Cologne, 1445. Following her father’s death, ten-year-old Johanna has to work as a maidservant in the house of a wealthy merchant. Andreas, the merchant’s son, seems terribly stuck-up at first, but then he teaches her to read and write in secret. One night, needing a candle for her nocturnal studies, Johanna sets out to ‘borrow’ one from St Ursula, the local church. Andreas follows her, initially suspecting she might be the church thief who has been causing trouble all over Cologne. But then the two of them witness the real thief stealing valuable church property. As he escapes, the thief spots Johanna – from now on she is in serious danger.