Hylda was not from this land and did not know that the the "grandmother" was Baba Yaga or that the stepmother intended to rid herself of the girl. She knew that there was something sinister about her stepsisters smiles and yet, the doll advised her to do as told. And so she did.
She walked for hours and, just as dawn arrived, she saw a tall white rider followed by another rider dressed in red. The doll told her to wait for them to pass and they continued. Eventually, she found the old woman's house.
of the skulls lit up. Hylda wanted to run, but her legs wouldn't move. That was when Baba Yaga returned, flying in on a giant mortal and rowing it with a giant pestle, before landing in front of the girl. She cackled as she approached, landing with a loud thud, before climbing down from the pestle and looking over the girl. Despite her age, the old woman stood tall and had a terrifying strength about her.
Before the witch could speak, Hylda spoke up, "Good evening Grandmother. My stepmother has sent me to you to borrow a light."
The witch paused at being called "Grandmother" when, for a moment, it seemed she was about to kill Hylda.
Maybe Baba Yaga liked the girl or maybe she just wanted to draw out her end.
Baba Yaga told the girl that she could borrow a light but would need to complete some tasks or be killed: Hylda was to clean the house and yard, wash the laundry, and cook a meal. Also, before Baba Yaga returned, she was to separate the good from the bad corn and to desperate poppy seeds from grains of soil in the yard.
The girl toiled while the witch was away, collapsing from exhaustion and despair, but the doll offered hope again: it told her that she would complete the tasks and the girl should sleep. And so she did.
Hylda asked about the three riders and Baba Yaga seemed to like that, explaining that the white rider was the Sun, the red rider was the Day and the black rider was the Night, and that all three were in her service. She asked Hylda if she had another question and, when Hylda considered asking about the invisible hands preparing the corn or the skulls on posts, the doll begged her not to. And so she didn't.
And so, Hylda walked home through the woods, and to her stepmother's home. She opened the door, stepping inside, and when her step family saw her, the glowing coals exploded from within skull, striking her step family...
The doll told her to sweep the ashes out into the yard and to bury the skull. In some versions of this story, a prince comes upon the house and marries Hylda, but that's not how witches tell it. In some versions of the story, she returned to Baba Yaga, who may or may not be her grandmother, and the witch teaches her the Craft and in others the doll teaches her but, in the end, the two became opposing forces.
Baba Yaga the Bad Witch and Hylda the Good Witch
Baba Yaga is a potent political force among the Fey Court, though she is as often found in the material plane as the outer planes, and is rarely turned away from the Seely or Unseely courts when she comes a-calling in her flying mortar or in her walking house. Her daughters are the gorgeous Veela, powerful fey, and serve her in any number of ways alongside her more famous champions, the Three Horseman of Baba Yaga. She is a serious contestant against the likes of Morgana La Fey and even tiptoes in the shadow of Hecate herself in her mastery of the Craft.
As for Hylda, she has become a patron saint for all "white witches" or "good witches" that wish to use the craft to help people, carrying for the poor, the sick, the old and the downtrodden, using a mix of folk wisdom, arcane power and divination to fix the problems. She is a popular character among little girls and is often painted or carved in artwork meant for children. As for her presence in the world, it is much less prominent as Baba Yaga but she is invoked by any witch who fights against the dark and demons of the world and from within themselves.