The story happened in the West Lake, Hangzhou. A boy, in his previous life, saved the life of a white snake, and reincarnate in his next life as Xu. The snake became a spirit and to pay its debt to the boy, it turned itself into a beautiful young woman and went to the West Lake to find Xu and married him. Their love between a mortal and an immortal was, however, forbidden. A monk came to Hangzhou and tried to drive away any spirit which did not belong to this world. There was serious fighting between the monk and the snake, water of the West Lake was raised and the temple was flood. Xu was so shocked that his wife was a snake spirit, died. The snake stole the medical herb from Mount Emei and brought Xu back to life. The monk eventually brought the snake down, and put her in prison under the Lei Feng Pagoda by the West Lake.
It is a tragic love story and inspired numerous poets and artists and they turn it into operas, stage plays, dance drama as well as movie and films.
The West Lake, dotted with numerous temples, pagodas, pavilions, gardens and trees manifest a prefect fusion between man and nature. It is now a UNESCO site.