Yaga by Ivan Bilibin
Tsarevnas of the Underground Kingdom
he approached the hut, he saw that it
was spinning around very fast, all the
while screeching and creaking as it
spun. The ear-splitting noise, combined
with the spinning of the hut made him
feel quite light-headed. Suddenly, not
quite knowing where the words came from,
he began to chant:
hut, Little hut,
your door to me
let me come in!'
the hut stopped spinning, the noise
gradually became less and with one last
long creak the hut shuddered slowly
to a halt. The chicken legs lowered
themselves until the hut, which was
still vibrating slightly, was at ground
level. The door, which was facing him
now, suddely swung open with a long
how on earth did I manage that!' was
his only thought as he entered the hut.
went inside and saw Baba Yaga lying
stretched out on her ancient brick stove,
her long nose almost touching the ceiling
while she snored (not very melodiously,
I'm afraid). But from one moment to
the next, she pointed her long nose
in his direction and roared out in a
smell a Russian bone! What are you doing
with fright, Ivan glanced around and
realising she meant him, stammered out:
'The tall sorcerer sent me to ask for
the eagle to carry me back to dear Mother
'Russian bone, go out to the garden
and find the woman there guarding the
seven doors. Get the key from her and
open them. When you open the last one
the eagle will begin to beat its wings.
If you are not afraid you may climb
onto its back and fly away. Do not forget
to take plenty of meat for my pet!'
garden? What is she talking about?'
Ivan was thinking to himself as he stepped
outside, for he he knew there hadn't
been a garden in the forest.
his surprise, the lakes had disappeared
and he found himself walking in a well-tended
herb garden which was surrounded by
a wall. Seven solid oak doors were set
into the ancient wall, with a fierce-looking
woman guarding them. Although his heart
sank at the sight of her, he thought
'Well, if I faced Baba Yaga, and nothing
happened to me, surely she can't be
But when he came within a few feet of
her, she suddenly began to wield a large
sword and the wild look in her eye made
his blood run cold. He shouted out:
'Baba Yaga told me to get the key!'
To his relief, the woman immediately
threw down her sword and bade him welcome.
She brought him some food and drink
and provisions for the journey.
carried out Baba Yaga's instructions.
He climbed onto the eagle's back with
as much meat as he could carry and flew
away. After a while, he began to feel
hungry, so he decided to eat a little
of the meat himself. 'After all, he
thought, 'there's more than enough for
both of us!'
they had flown for some time the eagle
turned its beady yellow eye upon him.
With trembling hands, Ivan held out
a piece of meat towards it.
its cruel beak the eagle snatched the
meat from Ivan's hand and swallowed
it down with one gulp. This was repeated
several times during the flight, and
each time Ivan was terrified that the
razor-sharp beak would take off his