Tots, the courageous kokle-player, fights the devils. Music and human resourcefulness take the upper hand in the eternal conflict between good and evil, day and night, and the beautiful girl Lelde is rescued from the afterworld.
The story takes place in a magical world of the past
PART I ACT 1
A wedding celebration for Lelde and Zemgus. The guests include the musician Tots, who can play any song, and mummers, among them the three soothsayers-the Witch, the Blind Man and the Lame Man. As Tots sings "I played and danced my whole life through", the melodies of his songs enchant Lelde with a new sense of freedom. The Witch predicts Lelde's death and the prediction soon comes true-and at the exact moment of Lelde's death, all of the strings on Tots' kokle break. The Witch reveals how to defeat the Lord of the Dead, the evil being who robbed Lelde of her life and three drops of blood.
Tots leaves for the cemetery to uncover what dark powers hold Lelde and to bring her back to life. Tots turns to Mother Earth and begs for Lelde's return. The voice of the Mole Cricket calls to Tots from underground, telling Tots his music contains all the world's happiness and powers. The Mole Cricket then gives Tots a string made of root for his kokle. At the cemetery, Tots learns from the dead that Lelde can be saved with the help of the Candle of the Dead, which is kept by the Three-headed Demon King in hell. But to be brought back to life Lelde must be given back the three drops of blood taken by the Lord of the Dead.
Hell. Lord of the Dead has now risen from the grave. By claiming to be dead himself, Tots is able to convince the Lord of the Dead to take him along to the Demon King's feast. Tots now entertains the devils and witches with his music and wit. Tots gets a devil's tail to use as a string for his kokle. The more strings his kokle has, the more melodious it sounds. Lelde sleeps underground, but because she hasn't even been in hell for an entire night the devils have no power over her. They let her go, but Lelde is only half alive and too weak. Tots begins to play his ancient song in desperation. To thank Tots for his music and jokes, the devils and witches retrieve the three blood drops from the Lord themselves, but the drops spill onto the ground and are lost. Tots continues to play and his song worries the Demon King, who suddenly feels like he is no longer all-powerful. It is Tots who now has the power to join opposing elements, to fight off all darkness and turn it into an unbeatable power.
The dead help Tots by making him a Candle of the Dead. Tots returns to the land of the living-he holds the Candle of the Dead in one hand and Lelde by the other. But the Candle of the Dead wasn't given to him just to save Lelde; Tots must bring the memory of all those who have passed into the present and future.
PART II ACT 3
The people anxiously await the return of Tots and Lelde. The three soothsayers tell of the Demon King's feast. Tots returns with Lelde, but she cannot wake up because she still needs the three drops of blood. Tots lights the Candle of the Dead and starts to play his kokle in despair. The sun suddenly shines upon them and Lelde wakes, but can't regain her strength. The Blind Man tells Tots that he must sacrifice himself to save her. Tots cannot decide what to do, but when Zemgus refuses to sacrifice his own blood for Lelde, Tots stabs himself in the chest with a knife. Tots puts three drops of his blood from the knife to the wound on Lelde's neck. "You can take and you can be given to; what is given cannot be taken back!" Lelde is revived. At first Tots' song can still be heard, but then it stops as if it never existed. Only the Mole Cricket can be heard singing that the musician lives on...