The White Snake

“Once upon a time, during the raining season of Qing Ming festival (chinese version of festival of the dead), in the scenic Xi Hu (west lake) emerged two beautiful maiden. They are snakes in the form of humans; they don’t have any bad intentions, but just that they are curious about the human life so they took thousands of years of training and transformation to finally become human. The White snake took the name of Bai Su Zhen and the green snake took the name of Xiao Qing. It is here where Bai Su Zhen encountered Xu Xian, a scholarly young man who lived by the lake. He held out an umbrella for her and that started a loving relationship between Bai Su Zhen and Xu Xian. Xu Xian and Bai Su Zhen are eventually happily married, and they opened a pharmacy together called Bao He Tang. This pharmacy eventually got famous because it cured many weird diseases while it also never charged poor people. Everyone was delighted by this pharmacy except for this monk named Fa Hai. As more people are cured of their rare diseases, less of them goes to the temple to pray and give money, and Fa Hai was not pleased. He comes down the mountain to see the pharmacy and realizes that Bai Su Zhen is actually a snake. Thus, he goes and tells this to Xu Xian, but Xu Xian said that even if Bai Su Zhen were a snake, she is still a very kind person and that she is also pregnant with their child so he will never leave her.

Furious that he failed to get Xu Xian on his side, Fa Hai captures Xu Xian and takes him back to the temple. Bai Su Zhen, after hearing about this, rushes to rescue Xu Xian, but was defeated and captured also by Fa Hai and trapped under a mountain.

Xiao Qing–the green snake, after escaping, goes into the mountain and trains for 10 years. She came back, finally defeats Fa Hai and traps him into a crab’s stomach. She saved Bai Su Zhen and Xu Xian and they lived happily ever after.”

CM learned this as a child as a Chinese folktale. Usually snakes are presented as evil in western tales, so it’s interesting that in this Chinese one the snake is a positive creature and helps heal people. Less surprising is that the snake is in opposition to religion, based on Christian traditions and other religious stories.