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Chinese Literature - Theatre Plays and Opera
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Baishezhuan 白蛇傳 "The White Snake"
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This is a very popular tale the area of Hangzhou at least the Five Dynasties Period. The White Snake Bai Suzhen 白素貞 is very curious about the human life and transforms herself into a beautiful girl. She meets the young scholar Xu Xian 許仙 , and they fall in love. During the Dragon Boat Festival, Bai Suzhen drinks wine as retakes her original shape. Xu Xian is deeply frightened and dies. But with the help of a herb, Bai Suzhen reawakens him to life. Xu Xian seeks the help of a Buddhist monk named Fahai 法海和尚. But Fahai fights against the White Snake Bai Suzhen and buries her beneath a pagoda. Only Xu Xian's son is able to free his mother beneath the pagoda. The bad monk is transformed in a crab - the origin of the crabs in Hangzhou's West Lake.