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The Baba Yaga Story - Folklore for Children

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A Russian Folklore for Kids - Baba Yaga

Do you enjoy reading stories about supernatural beings and witches? Have you heard of Baba Yaga, the witch? If not, then read this Baba Yaga story to know what happens when Vasilisa visits the hut of Baba Yaga who eats children. Vasilisa’s stepmother thought that she would finally get rid of Vasilisa when she sent her to Baba Yaga’s hut on a task. Do you think Vasilisa will survive or the stepmother will be punished? Read ahead to find out!


Long Ago…

A little girl named Vasilisa lived with her parents. Vasilisa was a very sweet and kind girl. Her mother fell sick and did not survive the disease. Poor little Vasilisa missed her mother a lot. Vasilisa’s mother had given her a rag doll before she died. She had asked her to feed the doll every day and the doll would help Vasilisa in need. Sometime later, Vasilisa’s father married another woman who had two daughters. Vasilisa’s stepmother and stepsisters were very cruel and unwelcoming towards her. They did not like her and wanted to get rid of her. 


Vasilisa Feeding Her Doll


Vasilisa Feeding Her Doll


One day, when Vasilisa’s father left on a business trip; her stepmother came up with a plan. She doused all the lights at home and pretended that the wind had blown them out. She ordered Vasilisa to visit Baba Yaga’s hut and bring some light from her. Vasilisa held her doll close and left her home.


On the way, she heard the galloping hooves of three horses one after another in intervals of a few minutes. Each of the horses carried a rider on it. The first one was a dazzling white horseman, the second a blazing red horseman and the third a black rider, as black as the night. 


Vasilisa wondered who they were as she slowly approached Baba Yaga’s hut. She was terrified at the very look of the hut. She held her doll tightly and knocked at the witch’s door. The door sprung open and Baba Yaga came flying out on her broom. She said, “Who are you? What makes you disturb me?” Vasilisa froze with fear as she laid her eye on the witch.


Her trembling lips uttered, “I’m Vasilisa! My stepmother has sent me here to bring some light. There is none at our home.” Baba Yaga cackled and said, “Very well, you shall have what you desire but before that, you have to do a few tasks. If you fail to complete them, I will eat you.” Vasilisa agreed to it because she knew she couldn’t return without the light.


Baba Yaga Flying in Her Motor


Baba Yaga Flying in Her Motor


The next morning, Baba Yaga called Vasilisa. “Listen, girl! I’m leaving now and will return at sunset. You have to clean my house and yard. Prepare supper for me and separate those white peas from the black ones before I return. If you don’t finish your task before my return, I’ll have you for dinner.” Baba Yaga flew away on a motor and used the pestle as a rudder to fly.


Vasilisa fed her doll and asked her for help. Suddenly she heard a noise and ran towards the door. It was the white horseman she had seen on her way to Baba Yaga’s place. When she returned, she was surprised to see that all her job was completed. Vasilisa thanked her doll and went to rest.


When Baba Yaga returned, she was impressed to see that Vasilisa had completed all the assigned work. She had supper and called Vasilisa again. “I see you have completed today’s task. For tomorrow, you will have to fill my water tank. Use this bucket to collect water from the river.” When Baba Yaga handed her the bucket, Vasilisa realised it had several holes at the bottom. She wondered, “How will I fill the tank with this bucket?”


The next day, she arrived at the river bank holding the bucket and prayed to her doll for help. Just then the red horse rider sped past her from the river. When Vasilisa returned to Baba Yaga’s hut, she was surprised to see that the tank was full. 


The white, Red and Black Horsemen


 The white, Red and Black Horsemen


Baba Yaga was astonished to see that Vasilisa had once again completed her task. This time she was determined to assign her an even more difficult task. She asked her to count the stars in the sky and get back to her in the morning. If she gave her the wrong number, Baba Yaga would eat her in her breakfast soup. Vasilisa fed her doll and laid her on her bed. She tried counting the stars but confused the numbers repeatedly. Tired and sleepy, Vasilisa started sobbing and dozed off.


Suddenly, the black horseman approached her window and whispered the number in her ears. When she woke up in the morning, Baba Yaga asked her about her answer. Surprisingly, she was correct this time as well. Baba Yaga said, “There is no way you could have completed all three tasks successfully without the help of Morning, Day and Night, the three horsemen in white, red and black. You are a good girl Vasilisa. Here, take the lantern and go home. All your sorrows will end.” 


Vasilisa was happy that she was finally free to go home and thanked her doll and the three horsemen in a prayer. When she returned home with the light, she saw that her house was indeed in darkness. As soon she handed the lantern to her stepmother, she turned to dust along with her daughters. Thereafter, Vasilisa and her father lived happily.


Conclusion

So this was the Russian folklore about the witch Baba Yaga. Vasilisa had always been a good girl and so her doll, Morning, Day and Night helped her. In the end, Baba Yaga too recognised her goodness and set her free with the light. The Baba Yaga story also shows us that the wrong people are always punished in the end just like Vasilisa’s stepmother and stepsisters.

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FAQs on The Baba Yaga Story - Folklore for Children

1. What were the three tasks assigned to Vasilisa by Baba Yaga?

On the first day, Baba Yaga ordered Vasilisa to clean her house and yard, cook food and separate the white peas from the black ones. For the second day, she had to fill up Baba Yaga’s tank, and the third task required her to count the number of stars in the sky.

2. Who were the three horsemen and how did they help Vasilisa?

The white horseman was Morning, the red rider was Day, and the black horseman was Night. Each of them helped Vasilisa accomplish the tasks that Baba Yaga gave her. Morning finished Vasilisa’s first day’s tasks. Day filled Baba Yaga’s water tank, and Night told Vasilisa the accurate number of stars in the sky.