home | login | register | DMCA | contacts | help | donate |      


my bookshelf | genres | recommend | rating of books | rating of authors | reviews | new | | collections | | | add

Chapter 61

Zhu Bajie Helps to Defeat a Demon King

Monkey's Third Attempt to Borrow the Fan

The story tells how the Bull Demon King caught up with the Great Sage Sun and saw him looking very cheerful as he went along with the plantain fan over his shoulder. So the macaque has also tricked the art of using the fan out of her, the demon king thought. If I ask him for it back to his face he's bound to refuse, and if he fans me with it and sends me sixty thousand miles away that would be just what he wants. Now I know that the Tang Priest is sitting waiting by the main road. When I was an evil spirit in the old days I used to know his second disciple the Pig Spirit. I think I'll turn myself into a double of the Pig Spirit and play a trick back on him. That macaque will no doubt be so pleased with himself that he won't really be on his guard. The splendid demon king could also do seventy-two transformations and his martial skills were on a par with those of the Great Sage: it was just that he was rather more clumsily built, was less quick and penetrating, and not so adaptable.

First he hid the swords then he said the words of the spell, turned himself into the exact likeness of Pig, went down, and met Monkey face to face. I'm here, brother, he called.

The Great Sage was indeed delighted. As the ancient saying goes, a cat that's won a fight is more pleased with himself than a tiger. Monkey was so confident of his powers that he did not bother to investigate why the new arrival was here, but seeing that he looked like Pig, called out, Where are you going brother?

The Bull Demon King made up an answer on the spot: You'd been away for so long that the master wondered if the Bull Demon King's magic powers were too much for you and you couldn't get the treasure. So he sent me to meet you.

There was no need to worry, said Monkey. I've already got it.

How did you manage that? the Bull Demon King asked.

Old Bull and I fought over a hundred rounds without either of us getting the upper hand till he broke off the fight and went to the bottom of the Green Wave Pool in Ragged Rock Mountain for a banquet with a whole lot of lesser dragons and dragons. I tailed-him there, turned into a crab, stole the water-averting golden-eyed beast, made myself look like him, and went to the Plantain Cave to trick Raksasi, She as good as married me on the spot and I conned it out of her.

You had to go to a lot of trouble, brother, the Bull Demon King replied. Can I hold the fan? Not realizing that this Pig was an impostor, or even considering the possibility, the Great Sage Sun handed him the fan.

Now the Bull Demon King knew the secret of making the fan shrink or grow, and as soon as he had the fan in his hands he made a spell with them that nobody could see, shrunk it back to the size of an apricot leaf, and reverted to his true form. Bloody macaque, he swore, do you know who I am now? As soon as he saw this Monkey regretted making so terrible a mistake.

With a cry of anguish he stamped his feet and yelled, Aagh! After all these years I've been hunting wild geese a gosling has pecked out my eye! He was now leaping around in a thunderous fury, and he took a crack at the Bull Demon King's head with his iron cudgel. The demon king then fanned him with the fan, not realizing that the Great Sage had inadvertently swallowed the wind-fixing pill he had in his mouth when he turned himself into a tiny insect to go into Raksasi's stomach. This had made all his entrails, his skin and his bones so solid and firm that no matter how hard the Bull Demon King fanned he could not move him. This alarmed the Bull Demon King, who put the treasure in his mouth and fought back, swinging a sword in each hand. The two of them fought a splendid battle up in mid-air:

The Great Sage Equaling Heaven,

The Bull Demon King of evil,

All for the sake of a plantain-leaf fan.

When they met each showed his powers;

The careless Great Sage got the fan by a trick,

But allowed the Bull King to take it back.

One mercilessly raised the golden cudgel,

The other wielded with skill his blue-tipped swords.

The mighty Great Sage belched out coloured mists

While the evil Bull King breathed brilliant lights.

Well matched in courage,

Both of them wicked,

They gnashed and ground their teeth in terrible wrath.

Heaven and earth were darkened by the dust they kicked up;

Gods and ghosts alike hid from the flying stones.

How dare you try to turn a trick against me!

I'll get you for what my wife promised you!

Coarse was their language and fierce were their tempers.

For tricking my wife you deserve to die.

When I sue you the sentence will surely be death.

The cunning Great Sage Equaling Heaven,

The murderous Strongarm Demon King:

Both of them only wanting to fight,

Neither of them willing to pause and discuss.

Equal the effort of swords and of cudgel;

Had either relaxed he'd have gone straight to Hell.

The story now tells not of those two locked in their struggle but of the Tang Priest sitting by the road and finding the heat unbearable. He was also very anxious and thirsty.

May I ask you, he said to the local deity, what that Bull Demon King's powers are like?

He has very great magic, the local god replied, and his dharma powers are unlimited. He and the Great Sage Sun are well matched.

Wukong is a very good traveler, Sanzang replied. He can normally go six or seven hundred miles and back in an instant. Why has he been away all day? I'm sure he must be fighting the Bull Demon King. With that he called for Pig and Friar Sand and asked, Which of you will go to meet your elder brother? If he is up against an enemy you will have to help him in the fight, get the fan, and come back. I am very impatient to cross these mountains and continue along our way.

It's getting late, Pig replied, and I'd like to go to meet him. The only thing is that I don't know the way to Mount Thunder Piled.

But I do, the local god said. Tell the Curtain-lifting General to keep your master company while you and I go there.

Sanzang was delighted. I am most grateful to you for going to such trouble, he said, and I shall thank you again when you have succeeded.

Pig then summoned up his spirits, tightened the belt round his black brocade tunic, and took his rake in his hands as he rose up on his cloud with the local god and headed due East. As they were going along they heard great shouts and were buffeted by strong winds. Stopping his cloud for a good look he saw that it was all caused by Monkey and the Bull Demon King fighting.

Why don't you join in, Marshal Tian Peng? the local deity asked. What are you waiting for?

At that the idiot brandished his rake and said with a great shout, Brother, I'm coming.

Idiot, said Monkey bitterly, you've ruined things for me.

But the master told me to come to meet you, Pig protested. He asked the local god to guide me as I don't know the way. That's why I'm a bit late. How can you say I've ruined things for you?

I'm not angry with you for being late, Monkey replied. It's this damned bull who's a thorough disgrace. I'd got the fan off Raksasi, but he turned himself into your double and came to meet me. I was so pleased to see you that I passed him the fan. He turned back into himself and we've been fighting it out ever since. That's why I said you'd ruined things for me.

This news put Pig into a flaming temper. Raising his rake he shouted abuse to the Bull Demon King's face: I'll get you, you pox-ridden bag of blood! I'll get you for pretending to be me, your own ancestor, to trick my brother and stir up trouble between us.

Watch as he starts lashing out wildly with the rake. The Bull Demon King, who had been fighting Monkey all day, was tiring, and he also realized that he would never be able to withstand the onslaught of Pig's rake, so he fled in defeat. But his way was blocked by a force of spirit soldiers led by the local god of the Fiery Mountains.

Wait, Strongarm King, the local deity said. All the gods and heavens are protecting Tang Sanzang on his journey West to fetch the scriptures. The Three Worlds all know about him, and the Ten Directions are supporting him. Please lend him your plantain fan to blow out the flames so that he can cross the mountains without danger or disaster. Otherwise Heaven will hold you criminally responsible and you're bound to be executed.

You haven't looked into the rights and wrongs of this at all, King Demon Bull replied. That damned ape has done one evil thing after another: he's stolen my son, bullied my concubine, and defrauded my wife. I wish I could swallow him whole and turn him into shit to feed to the dogs. I'll never lend him my treasure.

Before the words were all out of his mouth Pig had caught up with him and was saying abusively, I'll get you, you poxy bull. The fan or your life! The Bull Demon King had to turn round to fight Pig off with his swords while the Great Sage Monkey wielded his cudgel to help him. It was a fine fight they had there:

A boar turned spirit,

A bull become monster.

A monkey who had robbed Heaven and found the Way.

Dharma-nature can always overcome what has been created;

Earth must be used to combine with the prime cause.

Pointed and sharp were the nine teeth of the rake;

Flexible and keen were the two sword blades.

The movements of the iron cudgel dominated the fray;

The local god formed the cinnabar head.

The three of them struggled to overcome,

Each of them scheming to give play to his powers.

Metal money is best at making the bull draw the plough;

If the boar goes in the oven, wood is finished.

Unless the heart is in it the Way cannot be completed;

To keep the spirit controlled the monkey must be tied up.

Amid wild shouts and desperate pleas

The three types of weapon whistled through the air.

There was no kindness in the blows of rake and sword;

The gold-banded cudgel rose for good reason.

Their fight put out the stars and dimmed the moon;

The sky was filled with a cold, dark dreary fog.

The demon king fought hard and courageously for mastery, falling back all the while. When the dawn came after a whole night of battle there was still no victor, and in front of them now was the entrance to the Cloud-touching Cave on Mount Thunder Piled. The ear-splitting noise that the three of them, the local god and the spirit soldiers were making alarmed Princess Jade, who sent her serving girls to see who was causing the din.

The little demons on the doors came in to report, It's our master. He's fighting the man with a face like a thunder god, another monk with a long snout and big ears, and the local god of the Fiery Mountains and his men. The moment Princess Jade heard this she ordered the senior and junior officers of the guard to take their swords and spears and help their lord.

Good to see you, said the Bull Demon King with delight, good to see you. All the demons rushed wildly into the attack. It was more than Pig could cope with and he fled in defeat, trailing his rake behind him. The Great Sage sprang aloft out of the multiple encirclement on a somersault cloud; the spirit soldiers broke and ran. Old Bull led his host of demons back to the cave in victory and the doors were shut tightly behind them.

He's tough, damn him, said Monkey. He started fighting me at about four yesterday afternoon and we were nowhere near a result when you two came along to help last night. He fought for half a day and a whole night without showing any sign of tiring. And that bunch of little devils who came out just now were a rough lot too. Now he's shut the doors of his cave and won't come out. What are we to do?

It was about ten yesterday morning when you left the master, brother, Pig said, so why was it four in the afternoon when you started fighting him? What were you doing for the six hours in between?

I reached this mountain soon after I left you, Monkey replied, and saw a woman. When I questioned her she turned out to be his favorite concubine Princess Jade. I gave her a bit of a fright with my cudgel, so she fled into the cave and sent her Bull Demon King out. He and I swapped a few insults then started fighting. We'd been at it for a couple of hours when someone came to invite him to a banquet. I tailed him to the bottom of the Green Wave Pool on Ragged Rock Mountain and turned into a crab to do a little spying. Then I stole his water-averting golden-eyed beast and changed myself into the Bull Demon King's double to go back to the Plantain Cave on Mount Turquoise Cloud, where I conned Raksasi into giving me the fan. I went outside to try the magic spell out on the fan and made it grow, but I didn't know how to make it shrink again. As I was walking along with it on my shoulder he turned himself into your spitting image and tricked it back off me again. That's how I wasted six hours.

As the saying goes, Pig replied, it's just like a boatful of beancurd sinking: it came out of the wet and it disappeared into the wet. Easy come, easy go, But how are we going to take our master across the mountains if we're having so hard a time getting the fan? We'll just have to go back and make a bloody detour.

Don't get impatient, Great Sage, the local god said, and don't try to be lazy, Marshal Tian Peng. If you make a detour that will mean leaving the straight and narrow: you'll never cultivate your conduct that way. As the old saying goes, 'In walking never take a short cut.' You mustn't talk about detours. Your master is waiting by the main road, desperate for your success.

Yes, yes, said Monkey, his resolve stiffened, don't talk nonsense, idiot. The local deity is right. As for that Bull Demon King, we'll have to

Straggle for mastery,

Use our powers,

Until we can make the whole earth change.

Since coming to the West he has never met a rival:

The Bull King was originally the mind-ape transformed.

Only today do the sources flow:

We must hold out till we borrow the fan.

Put out the flames in the cool of the dawn,

Smash through obstinate emptiness to visit the Buddha.

When all is fulfilled we will rise to heavenly bliss,

And all go to the assembly under the Dragon-flower Tree.

These words braced Pig's spirits too, and eagerly he said,

Yes, yes, yes!

Go, go, go!

Never mind what the Bull King's powers are,

Wood grows in the nor'nor'west and is matched with a pig;

The bull-calf will be led back to the earth.

Metal was born in West sou'west and was an ape,

Without any conflict or conquest and full of peace.

We must use the plantain leaf as if it were water

To put out the flames and bring harmony.

Hard work by night and day with never a rest

Will lead us to success and the Ullambana feast.

The two of them led the local deity and his spirit soldiers forward, then battered the doors of the Cloud-touching Cave to pieces with the rake and the cudgel. This so terrified the guard commanders that they rushed inside to report, Your Majesty, Sun Wukong's brought his troops here and has smashed down our front doors.

The Bull Demon King was just then telling Princess Jade what had happened and feeling thoroughly fed up with Monkey. The news of the front doors being smashed made him beside himself with fury, so he put his armor on immediately and went outside with his iron mace in his hands shouting abusively, Damned macaque! You must think you're a very big shot indeed, coming here to play the hooligan and smash down my front door.

Old skinflint, retorted Pig, going forward, who do you think you are, trying to put other people in their place? Don't move! Take this!

Idiot! the Bull Demon King replied. Chaff-guzzler! You're not worth bothering with. Tell that monkey to come here.

You don't know what's good for you, cud-chewer, called Monkey. Yesterday you were still my sworn brother, but today we're enemies. Watch this carefully! The Bull Demon King met their onslaught with spirit, and the ensuing fight was even finer than the one before. The three heroes were locked in a melee. What a battle!

Rake and iron cudgel showing their might,

Leading the spirit soldiers to attack the ancient beast.

The beast displayed his terrible strength when fighting alone,

Reviving his powers that rivaled those of Heaven.

The rake hit hard,

The mace struck,

The iron cudgel showed its heroic powers.

The three weapons rang against each other,

Blocking and parrying, never giving way.

One said he was the champion,

Another claimed, I am the best.

The earth soldiers who were watching could hardly tell them apart.

As wood and earth were locked in combat.

Why won't you lend us the plantain fan?

You had the effrontery to mistreat my wife,

To ruin my son and terrify my concubine.

I haven't punished you for all of that yet,

And now you harass us and beat down my doors.

Be on your guard against the As-You-Will cudgel:

A touch of it will tear your skin open.

Mind you avoid the teeth of my rake:

One blow, and nine wounds all gush blood.

The Bull Monster fearlessly gave play to his might,

Wielding his mace with skill and with cunning.

Their movements turned the rain clouds upside-down,

As each of them snorted out his mists and winds.

This was indeed a battle to the death,

As they fought it out together with hatred in their hearts.

Taking new stances,

Offering openings high and low,

They attacked and they parried with never a mistake.

The two brother disciples were united in their efforts;

The solitary mace showed its might alone.

They battled from dawn till eight in the morning

Till the Bull Demon had to abandon the fight.

With death in their hearts and no thought of survival the three of them fought another hundred or so rounds till Pig took advantage of Monkey's miraculous powers to put all his brute strength into a rain of blows from his rake that were more than the Bull Demon King could withstand. He turned and fled defeated back to his cave, only to find the entrance blocked by the local god and his spirit troops.

Where do you think you're going, Strongarm King? the local god shouted. We're here. As he could not get into his cave the Bull Demon King fled, only to be pursued by Pig and Monkey. In his panic the Bull Demon King tore off his helmet and armor, threw away his mace, shook himself, turned into a swan and flew away. Monkey looked around and said with a grin, Pig, Old Bull's gone.

The idiot had not the faintest idea of what had happened and neither had the local god as they looked all around and aimlessly searched Mount Thunder Piled. Isn't that him flying up there? said Monkey, pointing.

It's a swan, Pig replied.

Yes, said Monkey, it's what Old Bull turned himself into.

So what are we going to do about it? the local god asked.

You two charge in there, wipe all the demons out without quarter and tear down his den, Monkey replied. That will cut off his retreat while I go and match transformations with him. We shall say no more of Pig and the local god smashing their way into the cave as they had been instructed.

Putting away his gold-banded cudgel and saying the words of a spell while making the necessary hand movements, Monkey shook himself and turned into a vulture who soared up into the clouds with his wings beating noisily, then swooped down on the swan, seizing its neck and gouging at its eyes. Realizing that this was Sun Wukong transformed the Bull Demon King braced himself and turned into a golden eagle who gouged, back at the vulture. Then Monkey turned into a black phoenix to chase the eagle, only to be recognized by the Bull King, who turned into a white crane and flew off South with a loud call. Monkey stopped, braced his feathers, and turned into a red phoenix, who called loudly too. At the sight of the phoenix, the king of all the birds whom no bird dared treat with disrespect, the white crane swooped down beside the precipice with a beat of his wings, shook himself, and turned into a river-deer grazing in a timid, stupid way at the foot of the cliff. Monkey spotted him, came swooping down too, and turned into a hungry tiger that came running after the river-deer, swishing his tail hungrily. The demon king had to move fast as he transformed himself into a huge leopard with spots like golden coins who turned to savage the hungry tiger. Seeing this, Monkey faced the wind, shook himself, and turned into a golden-eyed lion with a voice like thunder, a brazen head and an iron brow. He spun round to devour the leopard, at which the Bull Demon King immediately became a giant bear that ran after the lion. Monkey then rolled himself up and became an elephant with tusks shaped like bamboo shoots, and a trunk like a python that he stretched out to wrap round the bear.

The Bull Demon King chuckled and switched back into his own original shape as a great white bull with a craggy head and flashing eyes. Each of his horns was like an iron pagoda, and his teeth were rows of sharp swords. He was about ten thousand feet long from head to tail and stood eight thousand feet high at the shoulder.

What are you going to do to me now, damned macaque? he shouted to Brother Monkey at the top of his voice; at which Monkey too reverted to his own form, pulled out his gold-banded cudgel, bowed forward and shouted Grow! He then grew to be a hundred thousand feet tall with a head like Mount Taishan, eyes like the sun and moon, a mouth like a pool of blood and teeth like doors. He raised his iron cudgel and struck at the Bull Demon King's head; and the Bull Demon King hardened his head and charged Monkey with his horns. This was a ridge-rocking, mountain-shaking, heaven-scaring, earth-frightening battle, and there is a poem to prove it that goes:

The Way grows by one foot, the demon by ten thousand;

The cunning mind-ape puts him down by force.

If the Fiery Mountains' flames are to be put out,

The precious fan must blow them cool.

The yellow-wife is determined to protect the primal ancient;

The mother of wood is set on wiping out the demons.

When the Five Elements are harmonized they return to the true achievement;

Evil and dirt are refined away as they travel to the West.

The two of them gave such a great display of their magic powers as they fought on the mountain that they alarmed all the deities, the Gold-headed Protector, the Six Jias, the Six Dings and the Eighteen Guardians of the Faith, who were passing through the air, came to surround the demon king. He was not in the least afraid as he butted to East and West with his straight, shining, iron horns, and lashed to North and South with his strong and hairy tail. Sun Wukong stood up to him head on while all the other gods surrounded him till in his despair the Bull Demon King rolled on the ground, turned back into his usual form, and headed for the Plantain Cave. Monkey too put away his magical form and joined in the chase with all the gods, but once in the cave the demon king shut the doors fast. The gods then threw a watertight encirclement around Mount Turquoise Cloud. Just when they were all about to storm the doors they heard the shouts of Pig arriving with the local god and his spirit soldiers.

How are things in the Cloud-touching Cave? Monkey asked, greeting him.

I finished off Old Bull's woman with one blow from my rake, grinned Pig, and when I stripped her I found she was a jade-faced fox spirit. Her demons were all donkeys, mules, bulls, badgers, foxes, raccoon dogs, river-deer, goats, tigers, elk, deer and things like that. We killed the lot of them and burnt down all the buildings in the cave. The local god tells me he's got another woman who lives here, so we've come here to wipe her out too.

You've done well, brother, said Monkey. Congratulations. I tried competing with Old Bull in transformations, but I couldn't beat him. He turned into a simply enormous white bull, and I made myself as big as heaven and earth. We were just battling it out when all the gods came down and surrounded him. After a long time he turned back into himself and went into the cave.

Is this Plantain Cave? Pig asked.

Yes yes, Monkey replied, Raksasi's in here.

Then why don't we storm the place and wipe the lot of them out to get the fan? said Pig, his blood still up. Are we going to let the two of them live to be any older and wiser and love each other with tender passion?

The splendid idiot then summoned up his strength to bring his rake down on the doors so hard that doors, rock-face and all collapsed with a mighty rumble. The serving girls rushed inside to report, Your Majesty, someone's smashed the doors in and we don't know who he is. The Bull Demon King himself had just run panting in and was still telling Raksasi about his fight with Monkey for the fan when he heard this report, which made him very angry indeed.

At once he spat out the fan and gave it to Raksasi, who took it in her hands and said tearfully, Your Majesty, give the macaque the fan if he'll call his troops off.

Wife, the Bull Demon King replied, it may only be a little thing in itself, but I hate and loathe him. Wait here while I have it out with him again. Once more the demon put on his armor, chose another pair of swords, and went out to find Pig smashing the doors down with his rake. Without a word Old Bull raised his swords and cut at Pig's head. Pig parried with his rake and fell back a few paces till he was outside the doors, where Monkey swung his cudgel at the Bull Demon King's head. The Bull Monster then mounted a storm wind and sprang away from the cave to fight Monkey once more on Mount Turquoise Cloud. All the gods surrounded him, while the local god's soldiers joined in the fray from either side. It was a splendid fight:

Mists obscured the world,

Fog shrouded heaven and earth.

A whistling evil wind sent sand and pebbles rolling;

Towering wrath had the ocean's waves breaking.

With a newly-sharpened pair of swords,

And a body encased in armor once more,

His hatred was deeper than the sea,

And loathing made his fury greater than ever.

In his pursuit of glory the Great Sage Equaling Heaven

No longer regarded the other as an old friend.

Pig was using his might to obtain the fan

While the gods and protectors tried to capture the Bull.

Neither of the Bull King's hands could rest

As he blocked to left and right with heavenly skill.

Birds folded their wings, unable to fly past;

Fish stopped leaping and sank to the bottom.

Ghosts wept, gods howled; the earth and sky were dark;

Dragons and tigers were terrified and the sun was dimmed.

The Bull Demon King fought over fifty rounds for all he was worth till he abandoned the field and fled North, unable to hold out any longer. He was soon blocked by the Vajrapani Bofa from the Hidden Demon Cave on Mount Wutai whose magical powers were very extensive. Bull Monster, he shouted, Where are you going? I have been commanded by the Lord Sakyamuni Buddha to spread out heaven-and-earth nets and arrest you here.

As he spoke the Great Sage, Pig and all the gods caught up. In his desperation the demon king turned and fled South only to find his way blocked by the Vajrapani Shenzhi of the Cave of Cool Purity on Mount Emei, who shouted, I am here on the Buddha's orders to take you.

The Bull Demon King was now so terrified and exhausted that he turned and fled East, only to be blocked by the Vairocana monk, the Vajrapani Dali of Mo'er Cave on Mount Sumeru, who shouted, Where are you going, Old Bull? I am on a secret mission from the Tathagata to catch you.

The Bull Demon King withdrew in terror once more, this time to the West, where he came up against the imperishable king, the Vajrapani Yongzhu from the Golden Brightness Ridge on Mount Kunlun, shouting, Where are you going, damn you? I have been personally instructed by the venerable Buddha of the Thunder Monastery in the Western Heaven to cut off your escape this way. Nobody will let you pass.

The Old Bull was now trembling with fear, but it was too late for regrets. On all sides he was surrounded by the Buddha's troops and heavenly generals. It really was as if he were caught in a high net from which there was no escape. In his despair he heard Monkey coming after him at the head of his forces, so he sprang on his cloud and went up.

At just that moment Heavenly King Li the Pagoda-carrier was encamped in the sky with Prince Nezha, the Fish-bellied Yaksa and the Mighty Miracle God.

Not so fast, he shouted, not so fast. I am here on the mandate of the Jade Emperor to exterminate you. In his extremity the Bull Demon King shook himself, turned back into the giant white bull, and tried to gore the Heavenly King with his iron horns, while the Heavenly King hacked at him with his sword. Soon Brother Monkey arrived.

Great Sage, Prince Nezha shouted at the top of his voice, I can't greet you properly as I'm in armor. Yesterday my father and I went to see the Tathagata Buddha, who sent a note to the Jade Emperor. It said that the Tang Priest was held up by the Fiery Mountains and that you couldn't subdue the Bull Demon King, Great Sage. The Jade Emperor then ordered my father to bring his forces here to help.

But this damned creature's magical powers are tremendous, Monkey replied, and he's turned himself into this. What are we going to do about him?

Have no doubts, replied Nezha with a smile. Watch me catch him.

The prince then shouted, Change! gave himself three heads and six arms, and took a flying leap upon the Bull Demon King's back. With one swing of his demon-beheading sword he had the bull's head off before he even realized he had done it. The Heavenly King threw down his sword and went to meet Monkey. But another head grew out from the Bull Demon King's throat, its mouth breathing black vapors and its eyes flashing golden light. Nezha cut again, but as the head fell a new one appeared. Nezha's sword cut a dozen heads off and a dozen new heads immediately grew again. Nezha then hung his fire-wheel on the bull's horns, blew on the magic fire, and made it blaze so fiercely that the Bull Demon King bellowed in desperate pain, shaking his head and tail and trying for all he was worth to escape.

Just when he was about to do another transformation and get away his true image was fixed in Heavenly King Li's demon-revealing mirror. Now he could make no more changes and he had no way of escape.

He could only call out, Spare my life! I wish to be converted to the Buddhist faith.

If you value your life, hand the fan over at once, said Nezha. My wife is looking after it, the Bull Demon King replied.

Hearing this reply, Nezha undid his demon-binding rope and slipped it round his neck, then took him by the nose, ran the rope through it, and led him along by hand. Monkey meanwhile gathered together the four vajrapanis, the Six Dings, the Six Jias, the Guardians of the Faith, Heavenly King Li, the Mighty Miracle God, Pig, the local god and the spirit soldiers to crowd around the white bull and lead him back to the entrance to the Plantain Cave.

Wife, Old Bull called, bring the fan out and save my life. As soon as she heard this Raksasi took off her jewelry and bright-coloured clothing, dressed her hair like a Taoist nun and put on a white silk habit like a Buddhist one.

She came out through the doors carrying the twelve-foot fan with both hands, and at the sight of the vajrapanis, the gods, the Heavenly King and Nezha she fell to her knees in terror, kowtowing in worship and saying, I beg you Bodhisattvas to spare my husband and me. I present the fan to my brother-in-law Monkey for him to win his glory with. Monkey went forward, took the fan, and rode back East by auspicious cloud with the others.

Sanzang and Friar Sand had been waiting a very long time, sometimes sitting and sometimes standing, for Monkey to come back. They were extremely anxious by the time the sky was suddenly filled with auspicious clouds and the earth was lit up by blessed light as all the gods came whistling through the air towards them. Wujing, said the venerable elder in terror, whose divine soldiers are coming from over there?

Master, said Friar Sand, who could recognize them, it's the four vajrapanis, the Golden-headed Protector, the Six Jias, the Six Dings, the Guardians of the Faith and all the other passing gods. The one leading the bull is Prince Nezha, and there's Heavenly King Li the Pagoda-carrier holding a mirror. My eldest brother is carrying the plantain fan, and that's second brother and the local god behind him. The others are all escort troops.

Hearing this, Sanzang put on his Vairocana mitre and his cassock then went with Friar Sand to welcome the gods and thank them with these words: What merits do I, your disciple, have that I put all you holy ones to the trouble of coming down to earth?

To this the four vajrapanis replied, Congratulations, holy monk. The great task has now been achieved. We were sent to help you on the Buddha's orders. You must now continue your self-cultivation and not slacken for a moment. Sanzang replied amid kowtows that he accepted their commands.

The Great Sage Sun took the fan close to the Fiery Mountains, waved it as hard as he could, and put the flames out. Their glare disappeared. He waved the fan again and the rustle of a cool breeze could be heard; and at the third wave the sky was overcast with cloud and a fine rain began to fall. There is a poem that bears witness to this:

For hundreds of miles the mountains of fire

Lit heaven and earth with notorious flames.

When fire roasts the five passions the elixir cannot be made.

When flame burns the three passes the Way is not pure.

To borrow the plantain fan and bring down rain,

Heavenly gods had to help with their spiritual power.

When the bull is led to the Buddha it must stop being evil;

When water and fire are allied the nature is calm.

Having been relieved of his cares Sanzang stopped worrying. All the hosts then reverently thanked the vajrapanis, who all returned to their mountains, and the Six Dings and Six Jias went back into the sky to give their protection. The deities who had been passing by all went on their way; and the Heavenly King and Nezha led the bull back to hand him over to the Buddha. This left only the local mountain god waiting there with Raksasi under his guard.

Why aren't you on your way, Raksasi? Monkey asked. What are you standing there waiting for?

I beg you in your mercy, Great Sage, she replied, to give me back the fan.

You've got a cheek, damned bitch, roared Pig. We've spared your life and that should be enough for you. What do you want the fan for? When we've crossed the mountains we'll be able to sell it for food. Do you think we're going to give it to you after all the trouble and effort we've been to? It's raining, so be off home with you.

She bowed again and said, But the Great Sage promised to give it back when he'd put the fire out. I'm very sorry about all that has happened. It was only because I was feeling so upset that I put you to all that trouble. We too have learned to live like human beings. The only thing is that we had not been converted to the pursuit of the true achievement. Now our true bodies have turned to the West, and we will not dare do anything wicked again. I beg you to return the fan so that I can reform and cultivate myself.

Great Sage, said the local deity, let us make full use of this woman's knowledge of the art of extinguishing fire to put these fires out for good, and give her back her fan. Then I will be able to live here in peace, help the people who live here, and be given offerings of blood and food. This would truly be a great kindness to me.

I heard the local people saying that when the fan puts the flames out in these mountains they can only gather one harvest before they start burning again, said Monkey. How are we going to be able to put them out forever?

All you have to do to put the flames out forever, said Raksasi, is wave the fan forty-nine times. Then they'll never burn again.

Now that Brother Monkey knew this he took the fan and fanned the mountains with it forty-nine times as hard as he possibly could, whereupon heavy rain began to pour down. The fan really was a treasure: where there were flames it rained, and where there were not the sky was clear. By standing where there no flames master and disciples avoided getting wet. After spending the night sitting there they got the horse and luggage ready the next morning and returned the fan to Raksasi.

If I don't give it back to you, Monkey said, people might say I don't keep my word. Take the fan with you, go back to your mountain and don't make any more trouble. As you've achieved human form I'll spare your life. Taking the fan from him Raksasi said the words of the spell, pinched the thread so that it shrank back to the size of an apricot leaf and put it in her mouth. She then thanked them all and prepared to cultivate her conduct as a hermit. Later she too achieved the true reward and her name was made eternally famous through the scriptures. Raksasi and the local god expressed their deep gratitude to the four sages and escorted them along their way. As Monkey, Pig and Friar Sand escorted Sanzang along his way their bodies felt cool and the ground under their feet was pleasantly damp. This was indeed a case of

With the help of trigrams Kan and Li the primal is compounded;

When fire and water are balanced the Great Way is completed.

If you don't know how many years it was till they returned to the East, listen to the explanation in the next installment.

Chapter 60 | Journey to the West (vol. 2) | Chapter 62