A man lived happily in Russia with his wife. The gods were happy with them, and blessed them with children-a boy and a girl.
However, as sometimes happens, the man’s wife caught ill and died. The man was left with his two children to raise by himself. Eventually, the man thought that it would be best for his children to have a mother and so he courted a local woman to be his bride.
The man, his children, and his new wife settled into life together. The gods were pleased again and his new wife gave him more children. However, all was not well as the new wife slowly became jealous of her stepchildren, whom she feared were taking attention-and inheritance-away from her own children.
Eventually the stepmother could stand it no more and told the boy and the girl,
Dear children go into the woods and seek out the house with the chicken feet. The woman who lives there is my grandmother. Tell her I sent you and she will treat you kindly.
The boy, thinking there was no reason to distrust her, wanted to go straight to the chicken-legged hut. The girl, sensing danger, brought him instead to their father’s mother who exclaimed,
That evil woman is sending you straight to a witch! Baba Yaga lives in the chicken-legged hut. You must go there but I fear for your safety!
But I do have one piece of advice-no matter who you come across, do well by them, be kind, gentle, and helpful. Harm no one.
Having eaten the children set out to the forest. They soon found the hut-and it was not hard to miss-the hut sat on chicken’s feet. The children cried,
Let us in! Let us in!
And the hut lifted on its feet and turned so the door faced them. Inside rested the witch. Sensing the children, she demanded to know why they had come.
Our mother sent us to help you,
Came the reply.
Fine, said the with. But be warned-if I am pleased with you I will treat you well. Anger me and I’ll eat you.