Long ago, in the land of Russia, there lived a beautiful girl named Vasilissa. Surrounded by her loving mother and her father, who was a wealthy merchant, Vasilissa lived a very happy life -- until her mother fell ill.
One night Vasilissa's mother called to her beautiful daughter, "Vasilissa, come quickly to my bedside!" Vasilissa ran to her mother and asked how she might be of help.
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Vasilissa's mother looked at her daughter and said, "I am very ill. I will not be with you much longer. Take this doll. She will protect you when you are in danger." Vasilissa kissed her mother one last time to say good-bye and took the doll.
Once Vasilissa's mother was gone, Vasilissa's father decided to find a new wife. However, because he was such a wealthy merchant, many scheming women tried to win his affections. One such woman, who had a daughter of her own, was especially cruel and mean. Unfortunately for Vasilissa, this is the woman whom her father married.
The woman and her daughter were envious of Vasilissa's beauty. They also resented the fact that Vasilissa's father loved her so. Because of their jealousy, Vasilissa's evil stepmother and stepsister made her do all of the dirtiest household chores.
"You aren't so pretty scrubbing the floor, are you?" cackled Vasilissa's wicked stepmother.
"Your clothes aren't so fine covered in mop water and dirt, are they?" mocked Vasilissa's dreadful stepsister.
One day, the stepmother's jealousy got the best of her. "I have a plan to rid ourselves of Vasilissa once and for all!" she said to her daughter.
While Vasilissa's father was away on business, her stepmother called out, "Vasilissa, come here at once!" Vasilissa did as she was told.
"Our fire has gone out," said the evil stepmother. "I need you to go to Baba Yaga's house to fetch more fire."
On the next page, learn what happens to Vasilissa at Baba Yaga's house.