When Ernest Periwinkle begins a life at sea as a young stowaway, the Captain gives him the name Squid. Since then, he has sailed the world aboard a cargo steamer called the Princess Matilda, sharing a bunk with the ship’s monkey and pet rat.

The bunk once belonged to a sailor called Old Herring. But he was washed overboard in a storm, so Squid inherits his curious sea chest of doodads and whatnots.

Inside the box lives a special magic, waiting to get out. Squid calls it his Yarn Box. He tells stories about the things inside. Some of the crew say they are daft make-believe stories, but Squid knows they are true. And, if the winds and the waves could speak, they would say so too.