19th Century Colonial
SAMUEL has just turned sixteen. His mother expects him now to take over his long dead father’s job as the village baker. SAMUEL does not want to be a baker and dreams of travelling to the end of the world and ‘being somebody’.
SAMUEL is placed in the town stocks for burning all of the bread expected for the town’s harvest. It is the fourth time he has been placed in the stocks. He looks up at the swallows and daydreams about following them to the end of the earth.
SAMUEL’s friend RUTH comes up to him and consoles him. She gives him a birthday present. She considers him a dreamer who is still looking for what he wants to be. She says that he is looking in all of the wrong places.
A minstrel troupe performs in the village square, in view of SAMUEL. It includes CALEB (the leader), JOSIAH, and JESS. While the minstrels are taking a break, two boys called AARON and SIMON put a pair of donkey ears on SAMUEL, still in stocks. They jeer and pelt SAMUEL with food.
RUTH comes up to him after the party is over. SAMUEL is covered in vegetables. SAMUEL asks her to let him go. Reluctantly, she agrees.
SAMUEL follows the troupe out of the town and tries hiding out in their cart. He is discovered. SAMUEL cooks for the group and then finds the present RUTH had given him earlier. It is a ring woven out of strands of RUTH’s hair.
CALEB reluctantly allows SAMUEL to stay, with JOSIAH offering to train him up as a juggler. Over time, SAMUEL grows reasonably proficient but is not taken on as a full performer. He is expected to collect the money and make announcements.
They reach MOLDORATH, which JOSIAH announces is “the end of the earth.” It is to be their biggest venue of the year. SAMUEL is expected to collect the money at the end of the show but instead tries to juggle. The crowd heckle SAMUEL and he is unable to deliver on the crowd’s expectation of him juggling different objects.
While fleeing from a hostile crowd, the minstrels are accused of stealing a woman’s purse. They are arrested, while Samuel escapes.
The rest of the minstrels are in stocks awaiting their public trial. SAMUEL is about to turn himself in when he finds out that his ring is worn through entirely.
1The HECKLER is testifying against the minstrels when SAMUEL brings out the stolen goods from the HECKLER’s pocket. He starts juggling all of the objects proficiently.
Samuel becomes a regular part of the minstrel show and they journey back to SAMUEL’s home town.
SAMUEL catches up with RUTH. RUTH is cool towards SAMUEL but congratulates him on finally becoming someone ‘important.’
SAMUEL is officially offered a place in the company and is presented with a pouch containing six walnuts. That night SAMUEL leaves the minstrels and goes back to the village square. RUTH finds him in the town stocks. Samuel has decided to return to his life as a baker. He no longer goes in search for that other life but accepts himself as he is.