The Tzarevnas of the Underground Kingdom

Page 3

Ivan wasn't allowed to go and he didn't like that one bit. He pestered his parents until they finally gave in. The next morning they changed their minds again, but it was too late: Ivan had already set out on his journey.

On the road he met the dragon, who asked: 'Where are you going?'

'My brothers wanted to marry, but they couldn't find a wife - now it's my turn.'

With raised eyebrows, (somewhat hairy, by the way!) the dragon asked: 'Do you really expect to pass the test?'

'Why not?' answered Ivan.

'You know your brothers failed?'

'I want to pass the test.' was Ivan's reply.

'Come with me then,' said the dragon. At last they came to the black stone and the dragon told Ivan to try to move it.

'You mean this thing?' said Ivan, kicking it carelessly aside with the toe of his boot.

'Yes, that's just what I did mean!'

'But why couldn't my brothers manage it?,' said Ivan. He noticed that the stone been covering a deep opening in the ground.

'Perhaps they were trying too hard,' replied the dragon.

'I wonder how deep it is?' Ivan threw himself onto the ground and peered down over the edge. The sides of the shaft went straight down, like the sides of a well and ended in darkness.

With a shiver Ivan rolled back quickly away from the edge and asked the dragon:

'What's down there?'

'What? Down that shaft? Why, the underground realms of course!'

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