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Baba Yaga

Baba Yaga, as depicted by Ivan Bilibin (1902)

In Slavic Folklore (mostly Russia, but also Croatia, Serbia etc.), the Baba Yaga (Russian: Баба-яга) is a supernatural being or witch that takes the form of a hideous old woman.

Baba Yaga is usually described as wearing a cloak or dress, with bright red eyes and teeth of sharpened stone or metal. It is said that she lives in a hut deep in the woods that stands on chicken legs (or one chicken leg), surrounded by a fench of bones taken from her victims, and that she flies around in a mortar wielding a pestle.

There are sometimes shown to be three Baba Yagas, who are sisters. In those cases, they all have the same name.

Etymology

Baba is a word meaning 'old woman'. It can also be applied to various animals, phenomena, and inanimate objects. It is not fully known what Yaga means.

Baba Yaga can be a maternal figure, as the word Baba also means grandmother.

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