The legend of the White Snake
This is the legend of a white snake who reached Human shape after practicing asceticism for 1000 years. It turned into a beautiful, composed and dignified white woman and was named Bai Niang Zi. She was with another young and lively little snake named Xiao Qing, who also reached Human shape after 500 years of practicing asceticism. They were both having fun wandering the streets of the City of Xihu when Bai Niang Zi noticed a handsome pale-faced scholar in the crowd and started falling for him. Xiao Qing taking note of the budding love, discreetly conducted a magical act calling upon the rain to help get things moving. The pale-faced scholar, Xu Xian, was walking towards the lake to embark on a boat when he found Bai Niang Zi and Xiao Qing drenched in the rain. Given the situation, Xu Xian offered them his umbrella so that they could take shelter from the rain, staying at a long distance despite the heavy shower. Seeing this honest and simple-minded attitude of his, Bai Niang Zi’s love grew even more as Xu Xian himself fell in love with her at first sight. Thanks to the intervention of Xiao Qing, it was a match made in Heaven. The couple got married and opened a Medicine Cabinet in Xihu; saving and treating people, the whole town loved them very much.
However, a Buddhist Monk from the Jinshan Temple believed Bai Niang Zi to be an evil spirit that would eventually hurt the mortal World. He went to find Xu Xian and slowly started to explain the situation and teach him how to discover under outward appearances, the white snake that she really is. Xu Xian neither believed the word of the Monk, nor thought of it as a lie. The Dragon Boat festival was about to start. During this festival, most people would drink Xiong Huang Jiu, a rice liquor mixed with realgar which is traditionally consumed to ward off evil spirits. Xu Xian compelled Bai Niang Zi to drink the elixir according to the Monk’s plan. Unable to defend herself because of her pregnancy, she turned into a snake right after ingesting the potion. Xu Xian dropped dead as he was frightened of his wife’s original shape. In order to save his life, she needed to find the Lingzhicao. Commonly known as the Snake Jasmine, it is a plant that can revive the dead. Despite her pregnancy, she traveled thousands of miles to the Holy Kunlun Mountain where the plant is heavily guarded by a Monk. She was willing to get the Lingzhicao at all cost, even if it meant engaging in a battle with the guardian. Seeing this pregnant woman, desperate to save her lover, the monk was moved and decided to give her the Lingzhicao. When Xuxian came back to life, he knew how much she truly loved him; everything finally came back to normal and their love was even stronger than before.
But the monk was still opposed to the white snake living in the Human world. He tricked Xu Xian into Jinshan Temple and forced him to become a monk, which lead to Bai Niang Zi and Xiao Qing’s anger. They decided to lead an army of immortal sea creatures to attack the Temple and save Xu Xian. The battle was raging on until the whole Jinshan Temple was flooded with water; they kept on fighting with the monk who was also defending himself to the end showing the best of its abilities. However, Bai Niang Zi couldn’t keep fighting anymore because she was getting into labor. Xiao Qing helped her escape to the broken bridge where they met Xu Xian who had just fled from the Temple. It was their first encounter since the beginning of the disaster, they where filled with all kinds of emotions and couldn’t help but fall into each others’ arms and cry. Bain Nian Zi finally gave birth to a little boy. The monk arrived at this very moment and cursed her: she had to remain under the Leifeng Pagoda on the side of the lake of Xihu. Moreover, unless the lake of Xihu is dry and the Leifeng Pagoda is broken, she can never return to the World.
After many years and a lot of practice, Xiao Qing finally achieved immortality. She went back to Xihu and vanquished the monk. Then she drained the lake, destroyed the Leifeng Pagoda and finally rescued Bai Niang Zi.