Popeye has built himself a new wooden ship and, leaving it on the water, goes back to the forest in his property to chop down a tree that would serve as a good mast. The tree that he chooses, however, is home to a small woodpecker that promptly swoops down to twice destroy Popeye's axe and pester him, yet the sailor proceeds with his plan. The bird then stings him with its beak, which sends him flying through the forest and back onto the ship, which the woodpecker proceeds to damage using Popeye's own axe. The subsequent chase ends with Popeye trapped in a hollow log, but he frees himself and goes on to bring down the woodpecker's tree home, which the deceptively strong bird tries to prevent, to no avail. Popeye is moved by the bird's crying from having lost its home, so he leaves the upper part of his new mast unpolished to continue serving as the woodpecker's habitat.