This evil Russian lady is not Baba Yaga in training (as you might have thought), but the Mistress of the Copper Mountain. It’s a character from Ural folk tales by Bazhov that I used to read as a child. She usually appears surrounded by lizards and often brings misery to people who meet her.
The giant, the cook, the magic puppy and the crust conundrum
“Now, you like crusts, I like crusts, but the giant didn’t like crusts! And the only thing that he hated more than crusts was to waste food! As much as he loved pizza, it vexed him to eat it. So he replaced it with his second favorite food: men! He ate men with bones, clothes, swords and all. At least they didn’t have crusts!”