In the distant eastern country of Dalmeria, where the Sultan had just one wife and the women wore no veils, lived the prince Merimond whose marvelous adventures, besides teaching him judgment and self control, are written with the kind of color and irony that a fanciful ten year old will love. Bequeathed at birth with two gifts, a good nature and power, Merimond soon manages to create uproars- always strangely explainable ones when he exercises the latter. The ships with the rats on them could have been blown into the harbour by accident; the tax man might have been on his way to tell the Sultan about the budget surplus. By the time Merimond is grown, things are in a muddle. His mother visits the Sybils who had made the bequests, and is told Merimond must find things out for himself. Then Merimond starts modelling clay, makes a statue of his mother and in doing so, discovers the pleasure of activity for its own sake.