A spoilt and proud princess makes fun of her suitors and refuses to marry any of them. She especially teases one young king about his beard. Her angry father marries her to the first man who walks in the door, a wandering musician or beggar of some sort.
After they are married, they go to live in the kingdom of the king she teased so unmercifully: King Roughbeard. She laments that if she had not refused him, she would not now be living with a poor man.
Her new husband is kind to her, and she tries hard to please him by cooking and cleaning. They try one thing and another to earn money, but finally decide to sell different wares at the marketplace. A drunk passes by and stumbles into her goods, and breaks them. She gets a job as a serving maid in the castle, where she hears that King Roughbeard is to be married. She hides by the ballroom to see all the grand people arriving, but is caught by the king, who recognises her, and takes her by the hand and leads her in for a dance. In the ensuing struggle, the food she has saved in her apron to take home is spilt.
She runs to hide, but outside in the dark is met by her husband, who leads her back in. As soon as they are back in the light, she realises her husband is the king, who disguised himself because he loved her and wanted to teach her a lesson about pride. They live happily ever after.