Ashima is spread in the Yi Autonomous County in Shilin of Yunnan Province. It is a long narrative poem of the Sani people who are a tributary of the Yi ethnic group. Generations after generations of the Sani people narrate or sing the story of Ashima with oral poem language.
The story goes like this: Ashima, a clever, kind, beautiful and diligent farmhouse girl falls in love with a brave and good-natured sheepherder who is called Ahei. Azhi, the son of a headman also admires Ashima, but was resolutely refused by the latter. Then, Azhi sent someone to compel Ashima into marriage with him, however, again refused firmly. So Azhi sent some people to rob Ashima when Ahei was away from home. Later, Ahei heard of the news and rushed home and saved Ashima. Azhi proposed to hold a song competition with Ahei, thereby, determines who the winner is. The result turns out that Azhi failed out. But he was still not willing to admit the failure. Taking advantage of the chance when Ashima and Ahei were resting by the side of a stream, he raised the floodgate and drowned Ashima. Ahei sadly called the name of Ashima, but she had become a lofty stone statue. Now, the legend has become a part of the daily life, wedding and funeral ceremonies and other customs of the Sani people, thus, sang from generation to generation among the people.