Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Baba Yaga (Grandmas, Babushkas, and Chicken Legs) ...

When I was growing up, in a little patch-town in southwestern Pennsylvania heavily populated by Eastern European immigrants, a Baba Yaga was an ugly, mean old woman, most likely wearing a babushka, who would hit you with her broom if you messed up anything in her yard, got too close to her house, made too much noise, etc. etc. Only when I got older and started researching the fairy-tale tradition did I learn that Baba Yaga was not merely a term of endearment for these lovely women, but a character straight out of Russian/Slavic folklore.

See, Baba Yaga is an aged crone who lives in a little hut in the woods that stands on chicken legs:

As they rode through the forest he looked around and saw a little hut standing on chicken legs. And the peasant said, "Little hut, little hut! Stand with your back to the forest, and your front facing me." And the little hut turned around. 

Here's the thing about Baba Yaga that I like: she can help or hinder, aid you or break you, depending on your virtue and your valor. One girl ends up with riches beyond imagination, another winds up a bunch of bones rattling in a box. You've got to be careful around Baba Yaga. She reminds me so of the mindset of women like my grandmother, who loved her brood dearly, but would call out "Buja's gonna get you" or "You're gonna get kudutz" (which I've been told translate roughly to "God is going to get you" and "You're going to get yours one day") when one of us made her really mad. The woman would make you tomatoes slathered with mayonnaise and then the next minute be chasing you out of her kitchen with her broom.


One more thing I had to share with you today. I came across this picture this morning that I took while we were house-hunting last year. Who keeps this on their front porch to welcome prospective home-buyers? What were these people thinking?

Because demonic molding baby doll in a high chair just screams, "Buy me!! Good vibes here."
Happy Tuesday!! ~Alice

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