in front of Baba Yaga's hut by
ran through the yard, and behind her
heard the old witch shouting at the
locks and gates to open up.
When they did not open quickly enough
for her, the witch aimed a kick at one
of the gates. Some of the bones in the
gate smashed and all at once a terrible
howling and screeching went up.
locks opened with a snap, the gates
swung wide, one of them looking a bit
lopsided now, and Vasilisa ran out into
the clearing, afraid the old witch would
change her mind and pounce on her any
Yaga seized one of the burning-eyed
skulls, shoved it on to the end of a
stick and thrust it into her hand saying:
'Here's the fire for your stepmother's
daughters. Take it to them. That's what
they sent you here for, and I hope they
enjoy every bit of it!'
Vasilisa took the glowing skull, which
lit up her way, and raced off with it
into the forest. She kept going all
night long, wanting to get as far away
from the old witch as she could.
Then, to her dismay, the glowing eyes
of the skull began to flicker and went
out. A few moments later she heard the
sound of a horse's hooves behind her
and the white horseman galloped past
her. A streak of white light appeared
in the sky.
Shortly afterwards the red horseman
galloped past and the first rays of
sunlight cast a pink light upon the
topmost branches of the trees.
wandered on all day. The little doll
was silent, as she had no food to give
As she walked on, she was surprised
to find that the eyes in the skull had
begun to gleam and shimmer again. Just
then she heard a thundering of hooves
behind her. As the black horseman galloped
past her, the forest suddenly became
pitch dark again and the eyes of the
skull began to glow brightly once more.
She continued on for some time and with
a sigh of relief, saw that she was at
last coming out of the forest. She made
her back to her stepmother's house.
She was surprised to find the house
in darkness so she brought the skull
inside, thinking there was nobody home.
But her stepmother and stepsisters were
sitting inside in the dark. Ever since
Vasilisa had gone, they had had no light
in the house. Every light they lit would
go out immediately they brought it inside,
so that they had not even been able
When she saw Vasilisa coming, one of
her stepsisters called out 'Oh good,
she's brought a light!'
But seeing the skull she screamed out:
'What's that awful thing?'
it away from me!' yelled the other.
the skull from her, her stepmother only
the eyes of the skull suddenly began
to glare at the stepmother and her daughters
and even the stepmother became frightened
and ran away.
they could not get away from the skull,
for it followed them everywhere, the
baleful eyes boring into them with a
white-hot light until the three of them
were burnt to ashes.
Only Vasilisa was untouched by the heat
from the skull.
The next day Vasilisa dug a hole in
the ground and buried the skull.
Then she left the house and went back
to her own village, where she went to
live in her father's house and await
is said that Vasilisa later married
the Tzar of Russia with the help of
her little doll, but that is another