Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday's Mythological Creature of the Day -- Baba Yaga

In Slavic mythology, Baba Yaga is a witch and a hag that lives in a forest and devours people. In most Russian folktales, she resides in a log cabin that stands on chicken legs (!). The hut is surrounded by a palisade made out of human bones with a skull on each pole. The keyhole to her front door is a mouth filled with sharp teeth.

She is old, one of her legs can be an artificial one, she is blind (or losing her eyesight) and has huge breasts. (I feel sorry for her!)

She flies through the air in a mortar, using the pestle as a rudder and sweeping away the tracks behind her with a broom made of silver birch. She kidnaps kids and tries to fry them for dinner in her large clay oven.

Baba Yaga is usually portrayed as an antagonist, i.e. when an unfortunate hero drops by and Baba Yaga finds him in her cabin, snooping around, she cuts out skin from his back to make herself a belt (sounds like she had a quirky sense of fashion). Sometimes she is portrayed as a Mother of all Snakes (who are typically the main foes of the hero). But in some tales she supplies the hero (sometimes unwillingly) with something necessary for the further quest.

She is one of the most popular characters in Russian fairy-tales. She has also made an appearance in Shrek Forever After.

If you want to read more here is a link to a Wikipedia article: And here is my favorite song by a band of Baba Yagas in a famous Russian cartoon “A Flying Ship”.


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