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Yeh-Shen is most famous as a book, but I first saw it as a cartoon on CBS Storybreak.  It's a Cinderella story, so you already know she's going to be abused and gets to marry royalty.  In this version, however, Yeh-Shen's "fairy godmother" is a magical talking fish called Gold Eyes.  Gold Eyes helps Yeh-Shen do laundry by splashing the clothes with his tail. (Mmm, Downey fresh!)

After Yeh-Shen's wicked stepmother finds out about Gold Eyes, she bags him and cooks him for dinner.  Yeh-Shen returns home to find that her fish friend is reduced to mere bones, and her stepmother taunts her that as Gold Eyes was being cooked, he would cry out, "Yeh-Shen!  Yeh-Shen!  Tell them to use more soy sauce!" 

Poor Yeh-Shen is devastated, and curls up in bed that night with her dead pet fish's bones.  (This is not supposed to be creepy at all).  Gold Eyes' spirit tells Yeh-Shen that he wants to return her kindnesses to him from beyond the grave, and he magically conjures up a feast for her.  Later, when Yeh-Shen's stepmother and stepsister are going to the all-the-ladies-find-husbands festival, Gold Eyes' bones transform into a beautiful robe and slippers with golden scales, so Yeh-Shen is able to go to the festival too.

Although the king does not come to the festival, Yeh-Shen does attract the attention of a nobleman.  He quizzes Yeh-Shen about her identity, but our heroine remains koi (hyuk, hyuk, hyuk).  Later, when she leaves the festival and loses her slipper, the nobleman brings the slipper to king, who exclaims, "I've only seen her slipper but she captured my heart!"  So romantic!

Yeh-Shen goes to try on the slipper to reclaim it from the king, telling the guards that the slipper belongs to her friend the fish.  The guards respond reasonably by throwing her in a dungeon.  After Yeh-Shen is released, she is able to grab the slipper and return it to its mate.  Now Gold Eyes can finally journey "to the pond of his forefathers" and Yeh-Shen marries the king.

Lesson learned:
Foot fetishes are common to royalty all over the world.

Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella Story from China.  Dir. Ray Patterson.  Perf. Michael Bell, George Takei, Emily Koruda.  20th C Fox, 1985.
Book: Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella Story from China
Movie:  Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella Story from China [VHS]
(See it on YouTube here)

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