In the charming, provincial village of Castelcorbon, France, a meticulous schoolmaster who is also a bee-lover and a windbag accuses six of his students of stealing some honey from one of his hives. Although they protest their innocence, they are threatened with the punishment of a detention at school over a four day holiday. The six, some of whom have lively imaginations, rebel against this injustice by taking blood oaths, knighting themselves, and shouting ""blood and thunder"". They incarcerate themselves in the village fortress and hoist a red flag and remain inside their Bastille for 10 days. And a young newspaperman who has not done well in Paris furthers his career and makes the news with his reports of symbolic sieges, red flags and international intrigue, and the fracas is finally cleared up when the schoolmaster discovers his error.... A rather irritating and not very funny novel that is almost redeemed by a delightful, altogether successful, mouse.