Friday, May 20, 2016


… there is a Russian tale about a prince
Who every day rides a hundred leagues or more
And every evening finds old Baba Yaga waiting
With a courteous greeting and a pot of stew.
After a very long time he notices
That each Baba Yaga is slightly younger
Than the one he saw the night before.
In its only surviving version the story breaks off
When the prince is chatting with a Baba Yaga
Whose hair has just started to go grey.
I've often wondered how the story ends
Or if it has ended at all. Perhaps the prince
Now meets Baba Yagas so young
He must bring in kindling and light the oven.
Perhaps he sings to them or tells them stories
Of all he's seen and of the other Baba Yagas
Each of them a day's ride from the next.
Or maybe one morning he says
"Come along, Baba Yaga! Climb up behind;
A brisk day's ride waits for us both
And stew, a hundred leagues away."

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