Once upon a time in some village there lived an old man and his wife. They had an only daughter whose name was Marya. Every day the old man went to the forest to get firewood. One day the old man went to the forest and began to chop the trees. Suddenly he heard a strange voice: "Let your daughter marry! If you don't do it we won't allow you to go to the forest anymore and chop trees!"
The old man returned home and told his wife everything that had happened with him. His wife cried bitterly because she didn't want to send her daughter in the forest and let her marry someone whom she had never seen. At last she said: "Go to the forest for the last time. May be everything will turn out all right."
The old man went to the forest and heard again the strange voice: "Let your daughter marry or you will be killed!" There was nothing to do and the old man agreed. Marya got her things together and went to the forest. She came to a ramshackle hut standing on chicken legs and entered it. An old woman was sitting on the bench in the hut and spinning.
"Who are you?" asked the old woman.
"I've been living with my mother and father till I was married to someone who lives in the forest." replied Marya.
"Your bridegroom lives here. Eat and go to bed!" said the woman. Some time later twelve lads entered the hut. She said to the youngest of them: "Ivan, your bride is here." Ivan went to bed and fell asleep at once.
In the morning the lads got up and went to work. The old woman asked Marya: "Have you seen your bridegroom?"
"No, I haven't seen him. He was sleeping the whole night. I want to look at him very much." replied the girl.
"Don't do it! If you drop a burning match our house will burn down" warned the old woman. Next night Marya took the old woman's advice and didn't try to look at her bridegroom. But it was so interesting for her to look at him and she said to the old woman: "I can't bear it anymore! This night I will look at my bridegroom!"
"Be careful" cautioned the old woman.
In the middle of the night the twelve lads entered the hut. They said to the youngest of them: "Ivan, your bride is here. Don't eat supper with us, go to bed!"
Ivan went to bed and fell asleep at once as before. Marya took a match box, stroke a match and dropped a small spark. At that moment everything around in the hut took fire. Everybody ran out from the hut and scattered. Marya was alone who stayed near the remains of the burnt hut. There was nothing to do and she went wandering.
The girl passed many countries and wild fields until she reached a hut standing on chicken legs. Baba Yaga was sitting near the hut. "Where are you going?" she asked the girl.
"I am looking for my husband Ivan" replied Marya.
"You will have to undertake a long journey. I'm very tired. Please, stoke the bath house and bring water in a sieve for my children" suddenly offered Baba Yaga.
The girl took the sieve, stopped up the holes with clay and brought water. Then she stoked the bath house and asked Baba Yaga, "Where are your children? The bath house is ready."
Baba Yaga pointed at some frogs jumping nearby and exclaimed: "Here are my children!"
Marya picked up the frogs, brought them in the bath house and washed them. Baba Yaga asked the frogs, "How well has this girl washed you?"
"Very well, mother" replied the frogs.
Baba Yaga called Marya and said, "Thank you for your help. I will endow you later. Could you help me once more? Go to the cow-house and feed my cows!" Marya went to the cow-house and fed the cows. Baba Yaga asked the cows, "How well has this girl fed you?"
"Very well!" answered the cows.
Baba Yaga called Marya and said, "You are a very good girl. Take this spinning-wheel and this lace-frame. These things will help you to return your husband." Marya thanked Baba Yaga and continued her journey.
Some time later she came to the kingdom where Ivan lived. She met there the old woman with whom she had been living in the hut together with twelve lads. The old woman exclaimed as soon as she saw Marya, "Your Ivan is married to Yagivovna now. It's impossible to visit him!"
Marya sat on the bench near the old woman's house and began to spin. Yagivovna was passing nearby carrying pails of water. She saw Marya's spinning-wheel and said, "Sell me this spinning-wheel."
"I will give it to you if you let me to look at Ivan!" replied Marya.
"Come in the evening and bring your spinning-wheel."
In the evening Marya came to Yagivovna's house and brought her spinning-wheel. She found Ivan, but he was sleeping deeply. She tried to wake him up but couldn't do it.
In the morning Yagivovna kicked Marya out of her house.
The girl returned to the old woman and told her everything that had happened with her.
The old woman decided to help the girl. She went in the field where Ivan usually strolled, found him and asked, "Do you love your former wife?"
"Yes, I love her very much" replied Ivan.
"Then listen to me carefully. Your wife came to you last night, but you were sleeping. You couldn't wake up because Yagivovna gave you a hypnotic potion to drink. This evening Yagivovna will feed you with hypnotic pancakes. Pretend that you eat her pancakes and throw them under the table. If you do everything correctly you will see your former wife."
Meanwhile Marya took her lace-frame and sat on the porch of the old woman's house. Yagivovna was passing nearby. "Sell me your lace-frame!" exclaimed Yagivovna.
"I may present it to you if you let me to look at Ivan!" replied Marya.
"Come in the evening and bring your lace frame."
In the evening Ivan came home and Yagivovna gave him supper. Ivan pretended that he ate everything and went to bed. Late at night Marya came, gave her lace-frame to Yagivovna and went to Ivan. In the morning Yagivovna tried to kick Marya out of the house but Ivan said, "Marya will stay here with me. Go away!"
Since that time Ivan and Marya lived happily and had many children.