young prince is taken for tuition at a seaside hotel but there quickly bores and wanders off to visit a nearby lighthouse. Befriended by the keeper, he learns of a secret world he can see inside the light of the lamp - the world of Taxandria ruled by the dictatorship of the 'eternal present' where all machines, progress and time have been banned. However, a naive but creative printing clerk unwittingly causes a revolution when he upsets a printing press and tries to replace the spilled letters only to have his new words taken for a subversive code. On the run he falls in love with a palace princess, discovers the forbidden art of photography and sets out to fulfill his dream of building a flying machine.

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