At the bottom of the dried out Svartsjö lake (Black Lake) there lies the Lövdala Parsonage with its stables and outhouses. There resides the goodhearted, widowed, Pastor Lyselius and his beautiful daughter. Here one day, arrives his new wife, who turns out to be a wicked stepmother. She tempts with her cooking and other allurements, but soon shows her real self. She torments her servants and especially the parson's daughter, mamsell Maia Lisa. We follow mamsell Maia Lisa through torments and sufferings where she gets ever new and harder burdens to carry on her weak shoulders. But by her side in all weathers stands the cleareyed Little Maid, never afraid to say what she thinks or to defend justice. It is hard times when the stepmother is allowed to rule at Lövdala. Even the Parson abandons his nice personality and becomes a marionette who turns against those who he most loves. But changes will come in the end.
Selma Lagerlöf (1858-1940) was a Swedish writer of novels and short stories, the first woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. She wrote in the field of magic realism, influenced mostly by her childhood fairy tales and picturesque natural world around her home. Worked as teacher, never married, and took part in some political issues. Her best known works include "The Wonderful Adventures of Nils", "Jerusalem", and "The Emperor of Portugallia".