E. Hoffman Price’s 1979 The Devil Wives of Li Fong is a fantasy set in the China of “long and long ago, before the foreign devils came.”
Devout Buddhist monk Shih Sheng Kang’s efforts to attend to the spiritual needs of the forgotten departed have an unintended effect: two great serpent women, Mei Ling and Meilan, who were lurking unseen nearby, transform into human women. The effect of this alteration works its own transformation on the terrified monk, who promptly drops dead.
It is a tragic beginning for what Mei Ling and Meilan hope will be long, happy lives as human women. The monk is beyond saving, so the women bury their benefactor and set out in search of a husband.
Impoverished apprentice Li Fong’s life is fated to take a very unexpected turn.