Galicia, 1936. Eight-year-old Moncho (Lozano) runs away from his first day in school, terrified that his teacher Don Gregorio (Fernán-Gómez) is a flogger. His concerns are misplaced and, once he's coaxed back, he finds Don Gregorio a learned tutor and ally. Over the following months, Moncho learns about spiders and butterflies, potatoes and poetry; befriends a classmate, Roque, with whom he spies on a torrid backwoods love affair; and accompanies his budding saxophonist brother (de los Santos) abroad to the Santa Maria de Lombas Fair, where they meet a beguiling mute girl bearing the scar of a wolf. In the background the nation's political ferment looms, threatening to disrupt the benign course of Moncho's life lessons. A simple colourful fable underscoring the fragility of liberal romantic values, the film combines three Manuel Rivas short stories to slightly rambling effect. Beautifully filmed and lovingly performed, it paints a rather rose-tinted vision of pastoral arcadia, so the sobering finale comes as quite an abrupt change of mood.