A painter goes to a forest to seek inspiration for his next work. He falls asleep under the great elm tree. When he wakes up, he discovers that he can understand and talk to the animals and creatures of the forest. He learns that a mad villainous creature called the Cactus King is building an army of magical living weapons and monstrous machines that can obliterate the forest and its inhabitants in no time. His mad goal is to create a wasteland where only cactus can prosper. The painter teams up with a mead-loving mighty bear, three young brave hedgehog brothers, wise beaver and other animals, to defend the forest from the villain. Since the spirit of the forest lives within the great elm tree, if it falls, the forest dies. The good guys must come up with a plan to infiltrate the Cactus King's foreboding dark castle and defeat him there, but also unite the forest and put up defenses against his army. However, the Cactus King has his own allies in the forest like the spectator raven, the cowardly wizard and the tribe of sinister fungi-people, who don't care about what happens to the world above, since it doesn't affect them. The movie was made in Yugoslavia a few years before the breakup and to this day has the status of a classic among the peoples of former Yugoslavia, due to its high production value close to that of popular western animation, engaging storyline, scary villains and fun characters. The movie was dubbed in English for the foreign markets, but it's by far best known in former Yugoslavia, especially Croatia, where most of the team that worked on the film is from. A sequel called The Magician's Hat was released in 1990, with the wizard from this movie as the hero, but the film was deemed inferior to the original in almost all aspects.