Tzarevnas of the Underground Kingdom
never heard of them - what are they?'
you know? Among others, the Copper Kingdom,
the Silver Kingdom and the Golden Kingdom.
In each kingdom there is a Tsarevna.'
'Well, that's nice to know!' said Ivan.
'So where's this wife I'm supposed to
marry when I pass the test?'
below! You must marry one of the Tsarevnas.'
one of them? No thanks! I'm not going
down into the underground realms! I
might be killed
the dragon roared out: 'That's what
you're here for Ivan! You must free
shaken at the dragon's sudden fierceness,
and wishing that he was safely back
at home, Ivan muttered:
'I'll have to think about it first.'
Hoping that the dragon would get bored
after a while and leave, he stood for
a while looking down the the shaft.
He noticed that at the sides of the
shaft there was a harness hanging down
from two long ropes.
'What's that?' he found himself asking
in spite of himself.
dragon answered: 'Climb into the harness
and I will let you down. If you don't
like the look of it, I'll pull you back
now curiosity getting the better of
him, Ivan decided to give it a try.
'But if I should pull twice on the ropes,
you must immediately pull me up!' he
told the dragon.
After giving Ivan his promise that he
would pull him back up if required,
the dragon let Ivan slowly down by the
Ivan swung down, down through the blackness
of the deep shaft, wondering if it was
ever going to end. He glanced up once
and caught a last glimpse of the light
that was the Russian
sky. He began to wonder if he would
ever see it again.
It became deadly quiet inside the shaft.
Crystals shimmered from the walls, although
there seemed little light to reflect.
He yelled to the dragon to draw him
back up again immediately, in his panic
quite forgetting that he was meant to
pull twice on the ropes. His own voice
echoed back to him down the shaft and
increased his terror. The harness began
to swing wildly. Any movements he made
only served to dash him roughly against
the sides of the shaft and pieces of
earth and rock tumbled down into the
depths of the pit.
listened for the sound of the rocks
hitting the bottom and heard nothing.
An awful thought occurred to him.