A play written in the fourteenth century, The Story of the White Rabbit recounts the trials of Li Sanniang, a virtuous wife, and her eventual reunion with her husband and son. Shortly after their marriage, Liu Zhiyuan, Sanniang’s husband, leaves her at home to seek success and fortune. Sanniang is put to hard labor by her brother because she defies his order to remarry. Sanniang then bears a son and sends him away to reunite with his father. Sixteen years later, the son, now a youth, encounters Sanniang by chance during a hunting trip. Upon hearing of her misfortunes, he recognizes that she may be his mother and eventually brings about the reunion of his parents.
Bearing a Son
“Bearing a Son” tells of Sanniang’s difficult life after Zhiyuan’s departure. Already pregnant with her husband’s child, one evening while the exhausted Sanniang is grinding a millstone, she goes into labor. With no help from her sister-in-law, she gives birth to a son.and, in bitterness, severs his umbilical cord with her teeth. She then names the boy Navel Bit.