The original scenario survives only in skeletal form, but the following will serve as a general guide:
The story begins in the bedroom of a brother and sister after their mother has left for the night. At midnight, the Toy Fairy appears and sings the “Lied der Fee” (Fairy’s Song), which brings all the children’s toys to life. The children awaken, or perhaps dream, and begin to interact with the toys–sometimes in pleasant or humorous ways, sometimes in more frightening ways. After a number of encounters with different toys, the children must contend with characters stepping out of a book of fairy tales, including a witch. When the clock strikes six, the toys and books revert to their inanimate state as the adults return. Directors and choreographers are encouraged to create their own scenarios that are appropriate to the music.