"Where did you get them?" asked Holena sulkily.

"They were growing under the bushes in the middle of the forest, on top of the highest mountain."

Holena put the violets in her hair. She let her mother smell their sweet fragrance, but she did not let her sister smell them.

The next day Holena was lolling near the stove, and now she longed for some strawberries. So she called out to her sister and said: "Go, Marusa , and get me some strawberries from the forest."

"Alas! dear sister, where could I find any strawberries? Who ever heard of strawberries growing under the snow?" asked Marusa .

"You wretched little tattderdemalion! How dare you argue when I tell you to do a thing? Go at once and get me the strawberries, or I'll kill you!"

Her stepmother caught hold of Marusa and pushed her out of the door and shut it after her. Marusa went to the forest again, weeping bitterly. The snow was lying deep, and there wasn't a human footprint to be seen anywhere. She wandered about for a long time, tortured by hunger and trembling with cold and wondering where the mountain could be.

At last she saw the same light she had seen the other day. Overjoyed, she stumbled towards it, and came once again to the great fire with the twelve months sitting round it.

"Please, kind sirs, let me warm my hands at the fire. I am dying of the cold."

Great January nodded, and asked her: "Why have you come again, and what are you looking for?"

Blushing, Marusa said, "I am looking for strawberries."

"But it is winter now, and strawberries don't grow in the snow," said January.

"Yes, I know," said Marusa sadly; "but my sister Holena and my stepmother ordered me to bring them some strawberries, and if I don't bring them, I can't go home. Tell me, kind sir, tell me, please, where I can find them."