Baba Yaga by Viktor Vasnetsov

Today’s Thursday Tale is actually about a specific character, not a specific story. I’ve mentioned Baba Yaga before, when Vasilissa the Beautiful encountered her, but today I wanted to talk a little more about the witch herself. She is one of my favorite fairy tale characters, even though she doesn’t usually have a story of her own, just appears in others’ tales.

Baba Yaga is a strong, powerful, frightening woman who comes to us from Slavic folklore. She is far from your “typical” witch.  Whenever she appears on the scene, a wild wind begins to blow, the trees around creak and groan and leaves whirl through the air. Shrieking and wailing, a host of spirits often accompany her on her way. She flies around on a giant mortar, kidnaps and presumably eats small children, and lives in a hut that either stands on chicken legs, and is sometimes surrounded by a fence with a skull on each pole. Sometimes the hut has a door which is not revealed unless a magical phrase is uttered; Baba Yaga herself flies in and out of the chimney.

In most tales, Baba Yaga is portrayed as an antagonist; however, some characters have been known to seek her out for her wisdom. She often fulfills the function of donor; that is, her role is in supplying the hero, sometimes unwillingly, with something necessary to further his quest. Seeking out her aid is a dangerous act though. Any hero, or heroine, who seeks her out needs to be properly prepared and pure of spirit. He or she also needs to be polite. It is said she ages one year every time she is asked a question, which may explain her reluctance to help. This effect, however, can be reversed with a special blend of tea made with blue roses.

“Baba Yaga is the Arch-Crone, the Goddess of Wisdom and Death, the Bone Mother. Wild and untamable, she is a nature spirit bringing wisdom and death of ego, and through death, rebirth.”

As part of the Fairy Tale Giveaway Hop, co-hosted I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and vvb32reads, I’m giving away a fairy tale re-telling, one that includes Baba Yaga herself.

Dreaming Anastasia by Joy Preble

Anastasia Romanov thought she would never feel more alone than when the gunfire started and her family began to fall around her. Surely the bullets would come for her next. But they didn’t. Instead, two gnarled old hands reached for her. When she wakes up she discovers that she is in the ancient hut of the witch Baba Yaga, and that some things are worse than being dead.

In modern-day Chicago, Anne doesn’t know much about Russian history. She is more concerned about getting into a good college until the dreams start. She is somewhere else. She is someone else. And she is sharing a small room with a very old woman. The vivid dreams startle her, but not until a handsome stranger offers to explain them does she realize her life is going to change forever. She is the only one who can save Anastasia. But, Anastasia is having her own dreams.

I have one copy up for grabs. This giveaway is open internationally, as long as the Book Depository ships to you. Enter through May 1.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And be sure to check out all the other amazing blogs participating in the hop.




  1. One of my favourite characters is the Big Bad Wolf, because I always wanted to believe that he was misunderstood. That his reputation is worse than he deserves. That’s why I like Michael Buckley’s The Grimm Sisters series, where descendents of the brothers Grimm are fairy tale detectives solving crimes amongst the immortal fairy tale characters with a little help from the Big Bad Wolf. It’s written for children, but I admit I loved it as well!

  2. It’s impossible for me to choose a favorite! They’re all slightly mad, so I guess I’ll have to go with the sisters from the 12 dancing princesses. They’re mostly sane, at least!

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  3. Christina T

    Beauty/Belle from Beauty and the Beast she has to be one of the most intelligent heroines out there and her story is so captivating with the lesson the story teaches. Beastly by Alex Finn is a great retelling of the story. Thanks for this chance at this great giveaway!!

  4. I don’t think Mulan is a fairy tale character but I love her. I love strong women so I think she’s a role model for kids and ladies alike. But if it really needs to be a fairy tale character, I love Rumpelstiltskin because I love the story and his name. And if you’re watching Once Upon a Time, Robert Carlyle is nailing the role. Heehee. I hope I’d win! 😛

    1. Carol

      I don’t think Mulan is really a fairy tale character, but I really like her to. I’ve only wathced one or two episodes of Once Upon a Time- it just didn’t grab my interest as much as I’d hoped.

  5. Tif

    I have been thinking about Baba Yaga a lot these days thanks to Fables (the graphic novel). You’ve got me even more intrigued now!! 🙂

    BTW, I can’t decide on which character is my favorite. If I had to pick, I would go with the Hansel and Gretel team or maybe Rapunzel.

  6. My favorite fairytale is Beauty and the Beast, a tale not only of romance but of friendship and redemption 🙂

    And my favorite character is Belle, who despite being beautiful chooses to look beyond the ugliness of the Beast, to the character within. She sacrifices herself, and her selflessness is inspiring. Plus, she’s a reader – what’s NOT to love!?!? 😀

  7. passant

    i love jasmine from aladdin, she is smart, kind and funny and also has an awesome tiger, what else could anyone ask for ??
    maybe my opinion is bias since i love aladdin in general 😀
    thanks for the giveaway!!

  8. Kristin

    I have several favorites but if I had a list some of those on it would be The Pied Piper of Hamelin, Twelve Dancing Princesses,Little Red Riding Hood and Hansel and Gretel.

  9. oriana

    i love Belle form the beauty and the beast, because she loves books!
    and Ariel from the little mermaid too! i enjoy these movies too!
    thanks for making this international!!

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