her.  The wicked witch favored Kira and she was treated like royalty and Feodora was treated as a servant.
One day the king gave word that he would be throwing a ball in order to find a wife for his son.  Every girl in the village wanted to go and Feodora was also excited.  When it was time to get ready to go to the ball, the wicked witch told Gala to take Kira and go ahead to the ball and she would take care of Feodora.  When they had left, the wicked witch gave Feodora a large bucket of corn of the cob and told her she must pick all the corn off the cobs and put them into a pot. 
"If you do not have all the corn off the cobs by the time I return, I will eat you," said the wicked witch.
Feodora immediately began trying to pick all the corn off the cobs but she soon realized that it was no use.  She ran to the birch tree and began to cry.  Suddenly she heard her mother's voice.
"What is wrong, my dear child?" said the Tree.
"Oh Mother, the wicked witch told me that I must pick corn off a bucket full of cobs by the time she returns home from the ball, or she will eat me," said Feodora.
"Do not worry, Feodora, I will take care of everything, and you will get to go to the ball," said the Tree.
Feodora went into the house and realized that all the corn had been taken off the cob and placed in the pot.  She then ran back to the tree and saw a beautiful dress and beautiful shoes hanging from its branches.  She immediately put the dress and the shoes on and hurried to the ball.  When she got to the ball, it was clear that she was the most beautiful girl there.  The prince asked her for a dance and danced only with her all night.  She smiled as she noticed the wicked witch and Kira staring jealously at her.
It was beginning to get late and Feodora realized that the wicked witch and Kira were no longer in sight.  She began to panic because she needed to beat them home to avoid getting in trouble.  She hurried out of the door leaving behind her beautiful shoe.  The prince set out to find the beautiful girl who could fit the shoe but no one could.  When he reached Feodora's house, the wicked witch insisted on giving Kira the shoe.  She adjusted Kira's foot so it seemed as though she fit the shoe but the prince was hesitant.  He insisted on taking both Feodora and Kira with him to the palace.  On their journey Feodora whispered into the prince's ear.
"It's me, dear prince," said Feodora and the prince knew Feodora was to be his bride.  He threw Kira's body across the river to form a bridge.  Once he and Feodora crossed the river, they ran away, leaving Kira, and they lived happily ever after.

This is a picture of Feodora.
Bibliography Information
Title: The Wonderful Birch
Author:  Andrew Lang
Year Published: 1890
Web Source: The Wonderful Birch

Author's Note:  I retold the story of The Wonderful Birch.  It is a Russian version of Cinderella.  I changed the story drastically but I was able to keep it very close to the original.  I added a lot of small details but I also shortened the story a great deal.  One thing that I changed about the story is the characters.  I gave the characters names to give them a little more depth.  I thought by giving the characters names that would make the story a lot more personal and also help keep the audiences attention.  There are a lot of differences in this version of Cinderella from the Disney version but when readers read this story they will realize that there are some similarities.  The lost slipper is the well-known sign of a Cinderella story and so is the wicked stepmother.  However the happily ever ending came with a bit of a twist to it.  There are a lot of fun details of the original story that I had to leave out due to the 1000 word maximum but readers will still get a good idea of the story The Wonderful Birch.  In the original story, there are a lot more events that take place regarding the prince and the wicked witch.


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