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Classic Love Story of Lady White


The above picture shows the scene about the first encounter of Lady White, Lady Qing and Xuxian

►Duan Qiao is actually not a broken bridge, but implies heart-broken mood literally.
The Melting(Lingering) Snow at Broken Bridge (断桥残雪, Duan Qiao Can Xue) has always been a famous sightseeing spot in Hangzhou s West Lake. For most Chinese people, especially to those living locally, the bridge is being seen as a place of heartbreaking romance because of the Lady White(White Snake Lady, 白娘子)  love story, which will be at its best on a snowy day. A Ming Dynasty poet surnamed Wang (汪) once wrote that "the West Lake is better to be viewed in the rain rater than in the sun, and in the snow rather than in the rain. There would be just a very few men who could appreciate the consummate beauty of the great scenery!" The seldom snow in the east China city makes the scene too precious to be cherished, the snowy lake will have a much different look from a near distance. On the Baoshi Hill(宝石山), commanding a view such that the sun has begun to shine after a snowfall, the snowy part of the bridge on the West Lake is seemed to be melting down, the ultimately sad mood of a heart broken person who has lost love. 

The snowy scenery of Broken Bridge(Duan Qiao) along West Lake

►Characters in the classic love folktale
Who is Lady White? She became well-known in China especially after a famous TV series called White Snake Legend(Bai She Zhuan, 白蛇传), and the Broken Bridge where Lady White and Xuxian met for the first time was impressive for all televiewers. Well, from the name you can tell that Lady White was not a human at all, but a shape shifter, a lovely white water snake. She played a role as a Snake jing(蛇精)-a spiritual emanation; she could transform herself. She boasted this magic power and planned to travel around the earth as a shape of common human being. Before meeting Xuxian along the Broken Bridge, she did the transformation into an elegant lady. 

How about Xu Xian(许仙)? Xu had at that time been a pharmacy keeper, who enjoyed his life in the richest city in the Empire. Before the love story happened, a man like Xu Xian is no difference than any other; all he wanted to do was enjoy the amiable breeze on his walk along the West Lake. According to the legends, the predestined fate of marriage between Lady White and Xu Xian dated back to 18 years ago when Xu(Only a kid at that time) threw an elixir of life given by Lv Dong Bin(吕洞宾) who is one of the famous Eight Immortals to the West Lake and the magic pill is finally eaten by White Snake which enable her attain extraordinary power. So, the primary intention of Lady White to transform a beatiful lady on earth is finding Xu Xian for gratitude. 

The supporting actress in the story is Green Snake(Lady Green, 青蛇). So, what s the relationship between Lady White and Lady Green? Lady Green keep accompanying Lady White because she came to earth in order to repay the obligation of Lady White for rescuing her life from a merchant who intended to kill her along the Su Causeway of West Lake.

Monk Fa Hai(法海) is the antagonist in the story, who believed that to sleep with a jing is to sleep with a demon, and that even a loving, elegant, clever demon can get a man in terrible trouble. So he kept making trouble to Lady White.

►When two lovers meet, nothing stands in their way.

The poster of the TV series "White Snake Legend" of Lady White in Hangzhou
The above picture shows the poster in the TV series "White Snake Legend"

On one afternoon, after Lady White and Lady Green rowed a boat touring around the beautiful West Lake, the gloomy sky rained heavily. Their helter-skelter condition was seen by the handsome young man Xu Xian, who gave an umbrella to the White Lady. She was attracted by his gentlemanly quality thus their emotionally moving love story began. 

After marriage, Lady White helped Xu Xian every day at the pharmacy; and her gracious manner and clever ways brought him more customers than ever he had before. However, the path of the life was hardly smooth, for, as you know, Monk Fa Hai kept trying different methods to disclose the real identity of Lady White. 

Fa Hai suddenly visited the couple in the Dragon Boat Festival s evening. They all drank strong liquor (Baijiu, 白酒), which had been a tradition that Chinese people wanted to expel evil spirit during festive times. Fa knew that the serpentine White Lady could not drink alcohol or else she would be returning to her state when she was in heaven. However, because she did not want her husband s suspicion, she took the liquor and became a snake again afterwards. Xu Xian died because of intense scaring. Fa Hai was very happy to see this happened ad left the terrible scene.

Lady White instantly went to northwest China to search for a certain magical plant for resurrection that was said to grow on the top of the Kunlun Mountains. Returning to Hangzhou, she prepared the plant as an elixir of survival for Xu, who was later woken up.

Xu Xian saw Lady White as a snake staying in front of him, wanted to bring back to her human state, and decided to ask Fa Hai for help. Fa was happy to assist him, however, he told a lot of false details about the terror of a white snake. Xu was of course cheated by the master monk and therefore abandoned his lover.

Xu did not even say goodbye to Lady White, who had devoted her life for him. Her heart was now really broken when she returned to the beautiful West Lake, she realized that it was not the bridge broken but her own heart! In the West Lake, the white snake made up her mind to use the lake water and the shrimps, crabs and fishes to attack Fa Hai and rescue her husband Xu Xian. A great flood hit Fa s residence, but his will was strong enough to keep him alive in the disaster, and he hid inside a giant crab shell. By casting his evil magic spell, he built a large golden tower to caught Lady White. She was stunned realizing that she was no longer having to power to fight back. Fa Hai vowed that Lady White would not be released unless the Leifeng Pagoda was collapsed.

Xu Xian managed to devote the rest of his lifetime to damage the Leifeng Pagoda until it collapsed, because he was so regret that Lady White had loved him that was cost her life. In several centuries later, the pagoda was eventually collapsed and the couple reunited in heaven.

Today boys and girls, husbands and wives enjoying their romances along the lake shore and walking on the Broken Bridge, while the sorrow of the lost love of some people who will roam around the scenic area to remember the passing happy and memorable times.
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