Trying to remember the title of a short story about a girl in a forest.
March 25, 2021 8:23 PM   Subscribe

Hoping the MeFi hive mind can help me track down a fantasy/folklore short story (or novella) I read a few years ago. I’m finding that some of the plot elements are so common in folklore that searching for the title is turning up a lot of related tales, but not what I’m looking for.

The general plot of the tale: a girl is abandoned in the forest by her parents and, while almost dying, makes her way deeper into the forest where she meets a wise-woman / witch in its depths. She is taken in by the older woman and finds her niche there, learning from her.

Some distinctives about this story include (1) it is fairly modern, being written in the past 30 years, I think, (2) I want to say that it was set in a poor village in Eastern Europe, and (3) the forest, in the story, was locally known as being haunted and for “stealing girls”, but (4) it turns out that this is just local lore to cover for the fact that villagers sometimes would abandon their female children in the woods so they wouldn’t have another mouth to feed.

I recently read Ayala and the Thorn Wood by Leigh Bardugo and it reminded me of this other story. I wanted to re-read it, but can’t remember the title. Does it ring a bell for anyone? Many thanks in advance for your help!
posted by darkstar to Media & Arts (4 answers total)
The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill?
posted by epj at 11:00 PM on March 25, 2021 [2 favorites]

This sounds like the story of Baba Yaga to me.
posted by sevensnowflakes at 6:50 AM on March 26, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The Witch of Duva, also by Leigh Bardugo?
posted by zeptoweasel at 8:00 AM on March 26, 2021 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Holy Cats, zeptoweasel! That’s it!

I’m taken’s ALSO by Leigh Bardugo...I can’t even! No wonder “Ayala” reminded me of it.

Thank you and thanks everyone!
posted by darkstar at 9:14 AM on March 26, 2021

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