Baba-Yaga by AppleSin
Quite scary, isn't it? In some of the blogs I saw that she is even called "Goddess" hence might be worshipped by some Wiccans. But If I talk about the Russian fairy tales, Baba-Yaga is not the only witch or sorcerer. There are also few female characters which have such adjectives in their names like the Wise and the Beautiful. They either charm with their appearance or/and wit, or they actually are turned to some animal and they do a little bit of magic... Isn't it something obviously witchy in here? ;) I suppose it is, let's see what interesting is in the store of folklore.
The king, a father of the prince, announces different tasks one by one for the wives of his sons. The tasks are such as weave a carpet, bake white bread (called Karavai in Russian) - all in one night, and what is worst, come to the king's feast! The prince feels sad as his wife is just a frog and won't be able to do any of the tasks. She says him to got to bed. When the prince fall asleep, she turns to a princess, leaving her frog skin aside and starts doing magic... The frog-princess successfully performs two first tasks by weaving a wonderful carpet, which embroidery shimmers; she bakes the cake which the king likes the most out of three.
The Frog-Princess, N.Petrov Russian Beauty, Konstantin Makovsky
|Vasnetsov, the Frog Princess|
One night Vasilisa is sent by her stepmother to fetch the light for a candle from Baba Yaga. She carries a doll with her. Baba Yaga agrees to give her fire only when she accomplishes few tasks (some are as same difficult as in "The Frog Princess"). The doll helps her to do so, of course. The picture below illustrates the moment Vasilisa is carrying a skull with the light home. However her step mother and step sisters are burned to the ground by the eye hole's light, as a punishment for treating Vasilisa so bad. Don't mess with a girl with a doll... The doll, obviously, has a symbolic meaning as well. You can read about it as well as about overall meaning of this folk tale which is analyzed from psychological point of view in this nice article.