The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily, and the ‘retold’ version used in this blog site, contains several incidents where ‘transformation’ is talked about. Consider the Old Lady and the Youth-Prince conversing as they walk to where the Snake’s bridge will be found crossing the river to the land of Spirit. The Old Lady is in an ever-deepening despair over her hand’s blackening after being dipped into the river. The Youth-Prince goes through a cycle of ups and downs as he talks of meeting the Beautiful Lily once again. All of his elation-despair is a result of his own thoughts as he learns more about Lily and his experiences in the Land of Dreams.
They hurry to reach the Snake’s bridge by noon-time as the very existence of bridge is only valid at noon-time or at mid-night. These are the only times when the Snake can create his bridge to the Land of Spirit. The illustration shows this pair reaching the Snake’s bridge. This is the second example of ‘transformation’ within the fairy tale. We can see the relation of the Bridge to the Green Snake in its colors which mirror the Snake’s colors and in the sea shells of the Snake’s necklace which adorns the bridge.
This transformation of the Snake facilitates the opportunity for others to benefit from the meeting with the Beautiful Lily. Upon reflection, it seems that this transformation does not benefit the Snake. Later in the progressing story, the Snake’s bridge is challenged as not being suitable for what will be required at some point. The Snake becomes a bit defensive. Being able to become a bridge and then return to form seems quite magical. Yet, one’s transformation is not ‘magical’ but is an attribute of one’s personal growth and conscious awareness. Most are not prepared to experience a transformation.
The fairy tale does not indicate whether the Old Lady or the Youth-Prince take the time to reflect on efforts of the Snake to provide a bridge for their use. The fairy tale does not show us how arrangements were made for the bridge by the Old Man with the Lamp, or by the Old Lady. Certainly the Youth-Prince had no hand in arranging for the bridge to be available. It was Will, of the Wisps, who requested the bridge from the Snake. Since he is not seen in this illustration, nor in the fairy tale, we assume that he immediately crossed the Bridge when it was first created. As the Old Lady and the Youth-Prince arrive at the Bridge, Will of the Wisps has already crossed over.
So, this scene in the Fairy Tale leads us to consider the concept of transformation on behalf o others and not just as a inflection point in our personal efforts to attain a form of conscious awareness. This form of transformation is better seen as a sacrifice, something that become emphasized at the end of the fairy tale.