I have always loved the Baba Yaga stories, and truth be told, I have always rather liked the old witch herself. She isn’t always bad – like Ruebezahl, she is fickle – and in any case, I’ve always had a soft spot for wicked women. I also love the stories for all their rich imagination – the combs that turn into forests, the need for the witch to go and get her metal teeth, that hut made of bones standing on chicken legs.
Imagine…that hut on chicken legs… what it must have been like to come through the forest and see it… Baba Yaga would have needed to entice you in… I see a little rickety table on a balcony, set with two wine glasses (handles made of bones, of course) and some choice nibbles, fresh from her cauldron… bats legs, frogs eyes,venom jelly… delicacies… a little skull toothpick with a dragon’s claw, to pick out those stringy bits…..
and you wouldn’t have any choice but to accept the invitation, you know. To turn your back on any witch would be bad manners enough. To turn down Baba Yaga’s invitation to dine would be impossible. She didn’t build her house on the shores of a vast lake in the midst of impenetrable forest for nothing. Easy enough to find yourself at the hut… something magnetic, maybe, to draw you on…but once there, everything changes. Only the foolhardy would attempt escape without at least a mirror and a comb, a magic doll and a healthy belief in their own luck.
Better to sit. And drink the wine. And then what? Well, I guess you just have to hope that you don’t end up somewhere like this:
because then, you really would be in trouble.