Today we will discuss Baba Yaga's house and servants. While Baba herself is powerful and feared she also has servants that are just as terrifying for petitioners to deal with. For the most part, Baba Yaga seems to want to keep it that way too. Even asking about her servants can get you killed.
No matter what version of Baba Yaga you read her house is almost always the same. She lives in a
cottage in the woods surrounded by a fence made of the bones of her victims. Her house has the legs of a chicken so it can get up and move at Baba's will to make it harder to find. Only the small details of the house change some say there are no doors or windows or that a door appears with a magic phrase. While others say the windows serve as eyes giving the house a feel of self awareness.
Traditionally Baba Yaga has six servants: three horsemen and three sets of disembodied hands.
The white Horseman is said to represents the day or more specifically the dawn or morning. The red rider represents the sun or mid day. The black rider represents the night. In Vasilisa the beautiful Baba Yaga tells Vasilisa the riders cannot harm her. Baba however gets angrier the more questions she is asked about her servants. Vasilisa doesn't push her luck and stops asking questions after the black horseman.
Not much is said about Baba Yaga's hands. Most references mention the disembodied helpers in passing. Baba calls them her soul friends and they do her bidding whatever it may be. It is implied that Baba's whims can be rather cruel and dark in nature however one story I listened to had a soul friend stirring a cooking pot. The soul friends were a taboo subject that not even Vasilisa the beautiful dared ask about. It's one of those things we'll never truly know about.
Join me on July 26 to see how Baba Yaga is making a reappearance in popular culture and on August 9 I will wrap up the series with a special post on Marzanna the goddess of witches.
If you liked this post you'll love Erika Szabo's posts on Mythology found here.
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