The Vagaries of Unity
"Oh my! I've turned him into stone. It seems I lost my temper for a second."
If you happen to own a copy of the book “Noviny” (New literature) by Maxim Gorky, you may find a curious tale called “Baba Yaga and the Five Culprits”. In short, this is a tale in which a village is visited by 3 strangers who manage to capture a group of five individuals who have performed crimes against their fellow “proud and hard working soviet men and women” in the village. Each is guilty of a particular vice, e.g. laziness, fraud, theft, bribery and corruption. The strangers bring them to Baba Yaga, unto whom Lenin has bestowed the power to judge good and evil.
The Heroes have somehow ended up following the path of the three strangers outlined in the book and escorted Dmitri and his gang to Baba Yagas domain.
She resides in a wooden hut, that walks around on chicken legs, in a dark forest that seems to have a life of its own. Also associated with Baba Yaga are the three knights in the forest, who guide travelers that enter. It seems that you cannot gain entrance to the forest unless it allows you to.
Baba Yaga has several invisible servants in her hut, that you wont notice except for the occasional broom that seems to be sweeping the floor on its own, or the dishes that seem to clean them selves. The servants make no sound except when Baba Yaga tells a joke or a witty remark, which they applaud, clapping cheerfully. The Hut itself is a lot larger on the inside than the outside. It is not certain how many rooms or hallways are in there.
Baba Yaga comes across as a nice and warm old woman, but she has her quirks and likes to toy around with her guests in her own way. The riddles she has her knights pose to visitors, the endless hallways that seem to extend up to the heavens and the clapping invisible servants may explain why some people think of her abode as a celestial North Korea. What is she signaling by putting on such a display?