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- 11 -


The White Horseman of Bright Dawn by Ivan Bilibin

When she had devoured everything she said:

'Well, what are you standing there for as if you were dumb? Have you nothing to say to me?'

'I did not dare to speak. But with your permission, I would like to ask you some questions.'

'Well, just remember that not every question leads to good.
If you know too much, you'll become old too soon.
So, now ask!'

'I would like to ask you ,' said Vasilisa, 'about the horsemen. Who was the white horseman who rode past me in the forest?'

That was dawn, my bright dawn,' answered Baba Yaga, beginning to grind her teeth.

'And who was the red horseman?'

'My servant, my red sun,' answered Baba-Yaga, grinding her teeth a little more this time.

'Who was the black horseman?'

'My servant, my black, dark night,' answered the old witch fiercely.

'Any other questions?' she shrieked suddenly, her eyes flashing wildly. 'Speak!'

Vasilisa thought of the three pairs of hands and was about to ask about them, but quickly stopped herself on seeing the frenzied look in the witch's eye.

'You were about to ask?' Baba Yaga growled, grinding her teeth horribly now, so that sparks flew from her mouth.

But Vasilisa said nothing.

'Ask me another question!' shrieked the old witch.

Vasilisa answered: 'Three questions are enough for me.
I do not want to become old too soon.
As you said yourself: not every question leads to good.'

'It is just as well,' snarled Baba-Yaga menacingly, 'that you only asked about something that you saw outside of the fence, for those who ask questions about what they see inside it do not live to tell the tale.

And now I have a question for you. How is it that you have been able to finish all the work I gave you so quickly? Answer me!'

Vasilisa, by now terrified at the way the old witch was looking at her, somehow managed to stutter out:

'My mother's blessing helped me!'

Baba Yaga sprang at her foaming with rage.

'Get out!' she howled at her, pushing her out of the hut.

'I want no blessed daughters near me! Your mother's blessing hurts my very bones! Get out of here!'

to page 12
(nearly there!)