A grey-bearded stranger comes and goes from here. He stamps the ground three times with his left foot and I open a secret door. Then he comes down from above and enters my thick darkness.

Here, the earth and water, trees and plants, birds and beasts are only pale reflections of the world above. The birds do not sing, the dogs do not bark. The oxen toil but they do not bellow. Here, the streams flow noiselessly over their pebbled beds, and no one breaks the silence.

Underworld Speaking in The Grateful Prince, Violet Fairy Book. Picture by Paul Landacre.