Thursday, 27 October 2016

Where did Jack Frost Come From?

Made by Williamcote
After reading The Snow Queen for last weeks blog entry, I was looking through my beautiful The Snow Queen and Other Winter Tales book and came across the tale of Jack Frost and thus I decided to do this particular tale for this weeks blog entry (especially after using an illustration of Elsa and Jack), discussing the version and the version as shown in Rise of the Guardians, the film released in 2012. The tale starts with "Once upon a time.." (which I can now never ever read without think, hmm Hook is delicious) "there lived an old Russian peasant wit his wife and three daughters - Martha, Pasha and Masha", which is not confusing at all. The oldest was a child from a previous wife and was thus treated in a Cinderella-like fashion by her step-mother. The sister grew into beautiful young women in need of husbands, but the father did not want to part with Martha, but his wife knew that due to her beauty, the other two sisters were being overlooked by the men in the village.

So, clever as she is, she tells her husband she has the perfect suitor for Martha. And of course, she is talking about Jack Frost: "he is rich, he is handsome, what more could she want? Look at all the fir and pine-trees, look at the ice and the snow, - they all belong to him, every one of them". Her does not know where to find this man, so his wife tells him he lives in the forest. She tells him to take Martha into the forest and leave her with a box under a tree. He's unsure it will turn out ok√© but his wife convinces him that Jack will look after the girl. What the father did not know, is that his wife wanted Martha to die and it was all just a ruse to get rid of the girl. And so it happens, only when day turns to night a old man (with a long white beard) shows up and his name is in fact Jack Frost. 

He asks Martha if she's warm. Poor Martha, by that point, is so cold that she things she's boiling (which is actually something that happens when people are about to freeze to death). Jack felt really bad for her and took her back to her father and filled the empty box with treasure. The step-mother was furious but decided that she would not let Martha win and thus told her husband to take her daughters to the same spot, with an empty box each. After a while, the girls started bickering, fed up that their suitors did not show up. Jack came to Pasha and Masha and asked them if they were warm and they rudely responded that of course they weren't warm "you old stupid!". Jack smiled at the girls, confused about why they were waiting for there suitors under a tree in the middle of the forest. Pasha was really upset at this point and started yelling at him, so he came closer and closer. 

When he touched them they froze to death, which is how their father found them the next day. When he returns home his wife blames him for their deaths. He told her to bugger off, he just did what she asked him too. It's not his fault that she could only think of riches. So she forgave him and they lived happily ever after (well.. after burying the two unfortunate sisters). Martha married a very rich, handsome young man and lived happily ever after too, "as people always do in Fairy Tales" (well not quite.. I mean I think Pasha and Masha disagree).

This is nothing like the tale of Jack Rost in Rise of the Guardians. In the film he's a young lonely man, who is invisible to everyone. He brings ice and fun everywhere he goes. Creating snow-days and snow-fights. One day he is chosen to become another Guardian for the children (next to Santa Claus, the Easter bunny, the tooth-fairy and the sand man). Together they have to fight Pitch (the boogeyman) who is trying to turn all dreams into nightmares, while Jack is trying to figure out who he is and where he came from. 

Before he turned into Frost, he was merely Jack. The eldest son of his little family. He was the joy of his house and loved by all. Until one day he goes ice-skating with his little sister and she finds herself on some weak ice. She's scared and Jack helps her by turning it into a game. In the end he saves her but falls into the ice himself, which is when the moon turns him into Jack Frost. He wakes up after that and forgets all about his life before becoming Frost. He lives a lonely live because he's unseen. He thinks no one believes in him. Luckily he finds out that he had a loving family and a little sister who believed in him in the end.

You see, other than the element of ice and cold, the two tales are nothing alike and I'm not really sure on which tale the film is based but I like both versions for different reasons. I may want to dig a little deeper into Jack Frost some time. I like his character, there has to be more. The first tale appears to be an adaptation of Cinderella of some sort. The ugly sisters do not get the happy ending, but the hard working kind sister does. It's somewhat cruel but in the end it does teach us something. As for the film, it's sweet and cute and Jack's kinda dreamy, so there's that. I'm not sure which tale I will look at next week because, honestly, I'm kinda running out of tales. Which ones would you like to read about? Let me know :)

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