Set in Germany sometime in the late 18th century where Mytyl (Shirley Temple), the bratty daughter of a woodcutter (Russell Hicks), finds a unique bird in the Royal Forest and selfishly refuses to give it to her sick friend. Mother and Father are mortified at Mytyl's behavior. That evening, Father is called on to report for duty the next morning in an unspecified war.
The play begins with the children already asleep and the dream about to begin. There is absolutely no depiction of the family's daily life, as there is in the 1940 film.