The story of the ballet begins with King Papa's garden party. While he is busy indulging in his guests’ attention, the children of the kingdom are kidnapped by the Goblin, who live in the mines below. Princess Irene tries to warn her father, but he is too preoccupied to hear her and does not act in time to save the children. Princess Irene attempts to rescue the children but fails, and her friend Curdie is captured and caged in the Goblin Kingdom. In her second attempt, the Princess is aided by her magical Great-Great-Grandmother, who gives her a powerful weapon against the Goblin: a pair of pointe shoes. Princess Irene uses the shoes to defeat the Goblin, whose vulnerability is their tender feet. She frees Curdie, rescues the children, and all return home to King Papa.