Weekly Features

The Weekly Shaman

Obviously, I take great inspiration from fairy tales and old wise tales for much of many of my articles and even some of my drawings. One of the most famous is the classic Hansel and Gretel which is an example of the abandoned children’s stories that were common in the old days. In their case they ended up being taken in by a ghoulish witch who loved to devour young children. In this case they outsmart the monster’s woman shoving her into the oven that awaited them. The Russian tale of Baba Yaga, another ghoulish witch who takes in a lost girl and enslaves her. The innocent young girl has to keep Baba Yaga’s cottage spotlessly clean or be devoured by the flesh hungry monster. To make matters worst Baba Yaga’ s cottage sets high above the ground on top of a giant chicken leg trapping the innocent child and keeping her from escaping the evil clutches of the ghoul. In this version the young girl is helped by a ting fairy in the form of a small doll. The tiny doll takes charge and keeps Baba Yaga’s cottage spotless. Baba keeps her cottage will lit with skulls that are lit wit eternally lit candles hid in each skull. I assume Baba Yaga gets the skulls as leftovers from her previous victims The young girl discovers that the light from each skull is powerful enough to burn anyone up who gets too close. She then uses the light from the skull to burn the evil with up. The fairy like doll then helps the abandoned child to escape. At least that’s one version I have heard. As with Baba Yaga, the young maiden and her fairy doll friend, sometimes the abandoned child or children get their help from a magical beings or magical animals. 

Occasionally it’s an enchanted bird who helps the child or children find their way away from the danger such as various monsters hiding in the darkness. The abandoned children motif seems to come out of times of famine or plague with some children cast out due to being orphans or cast out by parents who can no longer feed them. Sometimes the magical animal or spirit might nurture and teach the child and children how to gather food or pick the right herbs for medicine. The classical myth of Romulus and Remus who were orphans who were suckled and raised by a she wolf. The abandoned children story can also be found among many Native American tribes with it being an enchanted animal or spirit who teaches the orphans how to survive in the wilderness. And so, it goes.