It could be that
is the world's most-told tale...There are thousands of versions, each one colored by the details of local culture, the needs of its audience and the desires of its teller. At the core of a Cinderella story is the configuration of the step family. The girl left in their care becomes subservient, degraded. We identify with her through our own experiences of loss, humiliation and enslavement.

Cinderella LINKS


Buried among the world's heap of Cinder tales, you will find the Russian version, in its multiple incarnations. It is the tale of a girl called Vasilisa. (also:Vasalisa, Wassilissa, Vassilisa...) After her mother dies, the girl must endure the abuses of a stepfamily. Her little doll serves as both transitional object and palm pilot, helping her navigate a series of tests and survive an encounter with the powerful hag Baba Yaga.

Here are just a few recent versions of this tale found as picture books for children:

Baba Yaga and Vasilisa the Brave, as told by Marianna Mayer, illustrated by K. Y. Craft. Morrow Junior Books, 1994.

Vasalisa and her Magic Doll, adapted and illustrated by Rita Grauer. Philomel Books, 1994.

Vasilissa the Beautiful: A Russian Folktale, adapted by Elizabeth Winthrop, illustrated by Alexander Koskkin. HarperCollins, 1991.

The Vasalisa Project