The short story "The Storyteller" tells of an aunt who is trying to keep three children attentive and occupied during a long train ride. After attempting to distract them by pointing things out from the passing landscape, she tells them a story. The aunt's story is about a little girl who is so good that she makes friends easily and is eventually saved from a mad bull due to her exemplary moral character. The children find this story nonsensical and stupid. In response to the aunt's challenge, the bachelor in turn makes up a story.
The bachelor tells a story of a girl named Bertha, who is so good that she wins several medals for goodness. She wears these medals all in a row on her dress. Bertha's goodness causes the prince of the country to allow Bertha to visit a special park full of little pigs, ponds with fish, talking parrots, and hummingbirds that hum popular tunes. A huge mud-colored wolf enters the park and attacks Bertha. At first she manages to evade it by hiding in a myrtle bush, but the sound her medals for goodness make as they clink against each other alerts the wolf to where she is. The wolf drags Bertha out of the bush and devours her.
The theme of a story is the central idea or main message that the storyteller is trying to convey. In the case of the bachelor's story, its main theme is in opposition to the theme of the aunt's story, which conveyed that goodness is so strong that it wins friends and saves you from danger. The theme of the bachelor's story is that goodness does not always save you—or, at least, the appearance of goodness doesn't save you. Despite being good in the sight of others, a person can still be overcome by evil dangers. This is brought out by the fact that in the bachelor's story, Bertha's medals for goodness are the things that betray her and cause her to be caught and killed.