Lady White

A stone crushed by the river
Gives life to the plant
A plant gives life to the animal
An animal gives life to human
A human may become more
More than human

Sometimes, one is surprised by nature

and the order of life becomes obscure


In an ancient cave, a great big white python

meditated for a thousand years.
Then it stood up high on its tail, and disappeared
Later, a beautiful girl was seen leaving the mountain
In a flowing white robe and beautiful sandals

adorned with glittering gems.

In the city Hangzhou, there was a beautiful lake.
Many came to take lovely walks to enjoy the fresh air
To enjoy the day in its wake
To take boat rides to the island, to listen to larks

And one day, there was a beautiful lady
Who came to enjoy the simple human pastime

- taking a walk in the park.

She met a handsome youth whose name was Xiu Xian.

She told him her name – Lady White of the Mountains.

It began to rain. And by the time, the boat reached the main land

Xiu Xian was in love with the mysterious maiden

Before long, Xiu Xian was standing next to Lady White
Lovely in her bridal gown.

They bowed to Heaven and Earth, to their ancestors, and to each other.

They were now husband and wife.

* * *

The newly-weds, together with Lily their household lady in waiting

and their three other servants moved to another city

To open their own sensei shop - excellent with herbs and medicines

They knew exactly what to prescribe as a cure for all ailments.

Their life was blissful.

Soon, Lady White told Xiu Xian she would have their baby
To be born in the spring. In her condition,
Lady White often rested in the afternoon.
Xiu Xian did not want her to put her health in jeopardy.

One such evening, a Buddhist monk entered their shop and said.
“Master Xiu Xian, I must introduce myself. I am Fa Dhai
and I am the head of the Mountain Temple,
where your wife and her late father used to reside.”

Xiu Xian smiled and immediately said,
“Ahhh, you are family then. Let me call my wife!”

Strangely, the monk restrained him,”No, I have come to warn

you. Be steady. Your wife is a thousand year old snake

She hides her true nature for now but she can only do you great harm.

She is not true love but your everlasting bane!”

“You do not know my wife!” said Xiu Xian. “It is best you leave!”

Fa Dhai continued, “I knew you would say that. Ahh, well.

Make sure she drinks realgar wine for the Dragon Boat Festival.

She will transform back to her true self

and then you will look for me!”

Soon it was time for the Dragon Boat Festival

Everyone drank wine mixed with foul-smelling realgar

to drive away serpents and snakes.

Lady White begged to be excused and stayed in bed

Xiu Xian laughingly called out to her and said,

“We must share at least one cup of realgar wine!”

Xiu Xian then suddenly remembered the monk’s strange visit

and mentioned it to his wife absent-mindedly.

Lady White almost choked on her nightly cup of warm milk.

She knew then she was in terrible danger.

She stood up, and said, “I am feeling much better, husband.

Let us have some wine!”

Calling on all her powers to withstand the realgar, she drank one cup - so mild
Immediately she ran to her room, retching away.

Xu Xian hurried to get her medicine - when he came back with the potion,

He found a large white python on the bed.
The young husband in shock, collapsed.

Lily came running,“My Lady,” she called,

“Your husband has fainted from shock!”
Lady White knelt by her husband and wept.

“I will make the strongest potion to heal him," she declared

* * *

He recovered - Xiu Xian did. But he now avoided Lady White.

They were restrained with each other - she often sighed

He often took long walks - and on the bank of the Yangtze

Fa Dhai was waiting for him. Terrified and confused, Xu Xian asked, “What shall I do?”
“Come live at the temple,” said Fa Dhai. “There you will find truth.”

Torn between the love and fear of his wife,

At last he joined the monk's stride

Up the Mountain Temple - Xiu Xian was not allowed to leave.

This was the intention of the monk, to lure Lady White to him.

Meanwhile, Lady White waited anxiously
For her husband to return.

Deep inside she knew her husband was with
The monks of the Mountain Temple

Her nemesis and enemies for centuries

Fa Dhai was waiting for her at the temple gate.
“Abomination!” cried Fa Dhai. “Destruction is your fate!”

“I have helped many with my knowledge of herbs, medicine and venom,”

“Surely the one who separates a man and his wife
And soon to be born child is the cruel one!”

Fa Dhai was not in the mood to talk any longer.

He had devoted his life to destroy the mystical serpents such as her.

He called upon an army of heavenly warriors.

From the Yangze, Lady White gathered an army of serpents and water animals.

The two armies battled ferociously, led by Lady White herself

But when she felt a pull in her womb, fear for her baby’s safety made her retreat.

Lady White and Lily returned home

The lady was taken ill from all the fighting
Her own growing body heaving.
She was heart-broken, crying over and over
“He did not honour me, he did not trust me.”
Just then, Xiu Xian arrived. He heard the battle
And from within the temple prison,
Determined to stand by her,
He escaped, and returned

“I was kept prisoner— I love you and couldn’t bear
The thought of losing you!”
“My dear husband,” said Lady White angrily,
You forgot to honour me and trust me.
Hear me now.”

She told him the truth and all that had happened.
“And now,” she said, “you must decide.”

Xiu Xian replied softly, “I will honour, trust and love you.


* * *

Soon Fa Dhai came back and the battle was worst than ever

Endangering their son and Xiu Xian

Finally, Fa Dhai captured Lady White within his powerful alms bowl

There was no way to escape its magic
Lady White finally said goodbye to her husband and new born baby.

Then she told Fa Dhai, “Though you take me away, see! You cannot destroy our love.”

Fa Dhai was angry to hear this truth and ordered the warriors
To imprison her under the pagoda by the lake where they fell in love
“You can remember your everlasting love there!” he cursed her,
“Not until the lake dries up or the pagoda falls
Will you see the light of day again!”

* * *

Time passed on. Xiu Xian and Fa Dhai passed away
Then the son too at a ripe old age.

But Lily did not forget.
On the mountain where she came from
She transformed back into a young python.
She meditated and trained her might
Her powers to their greatest height

For one last time
She became human once again
Gathered an army of mountain animals
Marched on to the Pagoda On The Lake
All for Lady White's sake

The pagoda’s guardian spirit
Met her with his own army
But they were defeated and forced to flee
The might of Lily

Then her army set fire to the pagoda
Which quickly crumbled.

“My Lady, come out!” called Lily
And there from the ruins rose Lady White — at last, free!
But still heart-broken - deeply.

* * *

So Lady White retuned to the mountains with Lily and both swore
Never to associate with humans forever more.
That is why until today,
Snakes slither away

When humans approach and become
Fiercely angry when confronted by one.

They vowed never to love humans again.


Copyright © 2011 ninotaziz. All rights reserved.


An ancient legend from China

For the Magpie Tales

Copyright © 2011 ninotaziz. All rights reserved.


  1. A fascinating story! Well done.

  2. Ninot Ma'am,
    A tantalizing and captivating literary style. It kept me wondering how it would end - your longest verse by far!


  3. Thank you dear. One of my favourite epic legends, the story Lady White has many endings.

    In the song,the phrase, 'If I ever lose you, what would I be scared to lose...' indicates a tragic ending.

  4. Sir Hanks,
    This was certainly an experiment in free verse. I have loved this story for years, and long for the day, Malay legends will be made into a movie like this one.

  5. Ah amazing epic legend.. Here is my prayer that your dream of reviving Malay legend may become a reality .. That many more enthusiasts will rally with you to hasten your dream into a powerful vision. May the new year brings The Creator's Pleasure, Forgiveness and Blessing to you and yours..

  6. Dear Ayoh Wang,
    Thank you. We will pray for this together. I have half the mind to write a proposal to the Chinese directors. They are so creative and have a special rdgard for legends.


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