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Aided by a border dog, 12-year-old orphan Tristy escapes from Hungary into Austria where she hopes to find a "papa and mama." Apprehended by police who intend to return her to an orphanage in Hungary, Tristy again escapes and joins a circus. The circus owner's girl friend, captivated by the waif, wants them to marry so that they may adopt Tristy. The Austrian police attempt to take Tristy away, and when they are defied by the girl's dog and a friendly elephant they threaten to shoot the animals. Tristy decides to give herself up, but she is followed by the animals and instead, runs away from the police, taking refuge in a church. Accidentally knocked unconscious by a fall down a flight of stairs, Tristy is picked up by the elephant and carried back to the circus. All ends happily as the circus owner agrees to marry his girl friend and adopt Tristy.