Miri is a fourteen-year-old from Mt. Eskel who has never been allowed to work with the rest of the villagers (young and old, men and women) in the quarry that keeps the community alive. Because of this, she feels like an outcast in the community and feels cut off from the culture that is largely formed by their working life in the quarry. Despite this, she is very close to her father and her sister. She is also best friends with a boy in the village, Peder.
One day, a messenger from the king arrives along with the traders from the lowlands. The messenger announces that the nation's priests have informed the nation that the next princess will come from Mt. Eskell, despite the lack of education provided the villagers and despite the prejudice that exists between the mountain villagers and the lowlanders. To this end, a princess academy is going to be set up near the village to train the young girls the ways of the lowland noblemen and noblewomen. At the end of the year, the prince will visit the academy and choose the girl to be the next princess. Miri, of course, attends the academy, and though the academy is difficult because of the strict teacher Ms. Olana, Miri excels at learning and commerce, her knowledge even helping the village to prosper in trading with the lowlanders. The situation also causes developments in her relationships with the other village girls, particularly Britt who is an outsider also. She must also learn a new appreciation of her culture in order to succeed.
Eventually, bandits appear and as the prince arrives, forcing Miri to contemplate the complex feelings she has about her culture and about Peder.
This report prepared by J.C. Pierce