When king Ansgar's doctors declare him terminal, devoted youngest son prince Lennart sets out to find the legendary magical cure, the water of life. Being kind to ugly forest sorceress Salwa, who appeared as a beggar, he receives cryptic instructions. those prove necessary when he reaches he enchanted castle of princess Frederike, whose court and suitors are all petrified while she's a mere ghost. Lennart solves the riddles, earns the water and they fall in love, but he must rush home. His big brother Falk meanwhile also sets out, fails to find anything but bumps into Lennart, manages to steal the water and pretend he brought the cure, to convince the king to appoint him successor to the throne. Lennart can only stop him with proof, which may arrive in the person of his beloved.