Story: The Mitten
This Ukranian folktale is one of my favorite winter stories for kindergarten. I based my retelling off of Jan Brett's gorgeous version. Children love this one! They seem to hold their breath as the mitten soars through the air, and they laugh at the end.
Once upon a time there was a boy named Nikki who lived with his grandmother. On cold winter days they would sit by the fire and warm their hands just so. Outside the world was covered with snow, beautiful glittering snow all around on the ground, in the trees, and on the rooftops. The whole world was white with snow. And Nikki told his grandmother, "I would like some mittens as white as the snow." His grandmother laughed and told him that he was sure to lose a mitten if it were the same color as the snow! But Nikki said "Please, Grandmother, please make me mittens as white as the shimmering snow!"
So his grandmother agreed, and she gathered her balls of white yarn and her needles and soon she had made him the mittens. He whooped with joy when they were finished and he quickly dressed in his coat and hat, his warm boots and his soft and beautiful new white mittens and he ran outside to play. It was a crisp clear day and the sun sparkled on the snow and Nikki ran and jumped and made snowballs to throw against the trees. He walked along the top of the stone walls and jumped into the soft snow and then he ran up hills and rolled back down. He started to climb a tree but it was too difficult with his mittens on so he tucked them into a pocket. And what do you suppose? One of those mittens fell down into the snow! Nikki didn't notice and he went right on running and playing and shouting all the wonderful afternoon.
Pretty soon a little mole came tunneling up through the ground near the mitten. She was curious so she burrowed inside the mitten and found it to be cozy and warm. Then a squirrel scampered by and thought that the mitten looked like a nice place to nest so he cozied inside as well. Next a badger trundled along and decided that she could use a rest in that warm mitten. A fox trotted up to the mitten and sniffed it. He decided it must be warm inside so he stuffed himself in, and by now the mitten was becoming quite stretched out! Now a bear lumbered by and though she was big and the mitten was crowded, she did not want to be the only one left out in the cold. So she turned her tail and scootched herself into that mitten! A mouse scurried by and squeaked in surprise to see a white mitten all stretched out with a mole, a squirrel, a badger, a fox and a bear all snuggled together inside! She wanted to try it too so she jumped up on the bear's nose. Those little mouse paws made the bear Ahh....Ahhhh...AAACCHHHooooo!!!! The bear sneezed! And all the animals went tumbling out into the soft snow, and the mitten went flying up into the air!
Nikki had finished playing and was looking everywhere for his mitten when much to his surprise he saw it flying through the air! Nikki caught his mitten with a "Whoop!" and ran back inside to warm up by the fire. He showed his mittens to his grandmother. "See, Grandma, I have both my mittens!" And grandmother laughed and laughed, for one mitten was the size of Nikki's hand, but the other mitten was the size of Nikki!