The legend of White Snake is an ancient Chinese myth. The story was written in a text for the first time with the title Madame White Snake Jailed Eternally in the Leifeng Pagoda (Jing Shi Tong Yan, 警世通言) by Feng Menglong in 1624.
The story tells of a powerful female white snake demon, Bai Suzhen, and a green snake demon of lesser powers, Xiao Qing, that take on human form and become two beautiful women. They set home in human world and meet the scholar Xu Xian and the white snake fells in love with him and marries him. But the Buddhist monk, Fa Hai, warns Xu Xian that he married a snake demon and advises him to press her to drink some wine because it would change her in her real self. He follows that advice and because the white snake is pregnant and his magical powers are weakened, she turns on her snake form. As he sees her in her real form, he dies of fright. White snake brings him to life with a powerful herbal medicine. After giving birth to a son, white snake is imprisoned by Fa Hai under the Leifeng Pagoda (Thunder Peak Pagoda). Some versions tell the green snake manages to free her.
This story has had several adaptations in theatre, movies, and TV series. It has been performed in the Beijing Opera, Cantonese Opera and others.