White Horseman of Bright Dawn
by Ivan Bilibin
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
'Well, just remember that not every
question leads to good.
you know too much, you'll become old
'I would like to ask you ,' said Vasilisa,
'about the horsemen. Who was the white
horseman who rode past me in the forest?'
was dawn, my bright dawn,' answered
Baba Yaga, beginning to grind her teeth.
who was the red horseman?'
'My servant, my red sun,' answered Baba-Yaga,
grinding her teeth a little more this
'Who was the black horseman?'
'My servant, my black, dark night,'
answered the old witch fiercely.
other questions?' she shrieked suddenly,
her eyes flashing wildly. 'Speak!'
Vasilisa thought of the three pairs
of hands and was about to ask about
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.
answered: 'Three questions are enough
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?
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
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!'