Tzarevnas of the Underground Kingdom
tumbled down through the shaft and lay
stunned in the darkness of the bottom
of the shaft. He was unable to move
for two days. When he had recovered
enough to be able to go on, he was in
despair - how would he find a way out?
Hot tears rolled down his cheeks as
he stumbled along, wondering which tunnel
took a different one this time, hoping
that it was the right one. This tunnel
was very gradual and twisting and he
half walked, half slid over piles of
rocks. The roof of the tunnel was low
in places and he had to crawl on his
hands and knees for some time.
a while the tunnel seemed to grow wider
and soon he was standing in a gigantic
cave, which seemed to be part of a different
world altogether. Although it was dark,
he could see fairly well. As the sky
was full of low lying cloud, he could
not tell whether there were any stars,
or even a moon in that kingdom.
He was standing in a forest clearing
on the edge of a swamp. It was damp
the wind blew cold so he so that he
was forced to keep on moving to stay
warm. Mushrooms of all sorts and shapes
covered the ground.
he came across a tiny old man with a
long white beard sitting on a strangely
shaped tree root. He told him everything
that had befallen him. The little old
man pointed a gnarled finger towards
an oak grove:
'Do you see that round tower behind
looked in direction the old man was
pointing and above the trees he could
see the top of a high, narrow tower
in the distance.
in that tower lives the tall sorcerer;
his head almost touches the roof. He
will tell you how to get back to Russia.'
thanking the little old man Ivan hurried
towards the tower of the tall sorcerer.
As he approached it he saw what he thought
looked like fluffy, white wisps of smoke
drifting out of the tiny window at the
top of the tower.
As he opened the door of the tower,
a cloud of silver gossamer particles
floated out into his face. He felt as
if he had walked into a thousand miniature
spider's webs. He wiped the tiny silken
threads from his face as best as he
could and tried hard to stop sneezing
before he went in.
the door opened outwards, for although
the tower was tall, it was extremely
narrow and Ivan had to press himself
flat against the wall once inside, as
there was barely enough room for one
person to stand up. It was fortunate
that the tall sorcerer was as thin as
he was tall.
tall sorcerer stood there combing his
long silver beard with an ivory comb.
His wispy silver hair was as long as
his beard and on top his head he had
a shiny bald patch where it touched
the ceiling. The brown sack-like robes
he wore were almost entirely covered
with a thick coating of fine silver
He stopped combing his beard when he
saw Ivan and began to clean his comb,
blowing several small clouds of hair
out through the window. More hair clouds
drifted about the room, getting everywhere.
clouds of them floated all araound the
sorcerer's head , so that Ivan could
not see all of his face at the same