The Legend of the White Snake.

Image from the Summer Palace, Beijing, China, depicting the legend – Wikimedia Commons.

Medievalists has a fascinating look at the Chinese legend of The White Snake, and its evolution from a cautionary tale where the monk was the good guy, to a sympathetic love story where the monk is a shit stirrer.

…This may well be the fate of Xu Xuan, Madam White’s human husband, if he is not rescued by a powerful Buddhist monk. The first written version of the White Snake legend is found in a collection of novella composed in the first quarter of the 17th century. Including forty different stories, the collection is titled ‘Stories to Caution the World’ and the White Snake tale ‘Madam White Imprisoned under the Thunder Peak Tower’ (some editions also translate the novella as ‘Eternal Prisoner under the Thunder Peak Tower’ or simply ‘The White Snake’).


…The emphasis, however, is shifted to her devotion to Xu, as well as her sympathy towards humankind. The once righteous Fahai, now entering the scene as a troublemaker who simply cannot just mind his own business, tricks her into revealing her true form to Xu.

The full story is at Medievalists.

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