“Firebird” and a Russian Witch

American witches were one of the things that surprised me most when I first came to the United States. With their little black dresses, elegant capes, and pointy hats, they looked to me like they stepped out right of a fashion magazine. I wondered where they lived and what they did before and after Halloween. They also made me think of their Russian colleague, Baba Yaga. Here’s a short excerpt from my children’s book “The Firebird: Adventure One” where two siblings, Alex and Katie, meet a Russian witch.

Here’s the link to the whole book: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1477629114



Thick black clouds covered the sun, and the wind became stronger. Now it was whining and howling like a sick animal. Where did that storm come from? Alex looked up. Branches above them rustled and dropped a few yellow leaves. Another gust of wind picked up the leaves and whirled them around.

“It’s like a little tornado, all made up of leaves,” Katie said. “It looks cool!”

The leaves were twirling faster and faster, higher and higher.

“It’s getting bigger,” Alex said. He could not see the leaves anymore, just a dark column twisting in front of them. A sudden gust of cold wind made Alex shiver.

Katie grabbed his arm tightly. “I’m scared now. What’s going on?”

At that moment, the column stopped twirling, and the leaves fell back to the ground. Everything became still.

Instead of a twirling column, an old woman dressed in a shaggy black skirt with purple stripes and a purple cotton blouse with wide sleeves stood in front of them. Her long white hair reached down to the hem of her long skirt, her crooked nose almost reached her chin. Large black warts covered her wrinkled face. She was leaning on a thick moss-covered stick.

“Well, black cats and ravens! Kids in my forest!” the woman shouted. “What are you doing here?”

“We were just going home,” Alex said. “And we got a little lost.”

The woman cackled. “And now you may get a little eaten!!”

Alex wanted to run, but his feet would not move. He felt like they had grown into the ground. And then he remembered Aunt Karina’s second rule. Don’t talk to old ladies. But it was too late.

“Alex, look at her fence!” Katie whispered.

Right behind the woman was a fence. It was made from tall wooden poles. On top of each pole sat a human skull. Eyeholes of the skulls were glowing with eerie twinkling light. The front gate was made of bones, the lock on the gate – from sharp pointed teeth. It was so dark that Alex could not even see if there was a house behind that fence.

“Why is it so dark here?” Katie asked.

“Because something is missing.” The old woman cackled, revealing three black teeth in her mouth, and pointed to two poles that did not have skulls on top. “See?” She moved closer to the kids.

Categories: My Books about Russia | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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