Today I get to visit Black Hen, or Living Underground, one of the most successful Russian fairy tales written by Antony Pogorelsky (the tale was a favorite of Tolstoy's). You can probably liken it to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in terms of the imagination and the success. It was published in 1829, three years before Lewis Carroll was born. In a way it was Russian "Alice", only about a boy named Alyosha.
Alyosha goes to a boarding school in St. Petersburg and there saves a black hen from a cook's knife. As a reward the hen leads him into an underground world populated by little people. Their their king gives Alyosha a magical seed that can grant him one wish. Alyosha wishes to never do homework. Needless to say, the story goes sour. Alysha turns arrogant, loses the seed, gets punished by the teacher, and spills the secret. The little people move out, and Alyosha studies diligently without magic now, so you can see the moral of the story. Thankfully, magic overrides it. (You can read the whole story in Russian here.)
There are tons of illustrated editions of the book, and I can't decide whose illustrations I like more.