In the seaside kingdom of Umbria, a six year old boy, Jonah, is left by his sailor father in the care of a silversmith and his wife. Peter, the smith, teaches Jonah the trade and by the age of fifteen, Jonah is a talented young apprentice. Painfully shy, he watches people from reflections in window glass or mirrors.
One day the princess Eleanore and her entourage give the silversmith a royal commission for her father’s coming birthday. Jonah is smitten by the beauty of the princess. Determined to profess his love but too shy to speak it, he decides to make a silver flute and express what he feels through music. He does so from the rooftop of his master’s house every night. When he plays, the entire kingdom stops to listen, including the princess, who falls in love with him.
When the king finds out he is furious. He devises a trial of three tasks that the apprentice must complete to prove his worth and earn the princess’ hand while he secretly plots to see that the flute player fails.