Marcel, whose only joy in life is acting the scare-crow in the middle of fields to attract the birds, leaves the family farm on the day before his mother marries the village undertaker. Popov, a black Russian - in other words, a Russian of African extraction - is the odd-job man in the circus of his seven brothers which is touring Europe. The simpleton of the family, he cleans the cages, feeds the animals and does all the dirty jobs. On the night of their last show in Paris he goes in search of an eagle which has escaped and misses the departure of the circus for Italy. He has to cross France to join his brothers in Venice.