Welcome to the Myths and Lore Gazette! As many of you have noticed there is a multitude of cultures and ideas on this site. This Gazette is dedicated to all whom would like to share the ancient wisdom passed down through legends and stories that they find particularly entrancing.
I will try to add as many varied stories as I can and if anyone would like to contribute or make a correction, I am happy of that. I do, however, ask that you state your sources so that the information may be verified.
This story comes from Russian folklore and is very popular amongst others of its kind. I will attempt to center it around a fairly well known, but misunderstood figure, Baba Yaga. I am very familiar with the story and will be retelling it with my own eyes, not the traditional version. Youve been warned. :)
In a faraway land there lived a girl by the name of Vasilisa. When she was but a child, her mother died and left in Vasilisas care a doll that would protect her in times of need and her blessing. Long days and nights passed, and her father decided to remarry so that someone would be able to take care of Vasilisa while he was away.
So he found a wife, the typical one with two unmannered daughters. The stepmother wasnt particularly fond of Vasilisa. The dislike turned into detestation as the girl grew and grew, turning into a striking young woman. They hoped to get rid of her by sending on perilous tasks, each time with the hope they wont see her again, but with the help of Vasilisas doll, each time disappointed.
One freezing, dark night while Vasilisas father was away, the lights in their house blew out and the stepmother asked for volunteers to go to Baba Yagas house and ask her for a light. Since the woman she was speaking of was rumored to have been an old witch that ate people, the two girls hurriedly passed on the option. So it was once again up to Vasilisa. The stepmother hurled her out the door and told her not to dare come back without the light.
On the girl went, through the menacing, obscure forest in search of Baba Yagas dwelling. As she stumbled on, three horsemen passed her. One was dressed all in white, rode a white horse, and as he passed by her the first light began to appear in the sky. The next wore red garments and as his horse galloped on, the sun began to rise high up in the sky. Yet the third as you might have guessed, wore all black and he brought forth the gentle veil of night over the forest.
Once she reached Baba Yagas home, the girl shook to her inner core at the appearance. The dwelling was surrounded by a fence made of human bones and on top of the fence, rested the skulls of the poor fellows who disobeyed the womans demands. They looked gloomily upon Vasilisa as she touched the handle made of teeth. At that moment, an old woman came out of the house and sniffed the air before yelling out: Whos there? I smell a human nearby!
Vasilisa revealed herself and stated that her stepmother sent her for a light. Baba Yaga stopped her there: I know the woman that you speak of. Come and work with me for a while, if you do a good job I will hand you what you seek.. If you dont I will cook you and eat you.
So the girl agreed and the next day she was given a list of things to do before Baba Yaga came home. To do all of them in one day seemed impossible to Vasilisa and when time came to complete the tasks she took her doll out and fed her some food. The doll simply told the girl to cook supper and wait patiently for the home keeper to return. Later on, the gates clanked and opened; Baba Yaga hovered back in her mortar, ready to devour the girl. Surprised she was, when everything had been completed splendidly. The same thing continued for three days. On the third day, the elder woman gnashed her teeth together and said:
You may ask me anything you wish. Just remember that not every question leads to a good answer.
Vasilisa took a moment to think and asked Who are the three horsemen that ride through these woods?
They are my faithful servants, Bright Day, Red Sun, and my Black Midnight. Is that all you have to ask me?
Vasilisa nodded obediently.
It is good you only asked about things you saw on the outside of this dwelling. If you had done otherwise I would have had you for dinner. Baba Yaga then paused and continued. Now I have a question for you. How did you manage to get the chores done so fast?
With a Mothers blessing. The girl responded.
The old woman was filled of rage. I knew it! Get out! No blessings in my house. Out! And with that she took one of the skulls on her fence and placed it on top of a stick, handing it to Vasilisa. Heres your light. She said.
With that, the girl went on home. When she passed through the doorstep, the skulls eyes began to glow with a deadly, flaming shade. The three other women in the room were incinerated and soon there was nothing left of them but memories and ashes. Vasilisa however, was left unharmed.
The girl then went on to take a job from an old woman. She was very capable of spinning silk threads and because of that, her and the Tsar of the land soon met, sparks flew and *Poof* ; there comes a happy ending.
Now the really significant part. While some argue that she was made up to scare people into keeping out of the woods, others like me actually see her as a very wise woman with multiple facets. She can be likened to the Crone of the Three Fates/Triple Goddess. A characters fate is decided when they come upon her hut, they may either live or die at that point.
-Sources and Other stories: