Strange adventures have occurred with a young scientist named Christian-Theodore, who came to a small southern country to study history. He settled in a hotel, in a room where the storyteller Hans Christian Andersen lived before him. The master’s daughter Annunziata tells him about the extraordinary testament of the last local king. In it, he punished his daughter Louise not to marry the prince, but to find herself a good honest husband among the uncommunicative people. The will is considered a great mystery, but the whole city knows about it. The princess, to fulfill her father’s will, disappears from the palace. Many try to find her refuge in the hope of finding the royal throne.
Listening to the story, Christian Theodore is distracted all the time, because he looks at the balcony of the neighboring house, where now and then a pretty girl appears. In the end, he decides to talk to her, and then even confesses love and, it seems, finds a reciprocal feeling.
When the girl leaves the balcony, Christian Theodore guesses that his companion was a princess. He wants to continue the conversation, and he half-jokingly turns to his shadow at the feet, suggesting that she go instead of him to a stranger and say about his love, Suddenly, the shadow separates and ducks into the loosely casted door of the neighboring balcony. To the scientist it becomes bad. Running Annunziata notices that the guest has no more shadow, and this is a bad sign. She runs after the
But in the city everyone knows how to eavesdrop. That’s the journalist who entered the room, Caesar Borgia, discovers full awareness of the conversation between Christian-Theodore and the girl. Both he and Pietro are sure that this is a princess, and they do not want her to marry a visitor. According to Pietro, you need to find a runaway shadow, which, being the complete opposite of its master, will help prevent the wedding. Annunziata is full of anxiety for the future of the young man, because he secretly already loves him.
In the city park there is a meeting of two ministers. They gossip about the Princess and the Scientist. Decide that he is not a blackmailer, not a thief and not a cunning, but a simple naive person. But the actions of such people are unpredictable, so you have to either buy it or kill it. A stranger, an inert place suddenly appears next to them! “Everyone sees that Shadow hardly gets up, staggers and falls.” Recovering himself, the first minister orders the lackeys to take the king and summons the executioner to execute the scientist.
Annunziata begs Julia to do something to save him. She manages to awaken good feelings in the singer. Julia asks the Doctor to give her miraculous water, but the Doctor says that water under seven locks from the finance minister can not be obtained. Hardly Shadow and Louise return to the throne room, from afar the battle of drums comes: the execution has taken place. And suddenly the head of Shadow flies off his shoulders. The first minister understands that there was a mistake: they did not take into account that, having cut off the head of the Scientist, they would deprive him of his head and his shadow. To save the Shadow, the Scientist will have to be resurrected. Hastily sent for living water. The Shadow’s head is again in place, but now Shadow is trying to please his former owner in everything, because he wants to live. Louise indignantly dismisses the former bridegroom. The shadow slowly descends from the throne and, wrapped in a mantle, is pressed against the wall. The princess orders the chief of the guard: “Take him!” The Shadowguard grabs the Shadow, but they have an empty mantle in their hands – the Shadow disappears. “He disappeared to be on my way again and again, but I recognize him, I recognize him everywhere,” says Christian Theodore. The princess begs for forgiveness, but the Christian no longer loves her. He takes Annunziata by the hand, and they leave the palace.