By Peter Tate
The best bedside significant other for each bird-watcher and nature lover, within Flights of Fancy you’ll locate:
“Don’t promise the crane within the sky, yet provide the titmouse on your hand.”
“One for sorrow, for joy…”
Traditional English rhyme
“The owl shrieked at thy start, an evil sign.”
Shakespeare, Henry VI, half III
“The peacock is ashamed of its huge black feet.”
Medieval Persian tradition
“When the raven attempted to deliver fireplace to the realm, ash became its feathers black.”
Cherokee Indian legend
“Sewing a swan’s feather into your husband’s pillow will preserve him faithful.”
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Additional resources for Flights of Fancy: Birds in Myth, Legend and Superstition
In that story she is far from the malevolent witch; but maybe even Baba-Yaga realized that she would have been no match for Ivan the Pea. This cottage sits on four sets of hen’s legs, one at each corner, and revolves either freely in the wind or when some unheard word is spoken. Some versions of the legend say that the cottage was not fixed to the ground and could run around on its hen’s legs. Others say that the hen’s legs were simply supports for the four corners and that the center of the house was fixed on the spindle of a spinning-wheel, indicating 25 that Baba-Yaga also spins the thread of life from the bones and entrails of the dead.
Unafraid, Mikhail Potyk cut off its head and rubbed the body of his dead wife with it. Avdot'ya instantly came back to life. Mikhail then rang the church bell, and he and his wife were released to enjoy many more years together. The official language of Azerbaijan is Azeri, a Turkic language of the Ural-Altaic family. Russian is also commonly spoken, although its use is declining. The traditional religion of the Azeris is Shiite Islam, which has experienced a revival in recent years. Orthodox Christianity is practiced to varying degrees among the Georgian, Armenian, and Slavic minorities.
Her nose and her breasts are made of iron. These bones are symbolic not only of Baba-Yaga’s association with death but also of her role as the source of new life, which she brews from the bones of the dead. Her soup often contains leftover body parts, such as fingers, toes, and eyes. The house itself is also said by some to be made of human bones, with legs for doorposts, hands for the bolts, and a mouth with razor-sharp teeth for the lock. Others say that these parts are associated only with the bone fence and that Baba Yaga’s house resembles any other peasant hut—apart from its chicken leg supports.