Shim Chung is quite possibly one of the most famous Korean folk stories. It tells the story of a young girl who cares for her blind father, who in turn is one day told by the Buddhist monk at the nearby temple that the price for a cure for his sight is an extraordinary amount of rice.
Shim Chung, the filial daughter, ultimately sells herself to a merchant ship to become their sacrifice to the Dragon King/Gods for the rice necessary to cure her father.
These sacrificed girls jump into the water to appease the storms. Shim Chung does the same, but ultimately -- due to the virtuousness of her character as well as the Dragon King taking pity on her -- she is released to the upper world via a large flower.
The large flower is delivered to the Emperor, and in all slight variations of the story, the flower opens to reveal the girl Shin Chung. The Emperor falls in love with her and makes her his wife.
As for her father, Shim Chung searches for him and finally arrives on a way to gather all the blind men to the palace. She sees him and the tears of joy that she sheds fall upon his eyes and his sight is restored.
So in the end, no harm done?
I started doodling this for two reasons. "Empress CHung" is supposed to show up somewhere stateside soon, and there is a sad lack of Korean-inspired art here on DA. (Yes, and I didn't help by deleting Chunhyang from here because frankly, I need to redo it.) It isn't a fanart though from that movie, as I haven't seen it, and the designs I have for this character are very different -- based off more my ideas for Shim Chung.
My fascination with Shim Chung goes back a long time - maybe twenty years or so. I hope you will actually go seek out the story for yourself. It's far better than what I've shared.
Someday I still want to do my own version of Shimchung. Of all the Korean stories, it probably was the one I had thought would make the best Disney animated feature. Guess someone in Korea decided it was good too XD.