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Baba Yaga

by Micha F. Lindemans
In a number of East European myths, a Baba Yaga (there are more than one) is a cannibalistic witch who lives in a hut on the edge of the forest. The hut stands on chicken legs and will only lower itself after Baba Yaga said a certain rhyme. A picket fence surrounds the hut and she places the skulls of her victims on it. For transportation Baba Yaga uses a giant mortar which she drives at high speed across the forest floor by steering the pestle with her right hand and sweeping away all traces of her passage with a broom in her left hand. A host of spirits often follows her.

Baba Yaga is often represented as a little, ugly, old woman with a huge and distorted nose and long teeth. She is also called Jezi-Baba or Baba Yaga Kostianaya Noga ("bone-legs"), referring to the fact that she is rather skinny. She is regarded as the devil's own grandmother.

In old Hungarian folklore, Baba ("old woman") was originally a good fairy but was later degraded to a witch. A Baba Yaga is a hard bargainer, and will threaten to eat those who do not fulfil their part of an agreemen


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  • Also known as:
    Baba Jaga

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