- "The leadership of the tribe is a privilege to be earned
Before one is leader, three lessons must be learned
The lesson of the hand will teach both strength and speed
The lesson of the head is learned when hands do not succeed
But the lesson of the heart will make the leader strong
With head and heart together, the hand is never wrong"
- ―Chirpa, teaching lessons of leadership
Lessons of leadership
The episode opens with several Ewoks including Paploo, Weechee, Widdle, Wicket and Latara having an afternoon dance in Bright Tree Village. Meanwhile, Princess Kneesaa receives her chieftess-to-be training lesson at Logray's hut.
Her father Chief Chirpa tells her that prospective leaders must learn "Three Lessons". He explains that the lesson of the hand will teach both strength and speed. The lesson of the head is learned when hands do not succeed. Finally, the lesson of the heart will make the leader of the strong. With head and heart together, the hand is never wrong. Kneesaa is perplexed. At Chirpa's request, Logray agrees to explain but says that he has to show her father something.
The stranglethorn threat
While Chirpa and Logray leave, Kneesaa is tasked with studying. However, she is distracted by her friends' party. Kneesaa decides to sneak out and take a quick break but accidentally tips over a purple bottle, which pours out liquid onto a stranglethorn plant, causing it grow into a giant creeper. While Kneesaa is playing with her friends, she and her friends are attacked by the mutant stranglethorn plant, which has developed a carnivorous appetite.
Paploo tries to defend the younger Ewoks from the stranglethorn but is overpowered by the creature, which throws him on a drum. As more stranglethorn heads appear, they begin wreaking havoc and taking over the village. Meanwhile, Logray shows a prototype supply lift to Chief Chirpa, explaining its potential to lift an entire cartload. When questioned by Logray, Kneesaa admits to accidentally tipping over a few bottles. He realizes that the plant potion he was working on must have infected the stranglethorn plant.
When Chief Chirpa asks if there is an antidote, Logray explains that the problem can be cured by a mixture of kete nectar, ganga root, and trome sap. Logray wants to retrieve the ingredients from his hut but Kneesaa points out that the stranglethorn vine has taken over the hut. Wicket warns them that the vine is blocking the exits and heading for the ground. Logray warns that if it takes root, there is no stopping it.
Obtaining the Kete pearl
Chirpa assigns Kneesa and Wicket with defending the supply lift. Kneesaa blames her neglect for causing this problem. As the stranglethorn approaches the crane, it grabs Kneesaa. Wicket frees her and they escape down the the lift. The lift is destroyed in the process but the two land in a pile of hay. Seeking to make amends for her actions, Kneesaa resolves to stop the stranglethorn threat by obtaining the ingredients that Logray needs. Fearing for her safety, Wicket joined her in her journey.
In order to get the kete nectar, Kneesaa and Wicket traveled to a Kete hive. Since the sides are too smooth, they realize they have to walk through the stick goo at the base after watching a Kete do so. Kneesaa comes up with an idea: the duo could climb up the Kete's hive with leaf-shoes soaked by the stick goo around the palace. Reaching the top, they take off their shoes. Once inside the Ketes' labyrinthine hive, the duo encountered several Kete workers and their queen.
Kneesaa tries to reason with their leader but the Kete chase them. Following a chase through the labyrinthine hive, they discover a stockpile of nectar pearls. However, Wicket removes a keystone nectar pearl, causing an avalanche which is stopped by the tight exit. However, they escape with the lose pearls when a worker unblocks the exit, causing them to flow out through a dorway into the sicky goo below.
The ganga root and trome tree
Meanwhile, Bright Tree Village is overwhelmed with the mutant stranglethorn vine. Malani tries to save two woklings named Nippet and Wiley but the vine is too powerful. Paploo confronts the vine and issues an ultimatum. However, he is grabbed by a vine which proceeds to tickle him while suspending him in mid-air. Malani is grabbed by another vine, which deposits him at a high treehouse with Nippet and Wiley she was trying to rescue. Malani calls out to Wicket for help.
Continuing their quest, Kneesaa and Wicket find several ganga root plants in a field. However, the two are unable to retrieve them. A barber bird shows them how to retrieve one by boring the root to deflate it so that it can be easily removed. The barber bird then swallows it. The two deflate one with a stick while the barber bird finishes off the rest. Seeing that they are holding the last ganga root, the barber bird chases them but gets its giant beak trapped in a log.
Thirdly, Kneesaa and Wicket find a trome tree on top of a cliff. However, they find that it has been reduced to a stump and has only one branch left. Wicket finds a sign saying "Welcome to the famous trome tree. Now go home! Trespassers will be tromed!" With Wicket's help, Kneesaa tries to reach it but the two are confronted by the resident Tromes, who object to their presence. Wicket tries to explain but the Tromes maneuver them towards the edge. Wicket fights back and discover that the Tromes are three little guys standing on top of each other.
The despondent Tromes weep and plead with the Ewoks not to destroy their home. Kneesaa explains that she needs the trome tree's branch for a magic sap. The Tromes explains that if they take the last branch, their tree will die. The Ewoks explain that they need to save their home from destruction. Knessaa then comes up with a new plan which involves letting the Tromes return to their village.
Defeating the stranglethorn
Kneesaa and Wicket, who is carrying the three Tromes on his shoulders, return to Bright Tree Village. They find the mutant stranglethorn vines attacking the villages' bakery. Weechee tries to save the buns by eating them first. He runs out with the remaining buns. Kneesaa, Wicket and the Tromes are greeted by Chief Chirpa and Shaman Logray. Kneesaa explains that she was not able to bring back all of the ingredients but that they can still retrieve the others with the help of the Tromes.
Coming up with a plan, Kneesaa tasks Wicket and the Tromes with retrieving the potion while she rescues Malani and the woklings. Chirpa urges them to be careful. Working together, the Tromes distract the stranglethorn vines while Wicket tries to enter Logray's hut. Wicket manages to trick the stranglethorn vines into laughing long enough for him to enter the hut. While the Tromes distracted the stranglethorn, Wicket snuck into Logray's hut and retrieved the potion that would tame the plant.
Meanwhile, Kneesaa uses her sticky shoes to climb a tall tree where the stranglethorn vines have imprisoned Malani, Nippet and Wiley. The four got off together, using the same shoes. Having retrieved the potion, Wicket and the Tromes reunited with Logray. Logray instructed Wicket to place one drop into each of the plants mouths, but seeing how many heads the plant had sprouted, Wicket instead gathered a group of acorns into his satchel and poured the potion over them. Then he, the Tromes, and the other Ewoks fed them to the plant until it shriveled back to its original size.
Following the neutralization of the strangletorn threat, Kneesa apologized to Logray and Chirpa for neglecting her studies. Logray concurred that Kneesaa learned had learned her father's three lessons: the Hand Lesson (when climbing the Keet's hive), the Head Lesson (by discovering how to retrieve the ganga root) and the Heart Lesson (by opting to preserve the Trome tree). The Ewoks and Tromes celebrated the victory, and Chief Chirpa expressed pride in his daughter, saying that she will make a fine chieftain. Logray used Kneesaa's sticky shoes to climb a tall tree.
This episode is the first that shows Chief Chirpa instructing his daughter, apprentice, and heiress Princess Kneesaa. Kneesaa's successful adventure in this episode allowed her to be approved at Chirpa's Three Lessons.
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