Baba Yaga – The Evil Russian Witch

Baba Yaga – The Evil Russian Witch
29 December 2015

Probably most of you have heard about Baba Yaga, notorious evil witch in Russian tales, from your Russian lessons. As all of you already know, a tale is part of every culture, created many years ago from imaginary events or true experiences from someone and some of them have a happy ending and some do not.

A fact that caught my attention while I was studying Russian lexicon was the story of a witch named Baba Yaga told by peasants who claim seeing her in the woods with her daughter. There are versions that say she is single, others say apparently had children and describe her as the devil’s grandmother.

Baba Yaga lived in the forest

She lives on the edge of the forest in a wooden hut, but it’s like no other that you have ever seen, for it stands on a pair of giant chicken legs. It usually has no windows, sometimes not even doors. The house does not reveal the door until it is told a magical phrase: Turn your back to the forest, your front to me. The fence surrounding Baba Yaga’s palisade is made of human bones with skulls on top, often with one pole lacking its skull, leaving space for another victim.

Her appearance is described as an ugly old and unclean woman, often represented as little, ugly, with a huge, distorted nose, long teeth and only one leg. According with some tails, she knows a recipe of a special potion that helps her when needed to turn young; she uses her skill to misguide and deceit strangers.

It has been rumored that she likes to eat children, however she would not strain at a grown up stranger in her forest. In most Slavic folk tales, she is portrayed as an antagonist. There are stories in which she kidnaps children and threatens to eat them.

There are also stories where she provides misleading information to strangers who were unlucky to lose their way in the deep forest she lives. However, some characters in other mythological folk stories have been known to seek her out for her wisdom, and she has been known on occasion to offer guidance to lost souls, help people with their quests, although this is seen as rare.

Her character was used to create films and cartoons with fantasy elements in the Soviet Union.


This blog was brought to you by Eliant, currently studying Russian at Liden and Denz


3 responses to “Baba Yaga – The Evil Russian Witch”

  1. emelyse says:

    Baba Yaga scares children in most Slavic countries, not only Russia. I would like you to have that in mind. It’s Slavic mythology not only Russian.

  2. jarda says:

    At czech its rather a fairy tale character then something to scare children

  3. ......... says:

    But it originated in Russia…

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