Jan and Myga are ten years old when their city, Antwerp, falls again to the invading Spanish army at the end of the 16th century. Jan follows his father into exile.
Years later, a young man, Jan joins Les Gueux, the confederacy of Dutch nobles who opposed Spanish rule. He is made helmsman of their best ship, the Black Galley. He survives many battles, but eventually is taken prisoner by the Spaniards. There, he is reunited with his beloved Myga, who fell into their hands after her father had tried to come to terms with the Spanish rulers.
Based on a story by Wilhelm Raabe.