“…she gave it some of the left over food. ‘Eat up little doll and listen to my tale of woe! I’m trapped in the house of the old witch and if I don’t get the work done she’ll eat me. Tell me what to do!’. The eyes of the doll began to light up and it said: ‘ Don’t be afraid, Vasilisa. I will take care of you. Say your prayers, and go to sleep. The morning is wiser than the evening’.
In the Russian fairytale “Vasilissa the Brave”, our heroine has to journey to the house of the great and terrible Baba Yaga in order to get light to bring home to her wicked step-mother and step-sisters. However, Vasilissa does not have to do it alone. She takes courage from the presence of a secret doll in her pocket that her mother made for her prior to her mother’s death. Vasilissa confides in the doll, feeds the doll, and in return, the doll offers encouragement, advice and help with the impossible tasks Baba Yaga sets before Vasilissa.
Worry dolls (also called trouble dolls) are very small and colorful dolls traditionally made in Guatemala. A person (usually a child) who cannot sleep due to worrying can express their worries to a doll and place it under their pillow before going to sleep. According to folklore, the doll is thought to worry in the person’s place, thereby permitting the person to sleep peacefully. The person will wake up without their worries, which have been taken away by the dolls during the night.