Yaga by Ivan Bilibin
suddenly clapping her boney hands, she
'Hey! My faithful servants - my bosom
friends! Come and grind my wheat!'
Immediately three pair of hands appeared,
seized the wheat and took it away.
Baba Yaga sat down to supper, and Vasilisa
put enough meat for a dozen men in front
of her, with a barrel of mead, and red
swallowed the meat, bones and all, without
even chewing it this time, then stretched
herself out on the stove and said:
'Tomorrow do the same as today, and
as well as that, take the poppy seeds
from my stores and clean them one by
one. Someone spiteful has mixed earth
in with them and I want them cleaned.'
Then she turned her long nose to the
ceiling and began to snore loudly. Vasilisa
went into the corner, took the little
doll from her pocket, gave it some food
that was left and asked its advice.
The doll said: 'Don't worry, Vasilisa!
Say your prayers and go to sleep.' Her
fears once again slipped away from her.
She said her prayers and went to sleep.
Next morning, she awoke up to an ear-splitting
whistle outside. She ran to the door
just in time to catch a glimpse of a
pair of extremely boney legs clambering
into the huge iron mortar.
usual noises echoed throughout the forest
after the gates of bone had crashed
shut behind the old witch.
She drove away through the forest with
the host of spirits adding their terrifying
voices to the din as they tore along
few moments later it, the forest was
as still again as if she had never been
When Vasilisa looked around the hut
she found that once again, the little
doll had done everything except the
cooking. There was not a trace of earth
left in the bowl of poppy-seeds. She
rested until late in the afternoon,
when she cooked the supper and shared
some with the little doll.
The black horseman galloped up to the
gates in the twilight, leaped up over
them like a shadow and disappeared.
Darkness came down once more over the
did not remain dark for long. An instant
later, the eye-sockets began to glimmer
in their skulls, then they glowed brighter
and brighter until the clearing gradually
became as bright as day.
Suddenly, the ground shook, the trees
began to creak and groan as if they
were breaking, and Baba-Yaga came crashing
through the undergrowth in her iron
mortar, urging it along with her pestle
and sweeping away her traces with the
She could not find any reason to complain
about the work and was again disappointed
that she could not eat Vasilisa.
she clapped her hands and screamed:
'Hey! my trusty servants! My soul friends!
Press the oil from my poppy-seeds!'
instantly the three pair of hands appeared,
seized the bowl of poppy-seeds and took
She sat down to supper and Vasilisa
brought all she had cooked, enough meat
for a dozen men, with beer, mead and
red wine to drink, and then stood waiting
until Baba Yaga was finished.
(twelve pages in all)