There was once a widow, called Falcon. She lived with her two daughters, one of the poorest neighborhoods in the town of Naga. The older of the two children, who answered to the name of Chrysanthemum, was in fact his daughter-born first wife had had her late husband.
The widow did not love him; she appeared for her a cruel stepmother. All his preferences were for Rose, her own daughter.
Falcon was wrong, very serious for a mother, because of the consequences it entails, by spoiling one of his children and abusing the other. As much as she testified for Rose an excessive indulgence, yielded the smallest and most ridiculous whims, going over all its faults, so it was harsh and brutal towards Chrysanthemum, denying her to the necessary things, and abusing her for nothing. To Rose, all caresses, all treats, all the delicate attentions; to Chrysanthemum the contrary, all the humiliations, all the privations, all reprimands, and often blows. The first had beautiful silk clothes, she changed and adorned according to his whims; the second was poorly dressed, his clothes were of coarse cloth, and she could add no ornament. It was she who was doing all the work of the house, getting up early, working all day, and going to bed very late, while her sister was a lie, was playing all day and went to bed soon she was sleepy.
Rose, being a spoiled child, had a bad temper, she was proud and wicked. Chrysanthemum, however, was good as an angel and sweet as a lamb. She tried to not envy her sister, accepted without complaint all reprimands for most unjust, who kept raining on her, not ever getting angry and doing without a murmur all the work ordered to do.
It was the middle of December.
The snow was falling in flakes. The campaign was all white and it was very cold.
While Rose was warming, sitting on the mat, hands resting on the banks of brazier, Chrysanthemum was in the kitchen, cleaning the dishes with her small hands frozen.
Yielding to a sudden fancy, Rose calls her mother:
– Mom, she said, I should like to eat strawberries!
– Strawberries, darling? lovingly meets her mother, but you know there’s no more! The season is over. Do you want me to buy you oranges?
– No, Mom, I do not want oranges. These are strawberries I want!
And she starts crying. A sensible mother would have said to him:
– What is all those whims? You’re going to shut up now, or I give you the whip.
But Falcon was not a reasonable mother, used to give in to every whim of her child, so she replied, stroking her hair:
– Come on! my darling, do not cry, I’ll see if there are ways for you to get strawberries.
She calls Chrysanthemum, working in the kitchen. She runs immediately.
– Listen, little lazy, said the snapped stepmother, your sister Rose wants to eat strawberries. Get out into the countryside. It remains perhaps … try to find work and bring back some.
– But, mother, timidly venture to say the girl, it should no longer be any. And then there is cold and the snow …
She had not finished speaking when a hand applied strongly on each of his cheeks:
– Look here to teach you to not murmur and obey when I command you … have you understood, naughty child? Go in the campaign and, anyway, you have to go back with strawberries. Your sister Rose wants. Come on! hurry up…
Chrysanthemum, in her heart, thought his mother was cruel to force him to go, in the month of December and with such snow, to look for strawberries in the countryside. But she could not complain or disobey.
So she took a basket and, very sad, went out of the city. She walked long. The snow was still falling, and it was very cold. Her little feet without shoes suffered much …
She had to walk longtime, but there were no strawberries. As far as the view stretched, she saw in the campaign that the white blanket of snow was covering the ground, and the treeswere crying white tears. Chrysanthemum, tired, thought to go home. But then she foresaw the reception that awaited her if returned empty handed. She knew she would be beaten. Then all sad and dreamy, she sat on the edge of a stone, after she shook, from his sleeve, the snow that covered it; and not knowing what to do, she started to cry.
Chrysanthemum was crying, head in hands … Suddenly she feels knocking lightly on the shoulder. She looks up and sees a very old woman, very old, whose bent body was leaning on a stick.
– Why are you crying, my child? he said with great kindness in his voice. Chrysanthemum tells him the reason for his sorrow and tears.
– Well, do not cry, takes the old woman, come, I will lead you to a place where you will find a large amount of good ripe strawberries. Chrysanthemum, joyfully, gets up, wipes her tears and letting himself taken by the hand, goes where was headed by the good and compassionate old. Thus they arrive at the edge of the wood. Then they stop. The old woman strikes twice his hands against each other. In this call, a man who appears to have about thirty years out of the wood and approaches. Turning to the old Chrysanthemum.
– My child, she said, I must first of all tell you who we are. My name is Fuyunomikoto, I am the goddess of winter. This young man is my son. He is the god of the summer and is called Natsunomikoto. Then, turning to the latter:
– My son, this is a brave child looking for strawberries, do it to find and fill his basket.
The god of the summer then bows deeply to his mother as a sign of humble submission. Then, clasping his hands and looking up to heaven, he said a few mysterious words.
At that moment, a wonder! nature is transformed. The snow disappears; the countryside is covered with green grass, trees loaded with fruit, a gentle heat succeeds the cold just now: the earth took on the appearance it had in June. There is a big amount of beautiful ripe strawberries prevalent among the flowers.
Chrysanthemum picked strawberries and does not take long to fill her basket, because they are abundant. When the basket is full, the girl wants to thank his illustrious benefactors. But she does not see them anymore. And now herbs, flowers and fruits have disappeared in their turn; Snow covers again the ground and the trees; nature has reclaimed its appearance just now.
Chrysanthemum first asks if she has not had a dream. Then, is seeing her basket filled to the brim with beautiful red strawberries, she understands that the sky came to his aid, took pity on his sorrow and tears. And, overflowing with joy, she goes home …
Falcon and Rose were highly surprised to see the beautiful strawberries Chrysanthemum brought. But there was no thanks or reward for the poor girl. She was ordered to return to the kitchen to continue his interrupted work. Meanwhile, the mother and daughter ate all the strawberries that Rose found excellent.
When they had eaten everything, Rose said to his mother:
– Mom, there must still be on the edge of the wood. I want to go, and gather myself.
– It is very cold, darling! You could catch a cold. It is better not to go out today. After dinner, I’ll send your sister to pick up again.
– No, Mom, I want to go there myself, repeated the headstrong girl.
The mother had to give up, she gave up…
Falcon and Rose put their warmest clothes, each take a basket and leave without even prevent Chrysanthemum on their departure. They head to the edge of the wood. They walk long. But there was more strawberries. They wanted to go back but never found their way. Chrysanthemum waited until evening their return. Then, as they did not return:
– They might be gone to the edge of the woods! she thought.
And, trembling, she went out and went to meet them. Much to his surprise and pain to find them both extended side by side in the snow! … Falcon and Rose had lost their way and had died of cold.â
Good children are always rewarded, the wicked mothers and spoiled children are always punished.