Denias lives at the foot of Jayawijaya Mountains. He goes to school in a cottage on the hill run by Pak Guru (or Teacher), who comes from Java. Pak Guru convinces Denias to continue his education because he believes that the boy is clever and could become a mathematician. Maleo the soldier also encourages Denias to go across the mountain where a good school lies. Then Denias goes on a 10-day expedition to find the school all by himself. His sleeping bag washes away in the river and he also passes out of exhaustion. Then he has to struggle to be accepted in the school as the Freeport Company that owns it, only allows children of the chiefs or the nearest tribes to be admitted.