Thursday, June 28, 2018

Baba Yaga Folk Lore Part 2

Rebecca Tran

In case you missed the first post you can read it here.
Baba Yaga is a witch from slavic and Russian folklore. There are many different variations of her folk lore. All of the picture her as an old crone whether there is one or three of them. She rides around in a flying mortar that is steered by a large pestle that doubles as a weapon.

It is never quite certain whether or not Baba Yaga is going to help or harm. Usually the outcome of the tale depends on the character of the petitioner. If the person seeking out Baba Yaga is of pure spirit, has good intentions, or has good manners the story generally has a good outcome. However, if the opposite traits are true Baba Yaga is dangerous even deadly at times. 

Stories that portray Baba as the villian show her kidnapping children and threatening to eat them. Just seeking her aid in these stories can be a dangerous act. When Baba chooses to help though she may give advice, or bestow magical gifts. Whatever she feels the petitioner needs to succeed in their quest. 

One famous story is about a beautiful maiden named Vasilisa. There are several versions of the story but most of them involve Vasilisa's mother giving her a magic doll before she dies. When her father goes away on business the evil jealous step mother sends Vasilisa to Baba Yaga's hut to get fire to re-light theirs. 

Baba Yaga agrees to give her the flame but only if Vasilisa completes a series of tasks for her. The only way the beautiful knows how to complete the impossible tasks is with the aid of her magical doll. Eventually Vasilisa obtains the flame by various means depending on the version and returns home.

Most stories say that upon returning home the flame burns down her home killing her step mother and sisters. Vasilisa usually gets her happy ending though. She goes to town and lives with a woman who teaches her to weave. A piece of cloth she weaves eventually impresses an important man at the palace and they marry. Eventually her father returns and they all live together.

Its uncertain here what role Baba Yaga truly plays in Vasilisa's story. Call her a villain if you want. Without Baba Yaga Vasilisa would still live with her step mother and sisters in the woods. 

Vasilisa the Beautiful was the inspiration for the name of my main character in my new novelette
Magic Always has a Price

Vasalisa Fenenko Danilovna is a normal 21 year old college studnet. So far life is better than she planned. Vasalisa has parent's who love her, staight A's and she's dating the school's star soccer player.There's just one little problem. Vasalisa's a witch who foretold the death of someone she loves.

This does not have a HEA


I quit paying attention to Ashley mid-sentence. I didn’t mean to be rude. I simply couldn’t help it. I felt the same magnetic pull that I had on Friday night. It meant one thing. He was here. Brad Ford walked past my table. He wore an SLU shirt today and jeans that made his ass beg to be touched. He glanced over his shoulder as he passed. I felt an almost electric shock when our eyes met.
I quit breathing once more. I saw things so clearly if only for a moment. Brad held me close kissing my neck. He smiled at me and said he loved me. We held hands as we walked through campus. We kissed in the dark as his hands wandered over bare flesh.
“What are you thinking about? Your face is beet red.” Ashley asked. She saw my eyes flick toward Brad. “Oh, I get it. You have a crush.”
I sat back in my chair flustered. “It’s not like that.” How could I explain to my best friend that I thought I just had a premonition? I barely believed it myself.
Ashley tucked her hair behind her ear and leaned forward, “So prove it.  Go talk to him.” She dared.
“Like this?” I was mortified. I was wearing a T-shirt leftover from my marching band days in high school. My jeans were had paint stains on them from painting the kitchen over the summer. I never bothered with makeup, and my hair was falling out of its braid. There was no way I was going to talk to Brad Ford looking like a band geek reject.
Ashley literally waved it off. “It would take more than that to scare a guy off. Don’t you own a mirror? You have this whole ‘I’m eastern European look at me’ thing going on.” She sighed. “You have since you got boobs and grew four inches the summer before freshman year of high school.”
“It was only an inch,” I said defensively.
“Just go,” She reached across the table and pushed me on the shoulder towards the makeshift aisle between tables.
I got to my feet. Immediately I saw Brad. Although, he was hard to miss, or at least I thought so. He sat with his back to us with two other guys. I cursed. This was going to be so embarrassing when he turned me down. I gave myself a pep talk as I walked to his table. He was a person like any other. Brad looked up from the guy he was talking to when I stopped at his table.
“Uh, um, hi,” I said lamely. I shouldn’t be nervous. If I truly believed I had a premonition it meant we were at least going to date. So the question was: did I believe it? “Bye,” No, it was a daydream, a stupid fantasy. I marched back to my seat and sat down. I put my head down trying to hide.
Ashley shook her head then accused me of being a chicken. I agreed with her.  Brad was gorgeous he didn’t want me, and I didn’t want a boyfriend. She teased me some more, and it irritated me. I finished my lunch quickly ready to go. Ashley apologized as I grabbed my tray and I settled down. Still, I had class in 20 minutes. I was just getting up when someone stopped next to our table. I knew who it would be before I looked up. Brad Ford.
“You didn’t give me a chance to say hello earlier. I’m Brad Ford” He smiled, and I melted.
“I know,” I groaned inwardly. Why was I so stupid around him?
He laughed a little and leaned down towards me. “I think this is the part where you’re supposed to tell me your name.”
My cheeks flared red, “Lisa Danilovna,”
“So, Lisa Danilovna can I buy you coffee tomorrow?” He asked.

“Here’s her number,” Ashley tore out a piece of paper and handed it to him. “Send her a text after her one o’clock class.” I smiled dumbly at Brad as I left. “You have to talk tomorrow.” Ashley hissed in my ear.

Find out more about my books on my page. Click the link to claim a free copy of Magic Always has a Price until Monday 7/2

If you enjoyed this post on Baba Yaga Folk Lore Read Erika Szabo's posts on mythology here.