From England to the Greek island of Corfu moved the family of Darrell, the widow of Mrs. Darrell and her four children: writer Larry twenty-three years old, nineteen-year-old amateur hunting Leslie, eighteen-year-old Margot and ten-year-old Jerry, who has been addicted to animals since birth. Suffering from the climate of foggy Albion, Darrell at the initiative of Larry hope to improve their health on the sunny island.
In Corfu, Darrell is greeted by the driver of Spiro, who is respected by the local population, who becomes a devoted friend of the family. Spiro helps Darellam settle problems with the customs and bank and rent a small house of strawberry-pink color with a garden and a bathroom.
The Darrells are gradually settling in a new place. Mrs. Darrell does housework, Larry writes books, Leslie hunts, Margot flirts with local guys, and Jerry with his dog Roger studies the nature of the island. The garden becomes for Jerry the real magic country. All day long the boy watches various insects, from the surrounding groves he hears the ringing of cicadas. Once Jerry finds a nest earwig. He puts his protection around him and watches him. But the boy is not lucky: the cubs appear at night. Every morning, Jerry, after taking Roger, goes to explore the island. Local people are friendly towards the boy, call him “little lord”, invite to his guests and treat him with various delicacies.
One day, Jerry buys a small turtle and calls it Achilles. Home
Darrell believes that Jerry needs to be educated, and Larry hires a tutor, his friend-writer. He tries to teach Jerry French language, mathematics, history, geography, but the boy is only interested in animals. Once the tutor introduces Jerry to the famous scientist, Dr. Theodore Stephanides, who is as keen on zoology as the boy. Despite the difference in age and in knowledge, a strong friendship is fastened between Theodore and Jerry. Now they are exploring the island together. The boy is struck by the depth of knowledge and erudition of his new friend, who will not exchange for anything in the world.
Spring comes. Driver Spyro learns that Margot meets with the Turk, and indignantly informs Mrs. Darrell about this. The mother invites the young man to visit. The Darrells are supportive of the admirer of Margot, but when he invites her to the movies, Mrs. Darrell decides to go with them. The evening turns out to be unsuccessful, and Margo leaves the young man.
Darrell waiting for the arrival of friends Larry. The house is too small for guests, and the family moves to a large pale yellow mansion. Mrs. Darrell, Margot and Jerry go to town. On that day, the relics of St. Spyridion, the patron saint of the island, are exposed. A crowd of pilgrims carries them to the coffin, and Margot, whom her mother did not have time to warn, passionately kisses the saint’s feet, asking to save her from acne. The next day she falls ill with flu.
Jerry with dog Roger explore a new garden. Swallows live under the cornice of the house, and the boy watches how the families of these birds behave differently. The tutor leaves, and Jerry is free, he again explores the island all day long. One day he sees turtles coming out of the ground after hibernation. The boy watches their marriage games, and his collection is replenished with a turtle egg. In the meantime, Larry’s friends come to the house.
In the garden, Jerry finds a dilapidated wall, in the cracks of which there are many insects. They are hunted by toads and geckos. But most of all the boy is attracted by scorpions. Once he finds a large female scorpion with cubs. Jerry puts his booty in a matchbox, which opens the unsuspecting Larry. In the house a terrible stir rises, Roger bites the maid by the leg, and Larry has a fear of matchboxes.
Soon Jerry finds a teacher of French, a Belgian consul, a great lover of cats. The consul lives in a poor area of the city and during the lesson often shoots a window with a gun, mercilessly destroying homeless and sick cats who can not help anything. The lessons of French, on which Jerry misses, inspire him to new studies with Dr. Theodore, and Mrs. Darrell invites him another teacher, a student. Most often the tutor gives Jerry the task, and he goes for a walk with Margot.
Jerry brings into the house a chick owl, whom, to the surprise of the boy, is kindly greeted by the domestic. With the onset of summer, the whole family bathes at night in the bay. Jerry meets in the sea a flock of dolphins. The summer sea phosphoresces, and fireflies flying out from olive groves swirl over it.
Jerry’s birthday is coming. The family fulfills all his orders, especially the boy is grateful to Leslie – he made a boat for his brother, on which it is possible to survey small islands located near Corfu. Guests give birthday boy two puppies.
Mrs. Darrell notes that the relationship between Margo and the tutor Jerry has gone too far, and the student is counting. Margot believes that her life is broken, and Jerry is happy that he was left without a teacher.
With the onset of winter, the hunting season begins. Leslie is proud of his ability to shoot accurately, but Larry believes that a great mind is not needed. Offended Leslie takes his brother with him to hunt, but he misses and falls into a ditch. Having caught cold, the hapless hunter drinks a couple of bottles of brandy and falls asleep in the room where the mother lit a fireplace. At night, a fire begins. Without getting out of bed, Larry gives instructions, and when the fire is extinguished, states that it is not actions that are important, but the work of the brain, and if not for him, then everyone would be burned in their beds.
The Darrells are moving to a small white house. In the new place, Jerry studies the mantis living in the garden. He watches the war between them and the geckos. One of the geckos settles in his bedroom and leads a girlfriend. From the next walk Jerry brings home two huge toads, one of which accidentally eats a female gecko.
Mrs. Darrell finds Jerry the next teacher, an elderly man with a hump similar to a dwarf. To interest the boy, he is informed that the tutor is a big fan of birds. The teacher leads the boy into a huge room, where all the walls are hung from floor to ceiling with cages with a variety of birds. Jerry seems like he’s in paradise.
Despite the general fascination, the tutor seriously engaged with Jerry, for whom the lessons are excruciating and uninteresting. The boy is quickened only when he helps the teacher with the birds. Soon Jerry learns that his mentor lives with his mother, who breeds flowers and believes that plants talk, just not everyone can hear them.
From the next walk Jerry brings two young magpies. Larry and Leslie are wary of the brother’s new acquisition, believing that Magpies steal money and jewelry. Soon the chicks begin to walk around the house. Especially they are attracted by Larry’s room, in which they are not allowed. Once, in the absence of the host, the chicks get in there and turn everything upside down. Jerry decides to build a cage for the chicks and asks his teacher to help. The tutor likes to tell incredible stories in which he saves a certain lady from various ills. Telling one of the stories, he admits that he owns the methods of fighting, and Jerry asks him to teach. Trying to repeat the reception, Jerry unsuccessfully pushes the teacher, and he falls, breaking his ribs.
Mrs. Darrell inadvertently leads into the house of the terrier, an incredibly stupid dog with a sick back leg. The leg always leaves the joint, and the terrier produces heartbreaking cries. The dog walks on the heels of Mrs. Darrell and howls when she leaves the house. Soon the terrier gives birth to a puppy and is torn between him and his mistress. Now Mrs. Darrell walks out, accompanied by four dogs and a maid with a puppy on the pillow. This procession Larry calls “mother circus.”
Once during the walk, Jerry finds two water snakes. Trying to catch them, he gets acquainted with the prisoner who killed his wife, but for good behavior can go on weekends home. He gives the boy his seagull and invites to night fishing. Larry is horrified at both the new acquaintance of Jerry and the new bird, believing that this is not a seagull, but an albatross bringing misfortune to the house.
The Darrells are preparing for a big reception. Jerry dreams of a new acquisition for his zoo – goldfish, and Spiro catches them in a pond near the royal residence. The heat from the heat gets worse, and Jerry releases them into a cool bath. The guests arrive. Leslie, who has come from hunting, goes to take a bath and soon jumps out to the guests with a heart-rending cry of “Snake!”. Larry explains that in their house every box is fraught with danger, and tells how he suffers from his brother’s animals. In confirmation of his words, one of the guests bites the seagull sitting under the table, and the dogs arrange a fight over the terrier.
The teacher informs Mrs. Darell that he gave Jerry all his knowledge. Despite the fact that Jerry wants to remain semi-educated, the Darrells decide to return to England to give him an education. The crying Spiro, the tutor and Theodore escort them. At the sight of numerous cells with animals, one of the border guards writes in the questionnaire: “The mobile circus and the staff of employees.”