The fairy tale is about two sisters, Bawang Merah and Bawang Putih. After their father dies, Bawang Merah and her mother, Labu, have to share the house with domineering Kundor and Bawang Putih. Bawang Merah has to endure more hardship when her mother dies. She is bullied, beaten and abused in every way imaginable by Kundor and Bawang Putih. As the tale goes, her mother eventually reappears – as a fish.
Bawang Merah becomes happier and this puzzles both Kundor and Bawang Putih. Her ship comes in when a Prince hears her singing in the woods and marries her. Of course, Kundor is terribly unhappy that her brat, Bawang Putih, is married to none, let alone a prince. So she devises an evil scheme to destroy Bawang Merah’s marriage and get the prince to notice Bawang Putih.