The Goose

What Would Baba Yaga Say?   



Extraordinary rudeness.  That's what this is."


Baba Yaga took off her shoe to throw at the screen door where a large goose had suddenly appeared.  Flapping and honking. She saw then, there was also two children outside.  One boy. One girl.


"I suppose you are football orphans."  said she. You have come to Baba Yaga's house in search of a kai."


"Oh really? Your father took off and left you, how sad for him. Your mother has remarried and the new stepfather is abusive.  How unusual.  Alright - come in ye shal.  We will have a healthy supper tonight, but you will work for your keep.  Spin straw into Gold. You know how the story goes. Chop onions.  Carry soup. That sort of thing." 


But beware.  Do not whine or make up excuses for that which is a lack of care and attention.  Baba Yaga has much to do and limited resources to do it with.  There is no time for stupidity or waste."


With these words she led the children to an enormous room filled all the way to the roof with onions.  


To Gracie,  Baba Yaga said "You must peel these onions and chop them before noon today. You must take the onions to the soup pot to cook. Be sure the flame is just right.  Be sure that there is enough boiling water in there at all times, in order to stop it from burning."


She then led the children along a great hall to another enormous room.  This time the room was filled to the roof with grain.


To little Murray, Baba Yaga said  "You must grind a mountain of rye into flour and make damper before noon todayYou must set the dough to bake in the big iron pan, making sure this too is kept at just the right temperature at all times.


I will travel to the village to visit my sister Baba Yaga.  There's a baby being born today.


When I return if my soup is not ready.  It is your goose that shall be cooked."  


To their protestation that they were surely vegans, she merely shrugged and grinned.  "I'm not and niether are my sisters."


Baba Yaga returned at noon for her lunch to find the exhausted children were fast asleep.

The soup was bubbling gently and the damper was nicely toasted.


On the second day Baba Yaga said "Children.  You did well yesterday.  You may give the remaining portion of yesterdays bread to Goosey Lucy"  She had named the creature for one of her tales of the Old Country.  


"I shall travel to the city to meet up with my sister Baba Yaga.  I will return before dark, and we shall have soup and bread, but alas - no goose. Not today.


Baba Yaga led the children to an enormous room filled with pumpkins.  To Gracie she said "Before the sun sets. You must chop these pumpkins into small golden pieces.  You must take them to the big pot, and add them to the onion broth.  Be sure the flame is correct and at all times, there is enough water so that it shall not burn.


To Little Murray, Baba Yaga said. "My boy.  Today you must grind two mountains of rye.   You must bake six loaves of bread before night fall.  You must slice the loaves on the bench and wrap them in paper tied with a piece of string to keep them fresh."


When I return I shall bring my sisters.  If you do not complete these tasks, tomorrow my sisters and I, will have Goose for supper."  


Saying this she climbed into her truck and disappeared down the street in a cloud of exhaust smoke. Murray and Gracie were glad she was gone, but  an ominous day of work lay before them.  


What seemed like two days, was actually two hours, of chopping pumpkin and grinding flour.  Noon came and the children had began to grow bored and weary. They stopped for a break and after the midday meal they fell in to a deep slumber beside the fire place.


Time passed and suddenly they were awoken by the sound of fighting.   They looked from Baba Yaga's window.  Lo and behold what did they see?  Their goose out there!  Tearing Baba Yagas herb garden to shreds and menacing Stevie - Baba Yagas cat.  


They looked upon the scene in dismay. They looked to the sky  to see how far along the sun was in it's journey to the misty mountains. Oh NOOOO!!!! We have fallen behind in our work, what ever shall we do?  


"Run!"  said Gracie.  And run they did, they practically flew.  As the sun began to set, they emerged from Baba Yagas house triumphant.  Their tasks complete and still time to fix the garden before Baba Yaga returned with her sisters. 


They shooed Stevie into the house where he curled up peacefully by the fireplace.  Worn out from trying to protect the herb garden.  The children then followed Goosey Lucy's trail of destruction.  Restoring the damage as best they could.  They searched among the rocks and weeds calling her name but there was no answer.  They searched high and low to the east.  They searched high and low to the south.  Finally, feeling discouraged they turned to the west as pink clouds began to turn grey and the sun went off across the desert to Western Australia.


There she was, Goosey Lucy, near the letter box.  She had made a nest of straw and was sitting proudly upon a beautiful green egg.  


Just then, there came a tremendous roaring and clanking.  Baba Yaga and her sisters came tearing around the corner, in the old 4 wheel drive.  Rattling and shaking as they pulled into the driveway with a screech of brakes and a spray of gravel.


Baba Yaga emerged from the drivers side, and opened the door with the broken handle for her sisters to hop out.  

Gracie and Murray looked on in horror as the three women approached them talking about roast dinner.


Good to see you Auntie." said the wise young Gracie sweetly.  "The Pumpkin Soup and rye bread is ready, as per your instructions."


Baba Yaga gave the two children a sideways look. "What? Really? You did not fall asleep? You mean we shall not have roast goose tomorrow after all?"


The two sisters glared at Baba Yaga.  "No roast goose?  Oh- you promisedl!!"  they cried in unison.


Her measured tone could not hide her disappointment.  But a woman of her word Baba Yaga glared back at her sisters. "No - means - NO.  All ways!"   


Remembering the state of Baba Yaga's herb garden and remembering their manners.  The two children made hasty introductions, explaining to the women that they must now depart immediately for home.  


They thanked Baba Yaga for her kindness and pointed to Goosey Lucy.   "Sweet grandmother" said Murray  "We will leave this lucky green egg in your tender care."


"Omlette for breakfast" - the sisters chortled gleefully.   


Her face softened somewhat with thoughts of scrambled eggs on hot buttered toast.   Baba Yaga pointed to the darkening sky and the moon rising over the mangroves and Trinity Inlet. "Go if ye will."  she told them.  "But Goosey Lucy stays here one month to look after her nest.  You must return to collect her on the next full moon."


"We shall see what hatches." said the second sister.


"If you do not return" said the third sister "We shall keep her.  We will have capsicum and zuchini quiche every Friday."


"They usually lay about a dozen eggs.  She may lay another tomorrow." said one.

We could sell eggs at the market." said another.


"A dozen babies.  We could raise our  own flock of geese."


Gracie and Murray were too tired to protest.  They waved their goodbyes and fled as fast as their feet would carry them. They did not like the slightly compulsive nature of the women's talk.  Their voices faded into the distance as the two children walked homewards, they could hear occasional shriek of excitement as the three continued to make plans for their latest social enterprise.


"Do not count your goslings before they hatch Baba Yaga"  said little Murray.  We WILL return, and we will liberate Goosey Lucy from your clutches - that you CAN count on."




A Light Hearted Look at the Crone BABA YAGA The Pearl of Wisdom - "No Means No." 



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