Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Korean Cinderella

The Korean Cinderella (Trophy Picture Books (Paperback))is another Cinderella tale retold by Shirley Climo. Those familiar with the traditional Grimm's tale will find much they recognize in the Korean version.

In this tale, Pear Blossom has a happy life with her parents until the death of her mother. In his distressed state, her father goes to a matchmaker to find a mother for his daughter. She matches him with a widow who has a daughter about the same age as his own. From here, the story becomes very familiar to those who know the Cinderella tale. Only the cultural details of her life with her stepmother differ. Her stepmother works her hard and her distraught father provides little support. Her stepmother constantly threatens to send her off if her work is not completed.

As the tasks get more impossible, Pear Blossom encounters a tokgabi, or goblin that appears in the form of animals that help her as each task grows more difficult. A frog closes the hole in a water jug that will not hold water. Sparrows help her to hull a huge sack of rice her stepmother scatters in the courtyard. Finally, an ox helps her weed the rice paddies so she may attend the festival, providing her with suitable food for the celebration. Along the road, she is startled by the local magistrate and loses her sandal. Fearing she is in trouble, she runs away and sits alone at the festival enjoying her food and all the sites. As she is finishing her food, her stepmother spots her. Pear Blossom attempts to explain how finished her task, but her explanation only angers her stepmother. The stepmother is stopped in the middle of her tirade when the magistrate's servants announce they are looking for the owner of the sandal the magistrate found.

Her stepsister convinced Pear Blossom was about to be arrested quickly points the servants to her sister. Instead of being arrested, the magistrate of course wants to marry the mysterious girl who ran away.

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