The Story —
Scene 1 – Outside the Farmhouse
Lise is the only daughter of Widow Simone, who is the owner of a successful agricultural farm. Lise is in love with the young farmer Colas, but her mother has considerably more ambitious plans for her daughter. As Colas and Lise steal some time together in the early hours of the morning, the rooster and his hens announce the dawn. The lovers are disturbed by the villagers beginning their working day. Lise and Colas try to hide their relationship from her mother, but Simone catches them, ordering them to stay apart. She tries to put Lise to work, but the young girl is easily distracted and would rather be with her friends.
Soon though, Colas returns early from the fields to surprise his love but they are once again interrupted by Simone. Lise is saved from punishment by the arrival of the rich and pompous wine merchant Thomas, and his son Alain. Thomas asks for Lise’s hand in marriage to Alain, however Alain behaves awkwardly and clumsily towards her, so she is amused but not at all impressed by him. Everyone leaves for the harvest celebration.
Scene 2 – The Village Square
After the harvest, the villagers travel to the village square to gather for a celebration. Lise dances with Alain but Colas butts in and Lise gives him preference. The harvesters make fun of and exclude Alain. Feeling triumphant, Colas dances with Lise. The Widow Simone once again separates the lovers and then leads some villagers in a dance. The joyful mood is broken by a sudden thunderstorm.
Scene 3 - Inside the Farmhouse
Mother and daughter return soaked by the rain and sit by the fire. However, tiredness overcomes Simone and she falls asleep. Lise, desiring to meet Colas, tries to take the house door key from her mother’s pocket. Unfortunately, Simone awakes and so as not to fall asleep again she taps the tambourine for Lise to dance. Soon however, tiredness wins and Lise is able to sneak out to her love.
The returning harvesters wake Simone, and she invites them and their barrel of goods inside the farmhouse. Simone follows them out, locking Lise inside. Lise daydreams about married life, and is suddenly startled by Colas jumping out of the barrel where he has been hiding. Despite her embarrassment, Lise is reassured by Colas and they again declare their feelings for each other.
When Simone returns, Lise quickly sends Colas to hide in her bedroom. However, Simone guesses that the couple have met and sends Lise to her bedroom and locks the door, unaware that Colas is there too. Alain and his father arrive with the village notary in order to draw up the marriage contract. When all have signed, Simone gives her future son-in-law the bedroom key. After some clumsy indecision, Alain unlocks the door and to everyone’s dismay finds the amorous couple. They beg Simone for forgiveness and her blessing. Defying the rage of Thomas and Alain, Simone finally gives her consent to the young couple, much to the delight of all.