Thirteen-year-old Hans Christian Andersen, the son of a poor shoemaker in Odense, Denmark, is an incurable daydreamer. His father tells him about a legendary Garden of Paradise, and one day Chris runs away to find it. In an abandoned boat he meets The Sandman; and before long, young Chris is dreaming of Father Neptune's realm under the sea. There, The Little Mermaid falls in love with him, but, failing to win Chris's love, she is left stranded on a rock. Chris next visits The Emperor's palace and witnesses the old ruler being tricked by two tailors into believing his nakedness is actually a magnificent set of robes. After being magically reduced to the tiny size of Thumbelina and escaping from the evil Rat and Mole, Chris finally enters the Garden of Paradise. Puck, a boy who looks very much like Chris, persuades him to eat from the Tree of Knowledge, and he is plunged into the Valley of Nothingness. Chris awakens from his bad dream and is joyfully reunited with his father. The Sandman makes a last appearance to suggest that perhaps Chris found his own Garden of Paradise through the wonderful tales; Chris ponders his adventures and finally writes them down on paper.