The old tales of China tell us that all things may grow and change. A stone may become a plant. A plant may become an animal. An animal may become a human. A human may become a god.
Just so, a snake may become a woman. And we are told of one who did.
Who can say for sure how it began? Yet after centuries of ceaseless effort-meditating, disciplining herself, mastering the energies of the universe – this white snake took human form. Immortal now and with great powers. she longed for one thing more.
-From Lady White Snake, retold by Aaron Shepard
Lady White Snake is an opera that has spanned Peking, Cantonese and other Chinese operas, and is one of the four most performed operas in China. It is the story of a snake whom eats immortality pills and feels forever grateful to their creator. During the times of trouble, the white snake turns into a woman, and saves a green snake from a beggar. This creates a sisterhood between the two characters. They settle down and open up a shop, marrying off to respective men, until one day they are tricked into showing their true form.