A mountain lawn with a small hut under an overhanging rock. At the edge of the well sits a young Rautendelein, a creature from the fairies world, and combs his thick reddish-golden hair. Leaning over the edge of the frame, she calls Water. She is bored, Grandma Wittich went to the forest, you see, the time passes by the chatter faster. Watery not in the spirit, he was tired of ridicule and taunts of a charming prankster. Rautendeleyn encourages Leshego to entertain her, but he quickly annoys her with her annoying courtship. The girl is hiding in the hut.
Goblin boasts of how fortunate his last amusement was. Above the precipice, people built a new church. Eight horses carried a bell to her on the cart, and he grabbed the wheel, the bell staggered, rushed down the rocks with a ringing and rumble and drowned in the lake. If it had not been for him, Leshnoy, he’d have been swift, would have tortured them all with his unbearable howl.
Appears exhausted, weakened Henry, the bell-maker, and falls on the grass near the hut. He broke into the abyss, where he miraculously got out, and then lost his way. Old Witticha, coming back from the forest, stumbles upon Henry. Only this was not enough, and so there is no life from the pastor and the burgomaster, and if it turns out that there is a dead man, they can easily burn a hut. She instructs Rautendelein to bring an armful of hay and more comfortable to arrange lying, give him a drink. Henry’s waking up is struck
The Pastor, the Barber and the Teacher appear, they are perplexed – Henry fell into the abyss, and screams for help for some reason came from above, they hardly climbed up here in steep slopes. Pastor in despondency: such a wonderful bright God’s feast, and so it ended. The barber, looking around, calls to quickly leave the clearing – this is a damned place, and there is a hut of the old witch. The teacher says that he does not believe in witchcraft. They hear lying Henry lying, but they can not approach him, they come across a vicious circle. And then Rautendelein, frightening them, sweeps past with a devilish laughter. The pastor decides to overcome the insidiousness of Satan and decisively knocks at the door of the hut. Wittich does not want unnecessary trouble, removes sorcery, let him take his master, but he will not live long. And the skill is not painfully strong, The sound of the last bell was bad, and he alone knew this and was tormented. Henry is put on a stretcher and carried away. Rautendeleyin can not understand what is happening to her. She cries, she explains, it’s tears. She is attracted to the world of people, but it will turn into ruin. People are miserable slaves, and she is a princess, he once again calls her to his wife. But Rautendelein rushes to the valley, to the people.
The house of the founder of the bells of master Heinrich. His wife Magda pins two young sons, going to church. The neighbor tries not to hurry, the church in the mountains is visible from the window, but there is no white flag that was going to be raised as soon as the bell is hung. They say that everything is not all right there. Alarmed Martha leaves the children in her care and hurries to her husband.
The house is brought on a stretcher of Henry. The pastor comforts Magda: the doctor said that there is hope. He became a victim of the feces of hell, who, fearing the holy bell, tried to destroy the master. Magda asks everyone to leave, gives her husband water. He, feeling close end, says goodbye to his wife, asks her forgiveness for everything. The last bell he failed, he would have sounded bad in the mountains. And it would be a shame for the master, it’s better to die. So he abandoned his life after a bad creature. The pastor advises Magda to go to the witch doctor Findecle. In the house appears dressed as a servant Rautendelein with a basket of forest berries. Here is the girl and will sit while with the sick. Without wasting any time, Rautendelein starts to conjure. Heinrich wonders: where did he see this divine creature? Who is she? But Rautendelein herself does not know this – a forest grandmother found her in the grass, raised it.
Returning home, Magda is happy: her husband wakes up healthy, he is full of energy and hunger to create.
Abandoned smelting in the mountains. Water and Leshy are angry and jealous: Henry is cooking metals for days on end, and spends the nights in the arms of the beautiful Rautendelein. Leshiy does not miss the opportunity to pick up the girl: if he had not pushed the wagon, the noble falcon would not have got on its net. The Pastor comes, wants to bring back the lost sheep, witchcraft lured the pious man, the father of the family. Seeing Heinrich, Pastor is amazed at how beautiful he looks. Master enthusiastically tells what he is working on: he wants to create a game of bells, lay the foundation of a new church high in the mountains, and a jubilant, victorious clang will announce the birth of the day to the world. The pastor is outraged by the wickedness of the master’s thoughts, this is all the influence of the accursed sorceress. But there will come a day of remorse for him, he will hear the voice of the bell that drowned in the lake.
Henry is working in the smelter, urging his journeymen-gnomes. From fatigue, he plunges into sleep. Water grumbles – he decided to compete with God, and he is weak and pathetic! Henry is tormented by nightmares, it seems to him that the bell drowned in the lake sounds, trembles, and tries to rise again. He calls for help Rautendelein, she gently reassures the master, he is not threatened. Leshy meanwhile urged people to incite the smelter. In Rautendelein gets a stone, she calls the Water to wash people into the abyss by the streams of water, but he refuses: the master hates him, determined to reign over God and people. Heinrich fights with the advancing crowd, hurling burning buns and granite blocks. People are forced to retreat. Rautendelein encourages him, but Henry does not listen to her, he sees two boys climbing along a narrow mountain path barefoot, wearing only shirts. What do you have in a jug? he asks the sons. Tears of a mother lying among water lilies, – ghosts answer. Henry hears the sound of the drowned bell and, damning, drives Rautendelein away.
Lawn with Wittihi’s hut, Rautendelein, exhausted and mournful, descends from the mountains and rushes into the well in despair. Leshiy informs Vodyanoy that Henry threw the girl, and burned his smelting in the mountains. Happy with water, he knows who moved the dead language of the drowned bell – the drowned Marta.
Appears exhausted, completely ill Henry, sends curses to people who brought his wife to death, calls Rautendelein. He tries unsuccessfully to climb higher into the mountains. He himself pushed off a bright life from himself, the old woman growls, was called, but did not become elected, but now he is persecuted by people, and his wings are forever broken. Henry himself will not understand why he blindly and thoughtlessly obeyed the bell that he had created, and the voice that he himself had invested in him. It was necessary to break that bell, not to let it enslave itself. He begs the old woman to let him see Rautendeley before he dies. Wittich puts before him three cups with white, red and yellow wine. The first will drink – the strength will return to him, the second will drink – the light spirit will descend, but then he must drain the third cup. Henry drinks the contents of two cups. Appears Rautendelein – she became a mermaid. She does not want to recognize Henry and does not want to remember the past. He begs Rautendelein to help him get rid of the pain, to submit the last cup. Rautendelein embraces Henry, kisses him on the lips, then slowly lets go of the dying man.