Forbidden love between a mortal man and a goddess shook heaven.
This is a story about a goddess and a human being falling in love and a son rescuing his mother from imprisonment. Liu Yan-chang and the goddess fell in love in the shabby temple where she was worshipped. Soon the goddess was carrying their baby. The goddess’s brother learned about this, came to the temple, and tore the couple apart by throwing the man back into the human world.
Liu Yan-chang (Liu) was rescued by a poor family of mother and daughter Gui-ying who looked a lot like the goddess. The goddess gave birth to a boy, Chen-xiang, whom she asked her companion to deliver to Liu. At this moment, heavenly soldiers came after Chen-xiang. The goddess sent her companion to save the family with her the sacred Lotus Lantern, which was the goddess’s protection light. Without the protection or the Lotus Lantern, the goddess was put into a dungeon under the mountains by the deities. Liu married Gui-ying. Together they raised Chen-xiang and gave the boy a little brother, Qiu-er.
One day the two boys went to school where they got into a fight and a fellow student was killed accidentally. It started by the student’s calling Chen-xiang names and Qiu-er would not allow it. The two boys went home to report to their parents, each saying the student’s death was his own doing. Liu and Gui-ying could not tell what really happened. Nor could they decide which boy to send to the court. Two famous arias take place in this episode: Liu praises the brothers for loving each other and sings of his anxiety. Gui-ying in turn sings of the 15 years in which she took care of Chen-xiang and how her heart was broken when she realized her husband would “prefer” sending the little son to the court to protect Chen-xiang. By and by the soldiers came and took Qiu-er away. The couple set Chen-xiang to flee, commanding him to rescue his own mother from the dungeon someday.
Fifteen years later, Chen-xiang has gown into a brave young man whom has been taught kung-fu by a compassionate deity, Pi Li. With the permission of his teacher, he set off to rescue his mother. Pi Li summoned the tigers in the mountains to help Chen-xiang. A dance of the tigers playing in the forests introduced these animals to the audience. Chen-xiang was also asssited by his mother’s companion who led the way.
After climbing mountains and fighting the heavenly soldiers, Chen-xiang arrived at the dungeon and was able to crash it open with his powerful ax and re-united with his mother.