Jesse is still in his teens when he takes on the job of teacher in Lonesome Valley School. Many of his students are older than he, and certainly those in the clique led by the school bully are bigger and tougher. They are there to have a place to go while the work on the farm is slack, and they intend to have fun baiting the greenhorn teacher. Among the students are a few who respond to Jesse's enthusiasm for education; yet even with these he meets opposition. Their parents resent his encouraging their sons to seek further education, since this might deprive them of farmhands. The school bully becomes the leader of the opposition, and the enmity between him and Jesse is keener because both are interested in Naomi, the lovely girl who sings (for Jesse) the old ballad from which the title is taken: "The needle's eye that doth supply the thread that runs so true." Their problems interweave with others: the school board's fight about whether Jesse keeps his job or not; the box-supper auctions; the contest with the "city" school in a neighboring small town. It's a play full of wit, flavorful mountaineer characters, and true romance in all its youthful sweetness. Unit set showing int./ext.