I don’t know if you have ever heard the name of Baba Yaga. She may in fact not be very famous, or at least not as famous as other witches, like the witches in fairytales like Hansel and Gretel, Snowwhite, the Little Mermaid and others.
However, Sara’s posts brought her back to my mind again, and I thought you might be interested in this very peculiar Slavic witch! 😉
When I first read about Baba Yaga (in most Slavic languages “baba” means grandmother!) I was fascinated to learn that she flew on a giant mortar, had a broom made of birch and lived in a movable hut that stood on dancing chicken legs and which was surrounded by a fence made of human bones with skulls on top!!! The hole in her door was a mouth full of teeth, and sometimes her door would not be visible unless you spoke a particular sentence!
Three knights were at her service, the white knight (the day), the red knight (the sun) and the dark knight (the night). She also had three invisible servants.
Of course, just like the witch in Hansel and Gretel, she liked children (in the sense, she liked eating them, hehe), but she was also very renowned for her wisdom and knowledge, so that many people asked her for advice. So also Baba Yaga is a sort of a mix between a white witch and a black witch, as Sara described in her posts: you can’t say she’s totally wicked nor that she’s a “good witch”.
There is a beautiful Russian folk tale, Vasilissa the Beautiful: in this tale the protagonist, Vasilissa, a sort of a Cinderella, is put to test by Baba Yaga and overcomes all her problems with the help of a magic doll.