Folk and Fairy Tales, Mythology, Writing

Five Russian Fairytale Characters to Inspire Creative Writing

In The House with Chicken Legs I reimagined Baba Yaga – the bony-legged, iron-toothed, long-nosed old hag from Russian fairytales who lives in a house with chicken legs deep in the forest.

Slavic (Eastern European) fairytales contain hundreds of rich characters perfect for inspiring new stories.

In this list I’ve picked five characters I think it would be fun to reimagine, and added a question that could be used as a writing prompt. 

  1. Koschei The Deathless‘s soul is hidden inside a needle, which is inside an egg, which is inside a duck, which is inside a hare, which is inside an iron chest buried under a great oak tree on the mythical Island of Buyan.

What led Koschei to hide his soul? 

Koschei The Deathless by Ivan Bilibin (1900)
  1. Kikimora are female spirits that travel through keyholes and are often blamed for giving people nightmares.

Why do Kikimora bring nightmares?

1934 Illustration by Ivan Bilibin
Kikimora by Ivan Bilibin (1934)

3. Leshy are forest spirits that are sometimes blamed for leading travellers astray.

What happens to the travellers who become lost in the forest?

Leshy by Н. Н. Брут (1906)
  1. Snegurochka the Snow Maiden is the daughter of Mother Spring and Father Frost. In some tales, if she falls in love her heart will melt and she will die.

How can the Snow Maiden have a happily ever after?

Snow Maiden (1899) by Viktor M. Vasnetsov
The Snow Maiden by Viktor M. Vasnetsov (1899)

5. Rusalka are spirits that haunt rivers and lakes. They emerge at night to give water to fields and forests, but sometimes they lure people into the depths.

What happens to the people Rusulka lure into the water?

Rusalka by Ivan Bilibin , 1934.
Rusalka by Ivan Bilibin (1934)

For a printer friendly version of these writing prompts click here