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  • Writer's pictureFolkloristan

Barbitai and the Little Girl


There once lived a little girl, sister to four elder brothers. Greatly loved by her parents, she was not allowed to leave the house after evening. Legends said that there was an old hag, eating the children that played outside after the sunset.

One day when her group of friends begged the little girl’s father to let her go with them, she was finally allowed to play outside. They played and played, laughed and laughed and laughed until the sky turned pitch black.

As the night descended, the little girl's friends walked her home. A few steps away from the house, the little girl told her friends to return as her home was now in sight. They returned at her insistence but little did she know that the hag stood waiting for her near a cluster of trees.

“Come, my child, I am going to visit your uncle,” the hag crooned as she stepped in front of the little girl in the dark, pretending to be her mother.

“Mother, what happened to your voice?” the little girl asked.

“My child, I had a fight with your father, and I am staying the night at your uncle’s place. Come with me because no one will feed you and wash you up in the morning.”

With that, the hag scooped the little girl up in her arms and started walking away in a direction opposite her uncle's house.

As the moon shone above the hag’s head, the little girl could finally see her. A loud scream escaped her mouth when she saw the hag's saggy, huge breasts covering her stomach. The hag had put them over her shoulder, so they dangled down her back. Her long hair covered her entire body. Her claws resembled those of an elephant-sized crow.

The little girl wailed and sobbed, begging the hag to let her go.

“Don’t talk, or I'll eat you right here," the hag threatened, her voice reminding the child of an angry thunderstorm.

Far away from the village were enormous mountains famous for the lurking witches and evil spirits. Inside a cave among many, the hag resided all day until she went out to hunt at night. As the child got tired of crying, they arrived at the hag's cave.

Putting her inside the cave, the hag licked the little girl’s feet until they were too thin for her to walk. The little girl remained scared and silent, watching the hag as the hag licked her feet and hands.

“I would have eaten you, but you are too small. I need to find three more kids before fixing myself a proper meal.” A loud laugh shook the cave.

The little girl stayed there, curled up into a little ball, as the hag locked the cave with a huge rock, imprisoning her inside of it. Crying and screaming for help, the little girl fell asleep.

In the morning, the girl's mother cried until her eyes turned into small buttons, and her father cried until his face turned blood red. The friends swore on their lives that they had walked her home, but she never returned.

Her brave brothers rode on their fine horses, searching for her in the village and in the far-off towns until they arrived in the area occupied by witches and spirits.

As they were fearless and courageous, the eerie environment did not affect them at all, and they kept searching for their sister, calling for her so they could respond to the sound of her name.

As she sat in the cave, she sang to pass time.

The old hag has a meter-long hair

I am my father’s sole heir

Sister to four brothers

Who are loved and feared

The brothers pulled the bridles of their horses, coming to a halt for they suspected the voice to be none other than their younger sister.

“Who are you? Say that again!” the eldest one yelled in no particular direction.

The little girl sang and sang and sang, and the brothers used her voice to navigate their way through the mountains and sandy land. They eventually reached the large cave closed by a rock.

“Sing one more time,” one of the brothers declared. A raspy voice rose from within the cave.

The old hag has a meter-long hair

I am my father’s sole heir

Sister to four brothers

Who are loved and feared

The little girl lay there with her eyes closed as the four strong men dragged the rock away from the entrance.

Picking up their thin, delicate little sister, they wrapped her in cotton and wool, safely tucking her in the lap of the eldest, who climbed back on his horse, followed by the other three.

Meanwhile, the hag had not found more kids and was returning home, sad and depressed, to eat the only girl she could hunt.

At the sight of the horses, she yelled and ran towards them, telling them to stop. The brother replied,

We searched for you in the skies

And found you on the ground

Come closer so we can send you

Back to the skies

The sister begged them all to go, for she was scared, yet they stayed nonetheless. Holding bushes and big branches of trees, the brothers swung them at the hag and crushed her under their weight as she came closer.

Taking their beloved sister home, they bought her toffees, candies, chips and marshmallows and took good care of her.

She never went out after sunset again because she had learned that whatever her parents said to her was for a reason, even if she never understood it.


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