The tale begins when a father promises a lark to his youngest daughter and then must make a hard bargain with its owner, a lion. To fulfill that agreement, the young woman returns to the lion's enchanted castle. She discovers that he is a lion by day and a handsome prince by night. The two fall in love, marry, and live happily until the lady desires to return home for a visit. Long's oil paintings on watercolor paper are appropriately lavish and romantic, rich with color and detail. The endpapers are covered with elaborate line drawings of vines and animals, and ornate, stylized borders frame each page. Long and Ogburn emphasize the heroine's strength of character: she honorably carries out her father's promise and greets the lion, noting: "A lion that loves birds will do no harm." The beast is ultimately transformed through the magic of human love, along with the heroine's perseverance.