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Fickle Muses an online journal of myth and legend

The Truth From Baba Yaga
by Sheila Kaveny

Towns are poisonous, truth be told. That’s why this house sets
on chicken legs.  If we don’t like a place, or if they find us, we just gets up and steps away.  Long   steps. 

They send their pestering children out into this dark and fearful northern European forest to bother me with their nonsense.  Looking in mirrors
they shouldn’t be near enough to gaze on,

they see reflected the empty sockets of their own mortality floating
among the lilies.  The mirrors are meant to keep the birds from flowering fruits,
but children imagine wild things.

The priest calls me “Crone,” because I give my wealth no more to cloister nor
to bridegroom.  Townsfolk are the perfect hole of an echo, throwing stones
as they cross themselves, but I don’t

need them.  I’ve been sweeping up after myself and minding business
now for about fourteen hundred years, living pretty good for a lone, old woman.  In the dark they always come, looking

for potions and miseries.  I’m a chemist, you know.

“gargoyle lion” by Steve Cartwright

“gargoyle lion” by Steve Cartwright

See Steve Cartwright’s online gallery http://www.angelfire.com/sc2/cartoonsbycartwright