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The hero of our story, let's call him little Klaus, is rudely interrupted by his mother while reading a book at his father's studio. It's no ordinary book, it's one of little Klaus' favourites, an old, beautifully illustrated and miniated manuscript which has a great deal of fantastic creatures and beasts drawn all over it. Klaus' mother wants him to go to the attic and fetch the picture of his aunt, the black sheep of the family, who is coming over for lunch. Klaus goes and never comes back again, because peeking out from the attic window he suddenly realizes that the whole world has been drowned by an incredible tide.