When Noot is finally allowed to paint umbrellas like the other women and girls in her village, she secretly hopes that she might be chosen as this year's Umbrella Queen. Carefully, she creates serene flowers and butterflies exactly as she has seen her mother and grandmother do for years.
But soon her imagination takes over, and Noot finds herself straying from the old patterns, to the dismay of her family, who depend on the traditionally painted umbrellas for their livelihood.
Her parents tell her she must go back to the old designs and Noot obeys, knowing that the King is coming soon to name the one who has painted the most beautiful umbrella. After all, the King would never choose a queen who breaks from tradition . . . would he?