Tree-ear has a dream. He has watched the master potter Min take a lump of clay and shape it into a thing of beauty. For Tree-ear the transformation is a miracle. Someday he wants to perform such a miracle himself.
But you cannot just walk up to a master potter and ask him to teach you his craft, especially if you’re an orphan like Tree-ear. First Tree-ear must prove he is worthy of Min’s time and teachings. So he asks the honourable master if he can work for him, without pay, for the privilege of being near such talent.
Tree-ear has taken his first step toward his dream. If Tree-ear takes it one hill, one valley, one day at a time, maybe he’ll be able to make his dream come true.