A kind deed is repaid with magic, but there is not much magic here in the telling or pictures. Alexis, on his way to his wedding, detours to carry an old woman's bundle of sticks--and what with one volunteered favor and another, it is deep winter by the time he resumes his trek. (In a different sort of story, one might doubt his eagerness to be wed.) Now the going is rough, but a golden ring the old woman gives Alexis in parting sees him to his destination: It turns a heap of snow to a fish that carries him across a black river, turns threatening bears into a gentle dancer and drummer, turns a mountain into a herd of milk-giving goats, and--in the only felicitous turn-of-the-page transformation--turns a haystack into the hump of a camel which carries him on. Except for that one jot of ingenuity, the changes are arbitrary; and Heller's posed, formal pictures, done with dots to suit the snowy setting, are as barren and lifeless as the landscape. At his bride's village Alexis finds the wedding party ""frozen in the cold"" from their long wait, and when the ring thaws the snow figures we see the lot dancing stiffly like a collection of Russian dolls. A stagey, artificial production that isn't even very showy.