AD’s grandma is originally from Kursk, Russia, and would always tell her fables and fairytales whenever AD came to visit. She has fond memories with her cousins sitting around her grandma as she would tell these stories in a thick accent. Her grandma would always compare herself to Baba Yaga or make jokes about her, and the stories were a very important part of their relationship. This was the most memorable fable she told AD. It follows many aspects of Propp’s fairytale structure, notable the abstention of a parent, an evil stepmother, a donor (the mouse), a test, and a homecoming. This is then repeated again by the other daughter, Natasha, but unsuccessfully, serving as a moral warning against selfishness.
“Masha is a sweet, prefect girl, a Cinderella type: beautiful, smart and sweet. She lives with her mother and father on farm. It’s nice but they don’t have a lot of money. Then, her mother dies, and her father remarries. The other woman has a daughter, Natasha, but she is opposite of Masha: ugly, spoiled, rude, selfish. Her mother loves her a lot. Masha’s dad loves the mom, plus she has money, which helps. The step mother does not like Masha, and wants Natasha to have all the opportunities. One day, she’s talking to her husband and says, “We cant afford to take care of both of these girls. Masha is smart and strong, she’ll be fine. Take her out in the forest and leave her with a candle and a little kasha (porridge) and she’ll be fine!”
After hesitation he agrees, and takes Masha, puts her in the cart with a candle & kasha. He then takes her into middle of the forest and doesn’t tell her what he’s doing. He says goodbye and leaves her. She’s cold and sad, so shemakes herself some kasha heated by candle. Then a little mouse comes over (“mouth” as pronounced by grandma) and asks
“Oh I’m so hungry, will you share with me?”
“Oh but I only have a little”
“Please, I’ll help you in return”
Masha, being generous and kind, gives him some. She doesn’t know here’s a bear in the forest, but all of a sudden the bear comes over and is like “Get out of my forest”
Mash says no.
The bear says, “Okay, I’ll make a little bet with you. I’m going to throw 3 stones. You are going to run in a circle around this cave. I’m going to close my eyes so I can’t see, and throw stones. If I hit you, you’re dead. if I miss all 3 times, I will give you all the riches, jewels, gowns and wealth you could want.”
Masha looks at the mouse, and the mouse says “Do it, I’ll help you.”
She takes the deal.
The mouse takes Masha’s place and runs in the circle while Masha stands aside.
The bear throws the 1st stone.
“Did I hit you?”
He throws the 2nd stone.
“Did I hit you?”
He throws the 3rd stone.
“Did I hit you?”
The mouse runs away. The bear gives Masha her riches, servants, and a beautiful carriage. The next morning, the rooster is crowing “coocuracoo.” Natasha looks and says “is that Masha?”
stepmom says, “No she’s dead!”
“No it’s Masha!”
It’s her, returning with all these beautiful things. She has a happy reunion with father.
The stepmom can’t stand that Masha came back with all beautiful things. She wants the same thing for her daughter, and decides to send her out to same place so she can also get riches. Of course they send her with lots of food, lots of stuff, an entire full wagon into forest. The dad drops her off. She sits down and doesn’t know what to do, so she lights a candle and starts making food. The mouse comes over and says “Oh I know you”
“You don’t know me”
“Oh you’re not Masha”
The mouse asks for food, and she refuses to give him any because she’s spoiled.
Then the bear comes over, and proposes same deal he made to Masha.
Natasha takes the deal.
She starts running in the circle. obviously not as fast as the mouse who refuses to help her. He kills her with the first stone.
The next day, the rooster crows “coocooracooo”
The stepmother has been waiting for her daughter to return with the riches in a carriage, but all they see is the wagon coming, carrying Natasha’s bones.”