The workings of witchcraft have for the longest time been a subject of musical literature, with many musicians placing in their own contributions. Our next segment will feature Berlioz’s “Dream of a Witch’s Sabbath” while we explore the tale of one of the most malefic of all witches, the Baba Yaga of Russian Lore. According to legend, the evil witch lived within a hut with the likeness of a chicken, and flew around within a mortar, using a broom as an ore. The witch committed countless cruel deeds, but her most cruel deeds were to devour children to feed herself.
0:00 Once upon a time, within the far reaches of the Russian wilderness, there was a dark forest, filled with shadow and horror. Upon this forest, a young girl, Vaslissa, is wandering through the forest. She has been charged by her jealous stepmother to go into the forest and seek out the old woman, Natasha, and assist her with any that she should require. Though of course, this did not make Vaslissa the least bit comfortable as the forest around her seemed to terrify her into leaving. Nevertheless she continued on, hoping to please her stepmother.
0:40 As she continued onward, the trees seemed to create the illusion that not only were they alive, but they tried grabbing the poor girl’s throat. She jogged forward in fear away from the reaching branches.
1:10 She tripped over a branch and landed face first in the trunk of a hollowed tree. She had no injuries, but when the landing happened, the tree came alive with bats flying out of their home and journeying to find a new nest. Vaslissa was frightened by the new arrivals and after struggling to get up, she left the hallowed tree to pursue her quest.
1:30 As she was treading along softly and cautiously through the forest, she felt mobilizing shadows closing in on her. A single noise came which confirmed her suspicions…
1:40 ….the howling of wolves. Not long after she heard it, the pack made themselves known and began to pursue her. She ran as fast as she could, hiding in a cave-burrow nearby while the hungry wolves passed on.
1:52 She knew that she could not exit the same way she came in, so she tried trudging in through the burrow to find a way out. When she saw the moonlight, she knew she was close. Using her strength, she climbed out of the cavern and into the open once more.
2:20 Unfortunately one of the wolves was present when she escaped and sounded the alarm to the pack. As she began running with all her might the pack took very little time before they continued their combined pursuit.
2:35 Using her strength, she managed to climb the cliff just in time to escape the wolves’ biting jaws. They went away from their prey as they saw themselves defeated, though the eyes of some of them seemed to pity Vaslissa’s fate, for the horrors she faced before will be nothing compared to what awaits her.
3:02 As she climbed the cliff, she noticed a cottage, that had the likeness of a chicken. Remembering her mother describing Natasha’s house as being of that shape, she climbed over the edge and approached the house.
3:30 After reaching the steps of the cottage, she rang the doorbell and knocked 3 times upon the door. As she waited for an answer from the door, she noticed that the mist and fog grew all around her as if to shield her from some nameless horror.
3:54 After clearing the fog, the door creaked open and out came a homely old woman who appeared to be gentle, though something about her countenance would make one feel uneasy about her. She introduced herself as Natasha, the very woman the girl was told to seek out.
4:10 After patting Vaslissa upon the head, she welcomed her into the house to perform her favor. As she entered, Natasha looked outside to see if any eyes were to peer upon her domain and closed the door when she confirmed there was none.
4:26 Asking her in a polite tone, she requested the girl to use the pump next to the stove to start the fire, since she was feeling a bit cold. The good-hearted girl went and replied to the request, while the old woman reached for a table and slyly pulled out a wicked knife from a secret compartment.
4:36 As the girl was turning around to see the old woman’s kind smile, she noticed the same Natasha raising her knife in order to kill the innocent girl, she quickly moved out of the way, leading the old lady to stab herself in the hand. Natasha pulled the knife out of her hand after a blood curdling cry and moved closer to Vaslissa, intending to strike again. As she moved backwards, she tripped and fell on the fire pump, spewing a pool of fire on the hag’s face and disfiguring her.
4:58 It was as the witch was in agony the girl looked upon her western walls and found out the truth: The kindly old woman Natasha was really the Baba Yaga, the terrible witch in the tales she heard before. What she saw on the walls were works of witchcraft, bones of the children that were her victims, and satanic images to prove her malefic allegiance. Her stepmother knowingly sent Vaslissa to the witch so that she may be killed and devoured. Rightfully horrified by the new revelation, she turned and fled the house. The Baba Yaga freed herself from the pain just in time to see the girl escape
5:15 As Vaslissa was fleeing to the forest, Baba Yaga raised her hands and chanted a dark spell in a strange language. As she chanted the dark words, shadow fled from her hands and went towards the house, commanding it to awaken.
5:35 The house then stood upon frightening legs of the hen and began its pursuit. Vaslissa only turned around to view the witch’s demon closing in on her for a short second. But her only interest was escaping the death that was upon her. During the pursuit, the witch shouted curses at the fleeing child and used fire spells in order to assassinate her as she runs.
6:05 Viewing the cliff that she used to enter she tried climbing down to see if she can get to a safe distance. The rooster house attempted to pursue her but it had stepped a little too far over the edge. As a result of the overstep, it tumbled down onto the dark ground below and took the witch with it.
6:17 The house crash-landed and caught fire with it reached the ground. Vasillsa climbed back up the cliff and went towards the forest again, believing that the way down that she was taking would be the death of her.
6:28 From the burning pits of her house, the Witch climbed up from her wrecked domain, now furious with the desire for revenge. Moving some of the wreckage, she found what she was looking for; her mortar and her broomstick. She hoped to it and with the broomstick for steering, flew high into the air to continue her wicked hunt
6:45 As the Baba Yaga flew high in the air, Vaslissa continued running through the forest to find a way out of the horrifying labyrinth. Though the illusions and bats were present, this time she payed no heed, for the terror she runs from makes these beings look friendly.
7:10 As she hid within a tree, the wolves returned with their yellow teeth gnashing and their red eyes aglow. This time she was too cornered to escape these fell beasts. Wary and believing that this is the end of the road, she took out a piece of food that she had carried with her to have her final meal. Then she came to a hopeful idea, “maybe if I give these some food, they might let me live”. It was a long-shot but it was her only choice.
7:40 She silently called the wolf over and offered him her food. The wolf came close, sniffed the small morsel and took a small bite. This amazed both him and the wolves, as not even the Baba Yaga cared to give them any morsels, even for selfish reasons.
7:50 The other wolves slinked silently away while the lead wolf devoured what was left of the treat given to him. When he was finished he leapt out of the hollow and went to join his brothers. Vaslissa who was in paralyzing fear the whole time got up in shock and moved to try and find a way out.
8:06 As she climbed back into the forest, she saw the flying witch searching for her. She knew that she had to hide in the trees and keep out of sight if she is to get past her.
8:12 Unfortunately she was just a tiny bit too careless. As she was moving toward the deeper forest, she stepped on a small twig. Though the noise was insignificant, it was enough for the witch’s hearing to detect where the girl was. Now sighting her prey, she charged forward at predatory speed and reached out her hand to capture the fleeing girl. It was only by a small but hidden ditch that she was able to momentarily escape the witch’s grasp
8:32 However the Baba Yaga did not ease up on the pursuit. She now knew where Vaslissa would be and deduced that she would not get that far that quickly. To snuff her out, Baba Yaga used her dark magic once more and set green balls of fire to the dark forest, setting it in an evil flame.
9:06 As Vaslissa was fleeing the flames, her frightened eyes met Baba Yaga’s just long enough to confirm her presence, turn around and start running. Baba Yaga however was close enough to leave her mortar, catch up with her foe and begin strangling her for her persistence.
9:16 However, the witch was halted when all of the sudden the wolves who before tried to devour Vaslissa, appeared turned their fangs against the evil creature. Broken beyond her understanding, in both body and fear, she could only watch as the wolves of shadow waged war against the cruel witch
9:40 Though the witch was heavily wounded, the pack’s efforts were for naught. Taking out a pair of black rose encrested marionette handles and casted a magic spell, destroying the minds of the rebellious wolves and turning them to her malefic service once more
9:46 Now with the wolves under her command, she ordered them to kill the child once and for all. As the wolves approached her again, Vaslissa tried to run, but the wolves pinned her down and readied their fangs to strike.
9:58 It was at that moment, when all her hope has finally vanished, that the sun came into the sky, its illuminating rays striking the witch and her minions.
10:10 The witch stroke into blue and white boils while the wolves wreathed and agony, releasing their hold on Vaslissa. Vaslissa, seeing this moment, took this last chance to escape. As she finally fled the forest with her life, she only turned once to see the fate of her pursuers. The wolves, one by one fell unconscious, probably dead, from the agony that the evil minds have suffered at the hands of the sun. The Baba Yaga’s blue and white boils soon erupted into golden flames, which devoured her whole. The piece ends as Baba Yaga fades from existence while Vaslissa watches in both horror and relief.