Dobry is a young boy who lives in a small farming village in Bulgaria with his widowed mother and grandfather. Both of them are dedicated farmers, and Dobry spends much of his early life helping them in the fields. The majority of his free time is spent with his best friend, Neda, the daughter of the village shoemaker.
While still young, Dobry discovers a found love for art, in which he displays an unusually high amount of natural talent. In order to pay for the art supplies he needs to practice, he takes on the job as the village cow herder, and spends the next several years honing his artistic skills. While Neda and Dobry's grandfather are impressed and supportive of his dedication to his craft, his mother becomes increasingly worried and agitated. She had always assumed that Dobry would take over the family farm as an adult, and sees the time that Dobry spends with his art as wasted time that he could be using to help with the work. However, Dobry's grandfather is slowly able to convince her that talent like his should be allowed to develop. When Dobry creates a beautiful snow sculpture of the nativity that the whole town praises, his mother finally realizes how skilled her son truly is.
At the following New Year celebration, Dobry's mother presents him with a surprise gift: money that she has saved up in order for him to enroll in an art academy. While Dobry excitedly begins to prepare for his new life, Neda worries that he will be leaving the village forever. However, he assures her that once he has completed his education, he will return to the village and marry her.