The story begins with Pear Blossom’s birth to aged parents. Pear Blossom’s parents name their only child after the pear tree’s flower. Pear Blossom’s father in fact plants a pear tree in the family’s courtyard.
Pear Blossom’s mother dies first. Her father is lonely. He ultimately marries again, upon the village matchmaker’s advice.
But Pear Blossom’s stepmother, Omoni, is nothing like Pear Blossom’s mother. Pear Blossom’s new stepsister, Peony, is nothing like Pear Blossom. Omoni and Peony profit from the declining health of Pear Blossom’s father.
Omoni and Peony call Pear Blossom “pigling.” Omoni gives Pear Blossom challenging chores and threatens unpleasant punishments. For example, Omoni makes Pear Blossom put water in a broken jug, separate the husk from rice kernels, and weed a rice paddy. A frog serves as the jug’s stopper, sparrows stack the grains into husk and kernel piles, and a black ox weeds the paddy by devouring all the non-grasses.
Pear Blossom completes a festival basket for Omoni and a festival dress for Peony. She loses a straw sandal on the way to the festivities. A handsome, wealthy, young magistrate retrieves the sandal and demands its wearer to come forth … to be his wife.
The story ends with Pear Blossom living in surroundings as beautiful as she is. She moves happily about her ample house and huge courtyard. The courtyard showcases 12 blossoming pear trees, in honor of Pear Blossom’s parents’ memory.
The Korean Cinderella is a lively, lovely addition to anyone’s shelf of Cinderella collectibles.