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.
With that she swept on, and in an instant stamped again. "Open thy eyes! What dost thou see?"
"I see behind me," said Mirko, "a faint light, in front of me is darkness so dense that when I hold my finger before my eyes I cannot see it".
"Well, we must go through that also; shut thy eyes and hold firmly".
She sped on anew, and again stamped. "Open thy eyes! What dost thou see now?"
"I see," said Mirko, "the most glorious, light, beautiful, snow-covered mountains, and in the midst of them a silken meadow; in the centre of the silken meadow something dark".
"This silken meadow," said the steed, "belongs to the Hero of the Plain; and the dark object in the middle is his tent, woven from black silk. Now close thy eyes or not as may please thee. We shall go there directly." Mirko spurred the steed, and they were at the tent in a twinkle.
Mirko sprang from his steed and left her at the tent by the side of that of the Hero of the Plain, and entered himself. Within lay a warrior stretched on the silken grass, sleeping; but a sword above him was cutting around in every direction,- so that a fly could not light on his body. "Well," thought Mirko to himself, "though he be a good warrior I could slay him in slumber; but it would not be honorable to slay a sleeping man. I will wait till he rises." Then he went out and tied his steed fast to the tent, near the other, stretched himself on the silken grass, and called: "Sword out of thy sheath!" and the sword cut around above him, as his sword above the Hero of the Plain, so that a fly could not touch his body.
When the Hero of the Plain woke up and saw that a horse was tied near his own, he marvelled, and said: "What does this mean? I am here seven hundred years, and I have not seen a strange horse near mine before. Whose can this be?" He rose, went out, and saw Mirko sleeping near the tent with the sword cutting above him. "That," said he, "is an honest warrior; he has not slain me while sleeping. It would not become me to touch him now".
Then he pushed the foot of the sleeping hero with his own. Mirko jumped up straightway, and the Hero of the Plain asked: "Who art thou, and on what journey?" Mirko told whose son he was, and what his journey. "God has brought thee, dear younger brother," said the Hero; "thy father is my old friend, and thou, I see, art as good as thy father. But I have need of thee. This great silken meadow which thou seest, is every day filled with enemies, and every day I cut them down; but to-day as thou art with me, we shall not hurry. Come, let us eat and drink; let them crowd." Then the two went in, ate and drank till the enemy had so increased that they reached almost to the tent. The Hero of the Plain sprang then to his feet and said: "Up, my comrade, we'll soon finish." Both leaped into their saddles and rushed to the centre of the enemy, crying out, "Sword from the sheath!" The swords hewed off the heads of the countless multitude, so there was scarcely room to move for bodies. Twelve of the opposing warriors now flee from the rear, the Hero of the Plain and Mirko pursuing. They come to a glass mountain; the twelve warriors rushing ahead. Mirko pursues in hot haste. On the top of the mountain there is a nice, level space; he sees them running upon it. He gallops after them; but all at once they are as if the ground had swallowed them. Mirko springs to the place where they disappear, finds a breach and a deep opening with winding steps. His steed rushes into the opening and down the stairs; they are soon in the lower world.
Mirko looks around the lower world and sees a shining diamond castle, which serves instead of the sun down there. The twelve fleeing warriors rush towards the castle, he after them, and ordering his sword out of the sheath, cuts off their heads in a moment. The next instant Mirko stands before the diamond castle. Within, there is such a clatter and pounding that the whole interior trembles and shivers. He dismounts and enters. Inside is an old witch weaving, and the racket is deafening. The building is full of armed men. The infernal old witch weaves them. When she throws her shuttle to the right, two hussars spring out on horseback; when she throws it to the left, two men on foot jump out armed.
Meanwhile Sword out of the Sheath cuts down the newly made soldiers, but the old witch weaves more. "Well," thinks Mirko to himself, "I shall never get out of here, at this rate;" but he commands the sword, and it cuts the old witch into small pieces. Then he carries the loom into the yard, where there is a pile. He throws everything on the pile and sets fire to it; but when all is burned one of the old witch's ribs springs out, begins to turn round in the dust, and she rises up again entire. Again Mirko is going to command the sword to cut her to pieces, but she speaks up, "Spare my life, Mirko, and await one good deed for another, if thou wilt let me go. Thou dost not know how to escape from here; I will give thee four diamond horse-shoe nails. Do as I say; thou wilt profit by it".
Mirko takes the nails and puts them away, but says to himself: "If I leave the old witch alive, she will put up her loom again, and the Hero of the Plain will never be able to free himself from his enemies." Again he orders his sword to cut the old witch in pieces; he throws the pieces into the fire, where they are consumed, so that she can never rise again. He mounts his steed and searches the underground world, but nowhere does he find a living soul.
Then he puts spurs to his steed, springs up the circular stairs, and issues forth into the upper world. Straightway he comes down from the glass mountain, and passing over the silken meadow, returns to the Hero of the Plain, who thought Mirko had left him. But when he saw his friend returning, he went out to meet him with great joy, and took him into the tent, where they feasted together gloriously. And when the prince rose to go, he offered him his silken meadow and all the royal domains; but Mirko answered: "My dear elder brother, I have finished thy enemies; they will never attack thy kingdom again. I have this now to ask, that thou come with me to my father the king, who has long been waiting for thee".