The newlyweds decided to move to the city of Zhenjiang and open an herb shop of their own. The shop was a great success, for Lady White could tell just what was wrong with a patient and just what compound to prescribe. What’s more, she showed great dedication in helping the sick, no matter how poor.
The two were supremely happy with their work and with each other. Adding to their joy, Lady White soon announced she was expecting a child.
One day when Lady White had gone off to rest, an old Buddhist monk entered the shop and spoke to Xu Xian. “I am Fahai, the abbot of Gold Mountain Temple,” he said. “I have come to warn you of a great danger. By my spiritual powers, I have discovered that your wife is a thousand-year-old snake. She hides her true nature for now, but one day she will surely turn on you and devour you.”
“How dare you say that!” said the young man. “It’s nothing but wicked slander!”
But Fahai told him, “Just make sure she drinks realgar wine for the Dragon Boat Festival. She’ll change back then to her true form, and you’ll see for yourself.”