Here below it was much warmer than on the wintry plain. The miner walked very fast, and trying to keep up for fear of losing him in the darkness, Bastian was soon covered with sweat. They twined their way over enfinity passages and galleries, which sometimes opened out into spacious vaults, as Bastian could tell by the echo of their footfalls. Several times Bastian bruised himself against jutting stones or wooden props, but Yor took no notice.
On this first day and for several that followed, the miner, by wordlessly guiding Bastian’s hand, instructed him in the art of separating the paper-thin leaves of isinglass from one another and picking them up. There were tools for the purpose, they felt like wooden or horn spatulas, but Bastian never saw them, for when the day’s work was done they stayed down in the mine.