The Blue Bird (1976) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • A pair of peasant children, Mytyl and her brother Tyltyl, are led on a magical quest for the fabulous Blue Bird of Happiness by the Fairy Berylune. On their journey, they are accompanied by the humanized presences of a Dog, a Cat, Light, Fire, Bread, and other entities.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • In rural Russia in the mid 1800s, Tyltyl and his little sister, Mytyl, come home late, soaking wet. When their mother learns they have disobeyed her and were playing by the river, she sends the children to bed without supper. After her woodcutter husband comes home, she relents and gives the children porridge, but finds them sleeping. Later in the night, fireworks awaken the children. They sneak out of the cottage and go to a wealthy home to watch beautifully dressed people skate, dance and feast. Mytyl wants to join them, but Tyltyl stops her.

    Returning home, they hear a yell and turn and see humpback witch dressed in a red shawl. She demands they give her the bluebird. Tyltyl shows her that their pet bird is black but the witch demands they find her the bluebird so she can give it to a sick little girl. To help them, she gives Tyltyl a cap with a diamond on the front and explains that by turning the diamond to the right, it will allow the wearer to see truth and the souls of everything animate or inanimate. When Tyltyl puts the cap on, the witch turns into a beautiful woman dressed in a white gown. She explains that she is "Light" and will help the children in their search for the bluebird. She then animates the soul of "Flame" and a dancer in red leaps from the fireplace. "Water" leaps from a pitcher and becomes a woman in blue. Flame and Water dance about the room as Light gives human form to "Bread", the "Maiden of Spilt Milk" and "Sugar". Sugar hands Tyltyl some candy that he feeds to their dog, Tylo, who turns into a hairy man. When Tylette, the cat, becomes a young woman, she warns the children that it is dangerous to seek the bluebird.

    Light waves her hands and the group is transported to a sunny wooden glen with three paths from which the children must choose. Tyltyl picks the one to his left and Light says that the path leads to the Land of Memory and only children can go there. Tyltyl and Mytyl walk through the mists of time and come to the cottage of their deceased grandparents who are sleeping on a bench. The grandparents wake and explain that they always sleep until someone remembers them. After a meal and a dance, the grandparents give the children their bluebird.

    Back at the wooden glen, Tylette tells Tylo and the elements that if humans find the bluebird, they will know everything and enslave all creatures. She explains that they must sabotage the children's search, but Tylo refuses, proclaiming that he loves humans and will kill Tylette if she interferes with the children's quest. When the children return to the glen, they find the bluebird has turned black. They let the bird go so it can return to their grandparents.

    Light now leads them to the Palace of "Night," but she is unable to enter. Light explains Night cannot refuse them entrance and must reveal all her secrets, but they must look behind every door. However, Tylette has run ahead to warn Night about the danger of the children finding the bluebird, and Night decides to frighten Tytyl and Mytyl so they will not open all the doors. When the children arrive, Night takes them to the Hall of Secrets and warns there are ghosts behind the first door. Tyltyl opens the door and ghosts fly out, but with Tylo's help, they force them back into their cell. Night begs the children not to open the second door as it contains war, but Tyltyl says he has no choice. As he peeks in, Tyltyl sees soldiers fighting and slams the door shut before war can break out.

    The third door is the Garden of Dreams, where the children find exotic plants which take human form and dance as a flock of bluebirds circle them. The birds land on the children and they leave the palace to find Light. When they find her, they realize all the birds are dead and Light explains they are only illusions. The children are broken-hearted, but press on. Tytyl leads the way and he sees a bejeweled woman on a white horse, then accepts her invitation to ride and leaves Mytyl behind. The woman tells Tytyl that he is "Luxury" and takes him to a circus tent full of music, acrobats, and food. Luxury points out his fellow Luxuries, including the "Luxury of Doing Nothing" and the "Luxury of Loving Oneself." Tyltyl asks Luxury which luxury is she, and she tells him he will know when he grows up. Mytyl and Light arrive at the circus to see Flame and Water dance a ballet that ends in a steamy embrace. When the troupe dances maniacally, Light tells Tyltyl to turn the diamond, and a huge wind blows away all the luxuries.

    As the wind dies down, the children see their mother dressed in radiant clothes, standing in a meadow. At first they do not recognize her, but she explains this is her true self, noting that all mothers are rich when they have children to love. Their mother then points out a bluebird and tells them to follow it so they run into the woods. However, Tylette has gone ahead to warn the trees that the woodcutter's children are coming and begs them to frighten the children off.

    When Tytyl arrives, Tylette tells him the trees are his friends and suggests he turn the diamond. When he does so, Tytyl sees the trees take human form and their king, the Oak, steps forward with a bluebird on his shoulder, but he refuses to give it to the children. He claims that it is the first time the trees can judge man for their crimes of fire and ax and orders the elm, pine and cedar to kill the children. As Tylo attacks the Oak, Tytyl turns the diamond and the trees return to their inanimate state. Tytyl and Mytyl journey to the Kingdom of the Future where thousands of children play and Light explains that they are children yet to be born. Tytyl learns that each child has a "gift", including new medicines, interstellar empires and the secret to defeating death. Others will instill blindness, disease and crime. A boy runs to Tytyl and Mytyl and identifies himself as their new brother who will be soon born.

    They are interrupted by Father Time, who calls the children about to be born. Although one boy refuses to leave his lover in the fear they will be forever separated, Time explains they cannot change fate and tears the boy away. He then spies Tyltyl and Mytyl and banishes them by turning his hourglass. The children, Light, Tylo, Tylette and all the inanimate souls transport back to the cottage. There, Light announces the journey is over, but Tytyl says they cannot stop until they find the bluebird. Light tells them that the bluebird cannot be caged and must fly free. One by one, the elements return to their initial forms. Tylo begs to remain human so he can tell the children how much he loves them, but Light turns him back into a dog. Before Tylette transforms, Mytyl asks if she loves them, too, and Tylette replies that she loves them as much as they deserve. Light leads the children upstairs and tucks them into bed. When they beg Light not to leave, she explains they can always find her in the sunrise or in a lamp.

    As she vanishes, the children's mother wakes them and they hug her and tell her about their adventures. Mytyl reports a baby brother is coming, but their mother tells them they were dreaming. Tylo barks at the birdcage and the children discover that their blackbird is now blue. They take the bird to the ill girl in the village, who is overjoyed, but as they remove the bird from its cage, it flies away. Tyltyl tells the girl not to cry because he will catch it. Tyltyl asks villagers to return the bluebird because he and Mytyl will need it for happiness in the future.

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