The book begins with “Some Facts About Korean Culture”. It explains the landscape, houses, dishes, marketplaces, and folktales as well as some vocabulary.
The story plays out much like the traditional Cinderella story until Kongi needs help working in the stony field. At this point an ox speaks to her and helps her to plow. Next a toad helps her to fill a water jar with a hole in the bottom.
When the Prince invites all eligible young ladies to a party in order to find a bride, Kongi is told she may not attend until the rice jar is full. She must take the bundles of grain from the bin, put the grain to dry, and remove each kernel brace from its hard outer shell. Sparrows come to help her. Radiant Angels come from a rainbow and dress her and provide a sedan chair to bring her to the party. There is no stroke of midnight. Kongi, flustered by the prince’s attention, leaves and loses her jewellike slipper.
In the end, Kongi forgives her stepfamily who, learning from her good example, eventually change to help others and do good deeds.
The colorful illustrations show much about Korean culture, food, and dress.
This is an interesting version of the Cinderella story with the focus on obedience and kindness.