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Folktales
Legend of the White Snake

The Legend of the White Snake, also known as Madame White Snake, which is set during the Southern Song dynasty. It has sinece been developed many versions and become a major subject of several Chinese operas, films and television series.

 

The Story

Bai Suzhen, a female white snake spirit, dreams of becoming a goddess by doing good deeds. She travels to the human realm with her sisterly friend Qing who is a green snake spirit has the same dream but lesser powers.

They take on human form and become two beautiful women. One day Suzhen meets the scholar Xu Xian at the Broken Bridge and eventually fell in love with him. Xu and Bai are married, open a medicine shop and live happily together.

However, as humans and demons are forbidden to bond. A Buddhist monk named Fa Hai who sensed the 'spirit scent' on Xu Xian and warns Xu Xian that he married a snake demon.  On the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, when the Duanwu Festival is held, demons in human form will revert to their original shape. Fa Hai advises him to press her to drink some wine infused with bitter realgar, because it would fend off all spirists and change her in her real form.

Xu Xian follows that advice and because the white snake is pregnant and her magical powers are weakened, Bai's true form is revealed and Xu is literally scared to death. Bai is devastated and steals the magical herb from Mount Kunlun to restores Xu to life. 

Afterward Fa Hai seize Xu Xian and forcefully separate him from White snake and captured him to Jin Shan Temple. White snake decided to launch a flood attack against Fa Hai for him to release Xu Xian. Both White snake & Green snake defeated Fa Hai and was reunited at the Broken Bridge with Xu Xian, who managed to escape from Jin Shan Temple. However, Bai giving birth to Xu's son, Bai is unable to control herself anymore and is forced to tell her husband the truth about her origin. Xu kindly accepts her, but Fahai attacks the weakened Bai and imprisons her for eternity in Leifeng Pagoda.

Qing escapes and leaves to train and increase her power so as to be able free White snake from Lei Feng Pagoda. Meanwhile, Xu Xian raised their child who eventually emerged as a top scholar in the imperial examinations. The son returns to Leifeng Pagoda to pay respect and Bai is released because of her son's filial piety. Bai Su Zhen was able to be reunited with her husband, her son and Green snake in the end.