Mythological character Baba-Yagá
There Russian folk tale that highlights the story of an evil witch called Baba Yagá.
It is a traditional Slavic tale whose origin is lost in the dawn of time and which reveals the richness of the Russian ancestral culture.
What is the story of the witch Baba Yagá about?
History of Baba Yagá
The story describes the adventures that a peasant girl lives because of a cruel stepmother who sends her to the witch Baba Yagá so that she can eat it, but fortunately she gets friends who help her overcome the obstacles.
The account of Baba Yagá begins this way:
He lived in former times a merchant with his wife. The man became widowed and remarried, but from his first marriage a girl had remained. The stepmother, envious of the girl, mistreated her and was always thinking about how to get rid of her.
One day when the father had to take a trip, the stepmother told the girl:
-Go to my sister's house and ask her for a thread and needle to make you a shirt.
But the stepmother's sister was the witch Baba Yagá leg-of-bone ...
Then a series of events are happening in which a rich imagination comes to appreciate and values such as perseverance and bravery are enhanced, because the girl with the help of various resources and following some advice is overcoming a set of obstacles.
When was the story of the witch Baba Yagá written?
There is no certainty about the creation date of this Russian folk tale, it is only known that it was in the middle of 1800 when Aleksandr Nikolayevich Afanasiev, the greatest Russian folklorist, compiled it together with other tales of the cultural heritage.
Aleksandr Afanasiev between 1855 and 1863 compiled eight volumes where 680 included traditional Russian stories. Among the best-known stories, besides Baba Yagá, are the Soldier and Death, the legend of Marya Morevna, Basilisa the beautiful ...
It really was an arduous job that was done by Afanasiev because diverse circumstances combined to almost make disappear these rich oral traditions prior to Czarist Russia.
Specifically, all these fabulous accounts of Old Russia were compiled by Afanasiev through a gigantic tour of many of its provinces, and for which he had to overcome many obstacles.
What obstacles did Aleksandr Afanasiev face in compiling the tales of Old Russia?
Precisely one of the obstacles that had to be overcome to rescue this cultural legacy was the fact that these Slavic tales were of oral tradition only, that is, they had never been written, and had passed from generation to generation through speech.
Another factor that put at risk of missing some of the oral narrations of the Russian people were the reforms carried out by Tsar Peter the Great.
Specifically, the Tsar's progressive expectations led to the abandonment of traditional Russia and the dangerous adoption of a European way of life. In fact, there was a time when the Russian nobility spoke preferably French and only the lower middle classes spoke Russian.
What features stand out from these oral stories?
One of the most interesting features that can be noticed in stories such as The witch Baba Yagá are those folkloric expressions that over the years have fallen into disuse, but that speak very well of respect for values such as family love.
For example, many stories include words linked to traditional love of the family, for example, Mátushka, which means little mother or mommy in Russian, as well as Bátiushka, which is the equivalent of a little father.
Reference is also made to words that identify the rural way of life in Russia, as when they mention Isba or isbá to refer to the typical Russian peasant house built with logs.
How does the Russian folk tale Baba Yagá end?
As something typical of the happy ending stories that characterize the tales of witches, fairies and princesses, the story of Baba Yagá culminates with the escape of the peasant girl and the discovery of the madrasta's evil:
Specifically, the story ends in the following way:
-Where have you been? The father asked him.
- Ay, batiushka! -I answer-. The mátushka sent me to her sister's house to ask her for a thread and needle to make me a shirt. But the aunt is the very witch Baba Yagá, who wanted to eat me
-How could you escape her, little daughter?
The girl told him everything as it had happened, and when the father learned of his wife's wickedness, he threw her out of his house.
The father and daughter lived many happy and happy years, without missing anything. I was there, I ate, I drank, the mead ran down my mustache, but I did not enter anything in the gañote.
In short, it is a traditional Russian story that has passed down from generation to generation and shows how popular culture in Old Russia has its great charms.