Princess Niamh (pronounced Nee-EHV) is so incredibly beautiful and purehearted that no potential suitor can approach her without going mad. This presents a serious problem for the king and the queen since the continuation of the royal line is threatened. They search for a bridegroom far and wide and discover that their only hope is the mysterious Hermit who is rumored to have the lion's head and tail, the eagle's wings, and the saint's heart. Since he lives far away, Niamh and the Hermit begin their acquaintance by correspondence. They get to know each other through letters and fall in love.
Everyone is excited in happy anticipation of the Hermit's arrival except for an evil Count. He has plans of his own and therefore opposes the match. Having deceived the princess, he causes her to lose her beauty. Niamh is so disfigured that her father, the king, fails to recognize her and unknowingly banishes her from the kingdom. Niamh flees just before the Hermit arrives. The Hermit is heartbroken, but not defeated. He decides to find Niamh and embarks on a search.
This report prepared by Laura Southcombe