Unfortunately, Ye Xian’s father dies from a local plague, and a new chieftain was appointed to take his place, as Wu had no sons. With her family reduced to poverty, Ye Xian is forced to become a lowly servant and work for her scheming stepmother, Jin, and envious older sister (in the original tale, it is her younger sister, because of the value of superiority in Chinese culture. But due to later influence, Ye was cast as the youngest child). Despite living a life burdened with chores and housework, and suffering endless abuse at her stepmother’s hands, she finds solace when she ends up befriending a beautiful, 10 foot long fish in the lake near her home, with golden eyes and scales. The fish was really a guardian spirit sent to her by her own mother, who never forgot her daughter even beyond the grave.