In a far off Tzardom, there lived a little girl who was so lovely that she was known as Vasilisa the beautiful.
When Vasilisa was eight years old her mother became ill and no doctor could cure her. Just before she died, she called Vasilisa to her bedside and told her:
‘My dearest Vasilisa, do not weep for me, but listen carefully to my words. I am leaving you this little wooden doll, which my own mother left me; you must never show it to anyone. Always carry it with you wherever you go. It will help you whenever you are in trouble and comfort you when you have no one to turn to. When you need help, go somewhere quiet and give it something to eat and it will tell you what to do.’
Blinking back her tears, Vasilisa took the little wooden doll, received her mother’s blessing and kissed her for the last time.