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Baba Yaga, as depicted by Ivan Bilibin (1902)

In Slavic Folklore (mostly in Russia, but also in Croatia, Poland, Serbia etc.), the Baba Yaga (Russian: Баба-яга; Baba Jaga) 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 fence 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, it could however come from name Jagoda (Shortened to Jaga)- literally meaning "Berry".

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

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