Two boys are fast friends. They love exploring the natural world that surrounds them in all its abundance -- the lakes and forests of their corner of Java teem with life, and Nature surges and stirs just as the boys themselves do. They love the land and the adventures it grants them. But the natural cannot always prevail over the cultural. As the boys grow up they come to realize that they differ, that their families will not let the friendship last. For one is the son of a Dutch plantation owner, and the other son to a servant on that plantation homestead. The boys grow estranged, and grow up. Around them is the tumult of a rising consciousness that the master-servant relationship can no longer go unchallenged in the Dutch East Indies. They drift apart, and lose touch until, years later, an explosive and emblematic meeting which changes everything forever.