A king wants a ship that can go on land and on water, and he promises half the kingdom and the princess to whomever can accomplish this task. Three farmer boys try their luck: Per, Pål and Espen Askeladden. The two oldest try first, Per and Pål, but when they meet an old man who asks what they have in their bags, they lie. And because of their lie, they are unsuccessful. Espen Askeladden, on the other hand, shares some of his food with the old man and the man builds him the boat. The old man also says to Espen that he should take with him whomever he sees, and so he does. He picks up various people on the way.