One of these days I will break down and actually get reliable internet. Until then, what my neighbors don't know won't hurt them. ;)
I had planned on only doing six installments of the Baba Yaga Saga, which would make this the last blip of the story. However! I am going to leave that up to you lovely lot to decide! Would you like to see more of our favorite old bitty? Or perhaps see more of Thaddeus? Leave your vote in the comment section, and we'll see what happens next week!
Now, onto the tale!
Late Summer now. Every week I've been given new and different chores to do. I never would have guessed how vast Yaga's homestead was. She had her hut, the stables, the creek, fields upon fields of vegetables, and an expansive flower garden. All of which she had decided would be enough to occupy my daylight hours enough to keep me out of her hair.
I was thankful for the days when the rain came. Summer rains had always been my favorite. The raindrops would be plump and heavy, and thud against the earth making it smell of scorched kindling. An intoxicating smell to be sure.
During the afternoon showers I was allowed to sit on the porch and watch. Occasionally Yaga would send me out with cake of soap and I would have to bathe myself. She complained of how young children always smelled after a long, hot morning of vigorous exercise. Sometimes she made me bathe twice a day, and she always checked my behind my ears.
One particular evening during dinner Yaga put down her fork and sniffed the air. "Mmm." She mumbled, "the good summer rains are going to be gone soon. I'll wager we'll have about four more afternoon showers before the hard rains come. You won't be able to wash in those storms. Too hard on bare skin. And too much lightening. Shame. I'm going to have to suffer with your stink I suppose." She paused only to bring the piece of meat that dangled on her fork to her mouth. She chewed and contemplated the weather for a moment. I watched her from my place across the table.
"Yes, Child. What is it? Don't like your dinner? I could let you do without you know."
"No ma'am. The food is fine. I just had a question."
"Well, what is it?"
"Why don't you call me by my name?"
"You don't have one yet."
"I do so! My mother named me..."
"HUSH!" Her fork slamming against the table made me clamp my jaw.
"I know you have a name. I even know what it is. But it is a name given to you by mindless sheep who do not know how to Name. It is not your True Name."
"What is my true name if not the name given to me? How do you know what it is?"
"Your true name is what is branded on you from your birth. It is the name that the Heavens and the Gods will call you by when you leave this place. The Garden knows your name. It always knows the right name."
"What is it?" Wide eyed and wiggling now in my chair.
"I don't know." Yaga stared at her plate as if the slightly over cooked spinach would know the answer.
"I don't know. The Garden hasn't told me yet. It usually doesn't take this long, perhaps your arrival has confused it. You're a bit off schedule you know."
I didn't know. All this talk about a garden that named people was news to me. Nothing about Yaga or her home was in the realm of Normality. I shouldn't have been surprised by a conversational garden.
"Did the Garden name you?"
"Mm. I have always known my true name, but yes the Garden agreed."
"I don't think it fits."
"...What? What do you mean 'it doesn't fit'? That's my name! I've been called that for cent..." She backpeddled. "For quite some time now."
"It's not that it's completely wrong. I'm just not sure it fits you anymore. Like it's missing something."
"Pfft, and you know the answer do you? Shall I introduce you to the Garden? That way you can tell it that it was wrong!"
"No. It's just missing something..."
This time it was Yaga who clamped her mouth shut and whose eyes grew wild.
"What...did you call me?"
"That's what's missing! 'Baba'! 'Baba Yaga'!" I sat back in my chair proudly. My legs swinging happily under the table.
"Well...I'll be... The yet named child has named the Old Witch. Now that's a twist."