A first-born baby girl, is sent away and placed in the care of Gretchen, a trusted peasant woman, who is the widowed mother of a child about the same age. The two children grow up as sisters. Later, upon her deathbed, the noble lady repents and sends for her child to reinstate her. Gretchen takes this opportunity to make a great lady of her own daughter Lena, the goose girl, by sending her to court instead of the real heiress. Hence Lena is taken before the noble lady as she breathes her last, happy in the belief that she has made reparation. Lena is now a great lady, but the title does not fit well. She longs to be back with Gretchen and her geeses.