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Eleanor, St Helen and St Katharine

The House with Chicken Legs

This story is based off many well-known Russian folk tales starring Baba Yaga as one of the main characters. Essentially, each Yaga’s life duty is to Guide the dead people through the Gate so their spirit may eternally be at rest. Baba Yaga, Marinka’s grandmother, says Yaga aren’t allowed to have any connection with the mortal world, but all Marinka (our main character), wants to do is make a friend. The house moves at will, though, so they are never in one place for long enough. However, she does manage to form three friendships, even if only one of them survives.
The first friend she makes is an artist and a farmer, a young boy named Benjamin. He is fascinated by her house – which does look rather unusual, sprouting scaly chicken legs - and Marinka is fascinated by him, because he is the first ‘normal’ person she’s ever met. Benjamin has a lamb with him when they meet, and he leaves it in her care as a heartwarming gesture of friendship.
Unfortunately, the house moves on during the night, and Marinka is devastated. However, she tries her hardest to be a true Yaga and helps to guide the dead that night. A young girl, Nina, doesn’t realise she is dead when she comes. She is hesitant to pass through the Gate, so Marinka, feeling a dangerous pity for Nina, hides her away until the gate is shut. Nina becomes Marinka’s second friend, but eventually Baba Yaga finds out and sends Nina on her way.
The third and final friend Marinka makes is a slightly stuck-up girl named Selma. Marinka traveled to Selma’s village in search of the Old Yaga, because she required some special magic ingredients. While there, she meets Selma, whose first comment is how ugly and unfashionable Marinka’s dress is. She persuades Marinka to buy a new dress, and, unknowingly, makes Marinka feel like she’s being drawn away from her old life.
The house, however, moves on before there is any real bond between Selma and Marinka, and it eventually travels back to Benjamin’s village. Marinka is overjoyed to see him and to give him back his lamb, whom she has named Benji in his absence.
This is a heartwarming story based around friendship and folk tales, and destiny and it really shows the true courage needed to defy the set path and do your own thing.

Posted on: 3rd June 2019 at 09:34 am

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