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Belle Tourand, a Métis girl from Batoche, is in competition with Sarah Johnson, the new girl in town. Both want to be the bell ringer at the local church. Belle finds that she must learn how to embroider to compete for the job. She is disappointed when Sarah's handiwork is judged better than her own, and suspects her rival has cheated by presenting someone else's needlework. Belle's hunch proves correct, but when she returns to Batoche with her proof, she is caught in the commencement of the Battle of Batoche. She spots the Johnson house on fire, and sees Sarah and her brother Samuel on the roof. Belle and her mother rescue the two children just in time. Samuel has suffered smoke inhalation and is unconscious; Belle's mother has burned her hands. Belle takes them all to an abandoned root cellar, where they stay for four days, waiting for the end of the fighting and nursing each other back to health. Belle and Sarah slowly overcome their differences, and after they emerge from their hiding place, Sarah admits that she cheated in the contest and apologizes to her new friend.