Russian Fairytale: Baba Yaga and The Wicked Geese

(Russian: Баба Яга и Гуси-Лебеди, Baba Yaga i Gusi-Lebedi)

Once upon a time, there lived a man and his wife. They had a daughter and a little son. One day the mother said to her daughter: "Darling, your father and I are going to work. Take care of your brother, keep an eye on him and don’t leave the house. Be a good girl and we will bring you a present."

After parents left the house, the girl forgot her mother’s instructions, and left her little brother in the garden near the house so she could play with her friends. While the girl was enjoying herself, Baba Yaga’s wicked Geese [servants of Baba Yaga] swooped down and stole her little brother out of the garden. The poor girl returned home only to discover that her brother was gone. She wept bitterly calling for her baby brother.

While she was crying, she saw the wicked Geese in the sky. The girl figured out that they might have been the ones who kidnapped her brother. She suddenly remembered that people always were concerned about Baba Yaga’s Geese frequently kidnapped the little children to bring them to Baba Yaga for her to eat them. She ran after them desperately trying to catch up to them when she saw the Stove. The girl asked it if it had seen the Baba Yaga’s Geese and asked it to show her in what direction they had flown. The Stove answered: "Eat my rye patty and I will show you the direction." The girl replied: "I won’t eat your rye patties. I don’t eat even wheat patties at home." Since the girl was so rude, the Stove did not show her the direction.

The girl kept on running and soon she saw an Apple-Tree and asked it if it had seen in what direction the Geese flew. The Apple-Tree answered: "Eat my wild forest apple and I will show you." The girl responded rudely: "I won’t eat your wild apple. I don’t even eat good apples from my father’s garden." The Apple-Tree didn’t answered her and did show her the direction.

The girl ran and ran, and at last she saw a Milk River with kissel (a kind of sweet starchy jelly) banks. The girl asked: "Milk River, kissel banks, could you tell me in what direction Baba Yaga’s Geese have flown carrying my poor little brother?" The Milk River replied: "Eat my milk kissel and I will show you the direction." "I don’t eat even cream at home," the girl responded.

The girl ran in forests and fields, and in the evening she saw a little hut that stood on chicken legs and turned itself around. Her little brother sat on the bench and played with silver apples. In the hut old Baba Yaga was spinning her yarn. The girl said: "Baba Yaga, let me rest and warm myself." "Take the spindle and spin," Baba Yaga replied.

After Baba Yaga had left the room, the girl saw a little gray mouse. "Give me some grain and I will give you a piece of good advice," said the little mouse. The girl gave it some grain and the mouse continued: "Baba Yaga has gone to stoke a stove, she is going to wash you, and then she is intending to roast you in the stove and eat you. Take your little brother and run, and I will spin instead of you." The girl was very frightened and naturally followed the mouse’s advice. She took her brother and ran away.

Baba Yaga asked if the girl spun yarn and the mouse answered that she did. When Baba Yaga returned and found that the girl and her little brother disappeared, she ordered: "Baba Yaga’s Geese! Fly and catch that sister and her brother."

The girl and her little brother reached the Milk River and noticed that Baba Yaga’s Geese were in pursuit of them. "Dear Milk River, please hide us," the girl entreated. "Eat my kissel." The children ate kissel and the Milk River hid them under its kissel banks. The Baba Yaga’s Geese didn’t find them and the children went on running but soon they noticed the Baba Yaga’s Geese spotted them and were in hot pursuit.

Image from Russian Fairy Tale Book ISBN 978-5-9268-1964-6, 2016. Illustrator Nina Noskovich.

They saw the Apple-Tree and the girl begged: "Dear Apple-Tree, please, hide us!" "Eat my wild forest apples." The children ate the apples and thanked the Apple-Tree. The Apple-Tree covered them with its branches and Baba Yaga’s Geese didn’t notice them.

The girl and her brother continued running and this time, when the Baba Yaga’s Geese saw them again the children nearly got caught. Fortunately, at the right moment, the children saw the Stove and cried: "Stove, please, hide us!" "Eat my rye patty," said the Stove. The children ate the patties and hid themselves inside the Stove. The Baba Yaga’s Geese could not catch the sister and her brother and they flew away. The children thanked the Stove and ran home.

At the exact moment that the children returned home, their parents came home from work. They praised their daughter for taking good care of her brother. They never found out what happened to them, because the girl vowed not to worry her parents with the events that happened that day. She also learned to listen to her parents, not to be naughty and feisty, and to have a respect to others.

Since then, everyone lived happily ever after.


Russian Fairytale Baba Yaga and The Wicked Geese

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