Unfortunate Friday 13th: The Story of Evil Baba Yaga

Friday 13th

Image: Baba Yaga © Rima Staines www.rimastaines.com

Unfortunate Friday 13th: The Story of Evil Baba Yaga

Friday 13th is traditionally an unfortunate day in Russia, and so it is the appropriate day to write about a dreadful and evil figure of Russian folklore, Baba Yaga (Баба-Яга).

Who is Baba Yaga?

Baba Yaga is a magic woman with an ugly, deformed and ferocious look. Some special objects characterize this fierce witch of Russian fairy tales: she flies in a mortar wielding a pestle, and lives in the forest in a moving hut with chicken legs. She can show her malice in many ways: she can ambiguously help or just hinder those who come across her.

Baba Yaga is frequently called with the epithet “bony leg”. Her special powers include the ability to stretch her body to great lengths. For instance, when she is inside of her hut, she can reach from one corner to the other. She has also the power to smell the so-called “Russian scent” of her visitors by sticking her repulsive nose into the ceiling of her house.

In some tales, like the ones by Alexander Afanasyev (Александр Афанасьев), the Baba Yagas appear as a trio of sisters, all sharing the same name. Baba Yaga has continued to be popular in modern culture, and now she has become the subject of many fantasy novels and comics.

Beware when you go out this Friday 13 night. We warmly recommend you to stay away from huts with chicken legs.

This post was brought to you by Zoran, currently studying Russian at Liden and Denz

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