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1001 Stories Collection

Baba Yaga’s Black Geese

Added on 25th June 2020

Oral tradition Russian folktale

A Russian folktale about a resourceful young girl, a cruel witch and magical animals.


The parents of two children go away for the day. The older girl is left in charge of her younger brother but she is easily distracted. While she isn’t looking magical black geese snatch up her brother and take him to Baba Yaga, the forest witch who eats children. Will the girl be able to save her brother before it’s too late?

Why we chose it

Baba Yaga with her iron teeth and house with chicken legs is known all over the world. Baba Yaga’s Black Geese was one of the stories in our original audio stories collection.

Where it came from

Baba Yaga is an important figure in Slavic folk stories Generally portrayed as a witch who rides a pestle and mortar and lives in a hut that stands on chicken legs, surrounded by a fence of bones, deep in the forest. In this story she is an evil witch who eats children, but there are stories in which she helps the hero. The tale of Baba Yaga’s Black Geese was collected in the 19th century by Alexander Afanasyev who was inspired by the Brothers Grimm to collect and record the oral traditional Slavic folk tales to ensure their survival.

Where it went next

In 1949 the Russian animation studio Soyuzmultfilm made a twenty-minute film based on this story called Гуси-лебеди. It has also been made into a picture book called The Black Geese: A Baba Yaga Story from Russia (1999), written by Alison Lurie and illustrated by Jessica Souhami.

Associated stories

The best know Baba Yaga story is probably that of Vasilisa the Fair, who is sent to find light by her stepmother and encounters Baba Yaga.

Baba Yaga has inspired a number of novels for children including The House With Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson who takes the kind rather than the cruel side of Baba Yaga as her inspiration.

Added on 25th June 2020

Oral tradition Russian folktale