This section is from the book "Myths And Folk-Tales Of The Russians, Western Slavs, And Magyars", by Jeremiah Curtin. Also available from Amazon: Myths and Folk-Tales of the Russians, Western Slavs, and the Magyars.
Now they journeyed and travelled through forty-nine kingdoms, till at last Miklos saw from a distance that an unmercifully great mouth, one jaw of which was on earth and the other thrown up to the heavens, was nearing them like the swiftest storm, so that they had barely time left to run into the door of the Lead Friend's house. And a thousand-fold was their luck that they got in; for the unmercifully great mouth stood before the threshold of the Lead Friend, so that whoever should go out would fall into it, and be swallowed that minute.
"Hei! good Lead-Melting Friend," said Miklos, "hast thou much molten lead? I will pay thee for it in honest coin".
"Haho! my friend Kiss Miklos, I know thee; in my world-beautiful life I have ever heard thy fame. Long have I been waiting for thee. It is well that thou art here, - that thou hast entered my door, - for thou wilt never go a step farther from me".
"Oh! for God's sake," said Kiss Miklos, "do not pass thy own threshold, for straightway the mother of the dragons will swallow thee with her great mouth".
The Lead-Melting Friend went out of his chamber, saw the great mouth of the mother of the dragons, and went back in terror to his chamber, where he said this to Kiss Miklos: "Oh, my good friend Kiss Miklos, give counsel. What are we to do? '
"Hast thou much molten lead?"
"Not much, only eighteen tons; it is out there in the caldron boiling.
Knowest thou what? I will say one thing and two will come of it. Let us take the handles of that great caldron and pour its contents into the great mouth of the mother of the dragons".
Here, 'pon my soul! the Lead-Melting Friend put one handle on his shoulder, Kiss Miklos the other on his, brought the unmercifully great caldron to the threshold, and poured the eighteen tons of boiling lead into the old witch's mouth. The boiling lead burned up the stomach of the mother of the dragons, and straightway she breathed out her cursed soul.
So Kiss Miklos was freed from the mother of the dragons; but, poor fellow, he was like one that goes from the pail into the barrel, for the Lead-Melting Friend caught his Grace by the neck and took him, as he would a straw, to the chamber, where he found this to say, -
"Look here, my good friend Kiss Miklos, in my world-beautiful life I have ever heard thy fame; therefore let us struggle now and see who is stronger, thou or I." With that the Lead Friend put only his little finger on Kiss Miklos; from that he began to sink, and went down through the lead floor of the chamber the distance of an ell.
"Kiss Miklos, my friend, dost thou wish to fight with me?" asked the Lead Friend. "Thou sayest nothing, so I see that thou dost not; therefore this is my word and speech: I will keep thee in endless slavery unless thou bring me the Green Daughter of the Green King. But ye," and he turned to the two brothers, "ye may go home in gentle quietness, and take with you the steeds of the moon and the sun, on which are the bright moon and the shining sun, for of them I have no need".
Here our Miklos, in the midst of bitter tear-shedding, took farewell of his dear brothers. They held on their way homeward, and arrived there in health. Great was the rejoicing in the kingdom that the poor man's sons, as their father had bequeathed them on his death-bed, brought home the bright moon and the shining sun. Therefore the king assembled all that were in his dominions of dukes, counts, barons, lords, lord's sons, chosen gypsies, and broad-brimmed, country-dressed Slovaks; of these he sought council and asked, "What do brothers deserve who have brought home the bright moon and the shining sun?"
To this question then they answered, "Our high lord, the one who has brought back the steed of the sun, and on it the bright shining sun, deserves to be king of the country, and he who has brought home the steed of the bright moon, and on it the fair moon, to be viceroy; and each one of them should receive as wife a daughter of thy Highness".
So it was done. The poor man's eldest son became king, and the second son viceroy; and each one of them got a maiden princess as wife. Then they let out the steed of the bright moon and the steed of the shining sun on the highway of the heavens, but both the moon and the sun shone sadly. For this reason they shone sadly: that he was without merited reward who had really freed them from the dragons, for Kiss Miklos was now in never-ending slavery to the Lead Friend.
Once the Lead Friend called Miklos and found this to tell him: "Well, Miklos, if thou wilt bring me the Green Daughter of the Green King, I will let thee go free, and I will strike from thee the three-hundred-pound ring and the twelve-hundred-pound chain. 'Therefore, good friend Miklos, I advise thee to start in the morning with the bright shining sun, and bring to me my heart's desire".
Now our Miklos moved on the road again, and a long one too; whether there will be an end to it, only the good God knows. And as he travelled and journeyed across forty-nine kingdoms, and beyond that, and still farther, at the foot of a great mountain was a little hill, and as a shot arrow, as the swiftest whirlwind, ran towards him a man who was always crying, "Out of my way! out of my way!" This was Swift Runner, who stood still in a moment, like a pillar, before Miklos, and asked, "Whither, whither, Kiss Miklos? for in my world-beautiful life I have ever heard thy fame".
"Haho! Swift Runner, better thou hadst not asked. I am going for the Green Daughter of the Green King. Hast thou ever heard of her?"
"I have not heard. I speak not of that, but of this: take me with thee, for thou wilt get good of me somewhere".
"Well, come on thy own legs, if it please thee".
They travelled and journeyed after that, two of them, till they came to the sea-shore, and saw a man who was drinking the sea to the last drop, just as I would drink a cup of water; and then he cried out unceasingly: "Oh, I'm thirsty! Oh, I'm thirsty!' This was Great Drinker who, when he saw Miklos, went to him and said: "God's good-day, famous Kiss Miklos; for in my world-beautiful life I have ever heard thy fame".