Traditional Russian folk legend says that on their way to Bethlehem to find the baby Jesus, the three wise men passed by Baboushka's home during a fierce storm. Cold, hungry, and unable to see the star that was guiding them to the manger, they knocked on her door and asked for a place to shelter from the storm. The kind old woman welcomed them in, fed them, and gave them a place to sleep for the night.
In the morning, after the storm had passed, the wise men prepared to continue their journey. They invited Baboushka to join them, saying that they were going to see a great king born in the East. Baboushka refused; she was an old woman, she said, and could not make such a journey. Besides, what king would care to receive her as a guest?
The wise men bade farewell to Baboushka and continued on their journey. As soon as they were out of sight, however, Baboushka was overcome with an immense feeling of regret. How could she have passed up such an opportunity! She hurriedly packed what little things she needed and ran down the road after the wise men. The road was long, though, and difficult, and she never did catch up. To his day, they say, she wanders the roads searching for the newborn king and giving gifts to all the little children she meets.