Legend 6 - A tale of a white snake

Once upon a time, there lived two 1000-year old
snakes. One was white and she was called Bai
Su Zhen. The other was green, and she was
called Siu Qing. Siu Qing had been Bai Su Zhen’
s maid since they started practicing witchcraft,
which enabled them to live a very long life
indeed. The longer they lived, the more powerful
their witchcraft had become. Their witchcraft
had reached such a supreme level that they
could transform themselves into whatever form
they liked.

One day, they thought it would be fun to turn
themselves into human beings. They shed their
scales and fangs and grew themselves two
arms and legs. Upon complete transformation,
both of them became very pretty young women.
They decided to go out to have some fun. Off
they went, and strolled along the village nearest
to their cave. While they were trying to enjoy
their new experience and were indeed surprised
by the large number of young men looking at
them, Bai Su Zhen saw a very handsome man
and immediately fell in love with him. Noticing
Bai Su Zhen’s anxiety to make acquaintance
with the young man, Siu Qing summonsed her
witchcraft power and started making it rain. Bai
Su Zhen then invited the young man to their
house to take shelter. The house obviously was
just built by them a moment ago with their
witchcraft. The young man introduced himself as
Xu Xian and was naturally overjoyed by the
invitation from such a beautiful woman. He also
immediately fell in love with Bai Su Zhen. Siu
Qing could discern the loving feeling that Bai Su
Zhen and Xu Xian had with each another, and
she decided to be their matchmaker. She then
proposed to Xu Xian on behalf of her friend. Xu
Xian regarded this encounter as godsend and
agreed to marry Bai Su Zhen. They got married
the next day.

Xu Xian was a hardworking and honest man. He
started a small business and the three of them
lived happily afterwards.

Good days never lasted long. One day, Xu Xian
went out to meet his business associate in order
to close a deal. On the way, a monk who told
him that according to his appearance, he (the
monk) could tell that evil spirits had troubled Xu
Xian stopped him. He said that although he had
never met his wife before, he could tell by his
grey forehead and his black luster eyes that he
had been cohabitating with evil spirits. He
warned that if Xu Xian did not get rid of the evil
spirits soon, he would die of energy deprivation.
Xu Xian of course did not believe in the monk
and told him he was a liar. However, knowing
the deep danger that Xu Xian had let him into,
the monk persisted and offered Xu Xian three
charms: one was to be placed under his hat, the
second one on the door of the house, and the
third one was to be burnt in front of his wife. He
guaranteed Xu Xian that if he followed his
instructions and use the three charms as
directed, his wife, who was the source of the
evil spirits, would lose temporarily her witchcraft
power and return to her original form. Xu Xian
went home, unsure of what the monk had said.
He hesitantly told Bai Su Zhen what the monk
had said. Bai Su Zhen held her temper and
calmly asked her husband to try out the three
charms so that she could prove that she was
not an evil spirit, as she knew that her witchcraft
was so supreme that she could overcome the
spell from the charms.  Xu Xian was very
relieved to see that what the monk had told him
was unfounded.

A few months later, Bai Su Zhen became
pregnant. She and Xu Xian were of course very
delighted, as they would soon become parents.
However, one day, a monk from the Golden
Mount Temple called on Xu Xian, and told him
that he could see from afar that his house was
completely enclosed by evil spirits. According to
his observation, his wife was a snake. Needless
to say, Xu Xian did not believe in what the monk
had told him.  The monk advised Xu Xian that he
could try to get his wife to drink some herbal
wine on the Dragon boat Festival, and he would
then know immediately whether his wife was a
human being or not.

It was the Dragon Boat Festival and happened
to be the hottest day of the year. Both Bai Su
Zhen and Siu Qing knew that the fierce heat
from the midday sun would reduce their
witchcraft power and they could not   sustain
their human being form in the daytime. Bai Su
Zhen asked Siu Qing to hide herself until sunset
so that even if she returned to her original form,
nobody would realize that she was Marx Xian’s
maid. Bai Su Zhen believed that the level of her
witchcraft was higher than that of Siu Qing and
she could withstand the exceptional heat longer.
As the sun was so fierce and the heat became
unbearable, Xu Xian returned home from work
early. He brought home some herbal wine and
offered it to his wife.  Not realizing that it was an
herbal wine, Bai Su Zhen drank it to quencher
thirst. A little while later, Xu Xian noticed that his
wife was not feeling well, and asked her to take
some rest.  Bai Su Zhen then retired to the
bedroom. Hoping that some cold water would
make her wife feel comfortable, Xu Xian brought
a bowl of cold water to the bedroom. When Xu
Xian entered the bedroom, he saw a big white
snake on the bed. He was so horrified that he
immediately passed out. Dusk came and the
temperature started to fall. Siu Qing was able to
transform herself to a human being again and
immediately made her way back to Xu Xian’s
house. She found Xu Xian lying on the floor
unconscious. She also found Bai Su Zhen who
had just transformed herself again to a human
being.

They then administered some Chinese herbs to
Xu Xian who then gradually came round. Bai Su
Zhen and Siu Qing told Xu Xian that they also
saw a big white snake in the house but they had
driven it away. Bai Su Zhen then asked Xu Xian
whether he would still love her if she were an
evil spirit as had been alleged by the monk. Xu
told her that his love for her was eternal; no one
could take away his love for her. After Xu Xian
had declared his eternal love for her, Bai Su
Zhen then told Xu Xian the truth and admitted
that both she and Siu Qing were in fact snakes
with the ability to stay in the form of human
beings. She assured Xu Xian that they meant no
harm to him, and indeed loved him as much as
he loved her. Xu Xian reassured Bai Su Zhen
that he would love her forever as he found her
to be a tender and caring wife.

Days went by and Bai Su Zhen and Xu Xian
continued to live happily together, waiting for the
arrival of their child. One day while Xu Xian was
on the way to the market, he met the monk from
the Golden Mount Temple again. The monk tried
to persuade Xu Xian that he is in great danger
and he should come and stay in the Golden
Mount Temple so that he could protect him
against evil spirits. Xu Xian refused. Out of
anxiety to help Xu Xian, the monk tied up Xu
Xian and took him to the Golden Mount Temple.
As Xu Xian failed to return home that evening,
Bai Su Zhen and Siu Qing found out that Xu Xian
had been taken away by force to the Golden
Mount Temple. They immediately went to the
Temple and requested to see the monk. They
begged the monk to have mercy on them and
release Xu Xian so that they could be reunited.
The monk refused and angrily said that not only
would he not return Xu Xian to them, but also he
would not tolerate both Bai Su Zhen and Siu
Qing to live in the form of human beings, as they
were in fact evil spirits. He declared that he
would only return Xu Xian to them if they could
flood the Golden Mount Temple. The monk
realized that this was an impossible task for
anyone to achieve.

The pair was furious and wanted to teach the
monk a lesson. They immediately used their
witchcraft power to raise the water level of the
Yangtze River above the Golden Mount Temple,
which was situated at the top of the hill, hoping
to force the monk to release Xu Xian.

At that critical moment, Bai Su Zhen started her
labour and was about to give birth. She had on
alternative but to retreat to the forest with Siu
Qing. Bai Su Zhen gave birth to a baby boy.
She knew that the monk would not forgive her
for what she had done – by raising the water
level to the top of the hill in order to rescue Xu
Xian, Bai Su Zhen had flooded a large area near
the Temple and killed many innocent people.
She then asked Siu Qing to take her son away
so that the monk would not harm him in any
way. In the meantime, the monk was able to
break Bai Su Zhen’s witchcraft power and make
the flood subside. He then captured Bai Su Zhen
in the forest and imprisoned her in a pagoda
with a spell. Bai Su Zhen lost all of her
witchcraft power and returned to be an ordinary
snake.

Xu Xian was later reunited with his son, but he
was heartbroken to have lost his beloved wife.
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