"Hold your tongue," snapped the stepmother, and she gnashed her teeth, which made a noise like clattering tongs. "Didn't I tell you that you are to go to your dear little aunt in the forest to ask for a needle and thread to mend a shirt?"
"Well, then," said Natasha, trembling, "how shall I find her?" She had heard that Baba Yaga chased her victims through the air in a giant mortar and pestle, and that she had iron teeth with which she ate children.
The stepmother took hold of the little girl's nose and pinched it.
"That is your nose," she said. "Can you feel it?"
"Yes," whispered the poor girl.
"You must go along the road into the forest till you come to a fallen tree," said the stepmother, "then you must turn to your left, and follow your nose and you will find your auntie. Now off with you, lazy one!" She shoved a kerchief in the girl's hand, into which she had packed a few morsels of stale bread and cheese and some scraps of meat.
Natasha looked back. There stood the stepmother at the door with her arms crossed, glaring at her. So she could do nothing but to go straight on.
She walked along the road through the forest till she came to the fallen tree. Then she turned to the left. Her nose was still hurting where the stepmother had pinched it, so she knew she had to go on straight ahead.
Finally she came to the hut of Baba Yaga, the bony-legged one, the witch. Around the hut was a high fence. When she pushed the gates open they squeaked miserably, as if it hurt them to move. Natasha noticed a rusty oil can on the ground.
"How lucky," she said, noticing that there was some oil left in the can. And she poured the remaining drops of oil into the hinges of the gates.
Toby, NYInside the gates was Baba Yaga's hut. It wasn't like any other hut she had ever seen, for it stood on giant hen's legs and walked about the yard.
Longshanks, Girth, and Keen: The Story of Three Wonderful Serving Men
Category: Czechoslovak folktale
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