The story takes place in a village in the Swedish countryside during the 1930s. Fia and her mother Mrs Pettersson, a piano-teacher, live in the big house of the village's "häradshövding" (a countryside local judge/lawspeaker), where the bad-tempered housekeeper Malin lives. Many people say bad things about Mrs Pettersson. One day a boy called Hampus comes to the village together with his uncle, who is a shoemaker, his wife and their 6 children. The shoemaker's wife thinks that Hampus is stupid as he "always makes them move house"; they have changed home often. When Hampus and Fia meet, they don't want to say their real names. The two children, who are alienated, start their own fraternity and call themselves "Fideli" (Fia) and "Farornas konung" (Hampus). They "fight" for a white stone and order each other on "missions": "when you have completed the "mission" you'll get the stone".