The cumulative effect of Hortense's far flung adventures, written in deceptively casual form by the author of Alphonse, That Bearded One and The Talking Cat, is very funny. From a Normandy farm owned by a Countess in Marie Antoinette's day, Hortense wanders off looking for her calf. She is captured by pirates who are captured by one of the King's ships which is subsequently wrecked off Africa. Among the Arabs, Hortense fascinates an itinerant French botanist who thinks she is a gnu and is amazed at her remarkable likeness to a cow. When Hortense eats all the rare plants the botanist planned to take back to the King, he takes her, a rare animal, instead. Of course Hortense ends up in the Petit Trianon where Marie Antoinette, playing milkmaid, is delighted with the new addition to her famous menage. More and more laughable as the events pile up.