Under a False Name Monkey Beats the Demon Hound
Guanyin Appears to Subdue the Demon King
Matter has always been empty;
Emptiness said to be matter is only natural.
When one penetrates the dhyana of matter's emptiness
There is no need for cinnabar to be refined into elixir.
Rest not when pursuing perfection of virtue and conduct;
Endure suffering to achieve hard-won skills.
Sometimes one only turns to heaven when one's actions are complete,
To win an unchanging and immortal face.
The story tells how the Evil Star Matcher had the front and back gates tightly closed while Monkey was hunted for. The din went on till dusk, but no sign of him did they find. The demon king sat in the Flaying Pavilion, where he called his demons together and issued orders to the guards on all the gates to carry bells, shout passwords, beat drums and strike clappers. Everyone was to have an arrow on his bowstring or a sword unsheathed as he took his turn to keep watch during the night. Sun Wukong, who had turned into a fly, was sitting by the gates. Seeing how strict the security was at the front gates he spread his wings and flew to the gateway of the living quarters to take a look. He saw the Golden Queen slumped across a low table, the tears flowing down as she wept quietly in her sorrow, so he flew inside and landed lightly on the loose black clouds of her hair to listen to what she was crying about. A moment later she said tearfully, “My lord, you and I,
Burnt in an earlier life the incense of separation,
And now I have encountered an evil demon king.
For three years I have been gone: when will we two be reunited?
Great is the grief of mandarin ducks that are parted.
Just when the priest had brought me your message
Our union has been severed once more and the monkey is dead.
Because he was too curious about the golden bells
I long for you now more desperately than ever.”
When he heard this Monkey went behind her ear, where he whispered, “Don't be afraid, Your Majesty. I'm the holy monk, the venerable Sun Wukong, who was sent from your country. I'm still alive. It was all because I was too impatient. I went to your dressing table and stole the golden bells. While you were drinking with the demon king I sneaked out to the pavilion in the front, but I couldn't restrain myself from opening them up to take a look at them. I didn't mean to, but I tore the cotton wool muffling the bells, and the moment they rang flame, smoke and sand came gushing out. I panicked, threw the bells down, turned back into myself, and tried hard to fight my way out with my iron cudgel. When I failed and was scared they'd kill me I turned into a fly, and hid on the door pivot till just now. The demon king has made the security precautions even stricter and he won't open the doors. Will you act like a wife to him and lure him in here to sleep so that I can escape and find some other way of rescuing you?”
When the queen heard this she shivered and shook, and her hair stood on end as if a spirit were pulling it; she was terrified, as if her heart was being pounded by a pestle. “Are you a man or a ghost?” she asked, the tears streaming down.
“Neither man nor ghost,” he replied. “At the moment I've turned into a fly and I'm here. Don't be afraid. Hurry up and ask the demon king here.” The queen still refused to believe him.
“Stop appearing in this nightmare,” she said in a low voice through her tears.
“I'm not in a nightmare,” said Monkey. “If you don't believe me put your hand out and open it. I'll jump down into it for you to see.” The queen then put out her open hand. Monkey flew down and landed lightly on her jade palm. He was just like
A black bean on a lotus flower,
A bee resting on a peony blossom,
A raisin fallen into a hydrangea,
A black spot on a wild lily stalk.
The queen raised her hand and said, “Holy monk.”
“I'm the holy monk transformed,” Monkey replied. Only then did the queen believe him.
“When I invite the demon king here what are you going to do?” she asked.
“There's an old saying that there's nothing like liquor for ending a life,” Monkey replied, “and another that there's nothing like liquor for solving any problem. Liquor's very useful stuff. The best thing is to give him plenty to drink. Call one of your personal slave-girls in and let me have a look at her so I can make myself look like her and wait on you. Then I'll be able to make my move.”
The queen did as he told her. “Spring Beauty, where are you?” she called, and a fox with a beautiful face came in round the screen, knelt down and said, “What orders did Your Majesty call me in to receive?”
“Tell them to come in and light the silk lanterns, burn some musk, and help me into the front room,” the queen said. “Then I shall ask His Majesty to bed.” Spring Beauty went to the front and called seven or eight deer and fox spirits who lined up on either side of her. They carried two pairs of lanterns and one pair of portable incense-burners. By the time the queen bowed to them with her hands together the Great Sage had already flown off.
Spreading his wings, the splendid Monkey flew straight to the top of Spring Beauty's head, where he pulled out one of his hairs, blew a magic breath on it, and called, “Change!” It turned into a sleep insect that landed lightly on Spring Beauty's face. Now when sleep insects reach a human face they crawl into the nostrils, and once they are inside the person goes to sleep. Spring Beauty did indeed start feeling sleepy. She could not keep on her feet, but swayed about and felt dozy as she hurried to where she had been resting before, collapsed head first and fell into a deep sleep. Brother Monkey then jumped down, shook himself, turned into Spring Beauty's exact likeness and went back round the screen to line up with the others.
As the Golden Queen walked into the front part of the palace a little devil saw her and reported to the Evil Star Matcher, “The queen's here, Your Majesty.” The demon king hurried out of the Flaying Pavilion to greet her.
“Your Majesty,” the queen said, “the smoke and fire have been put out and there's no sign of the thief. As it's late now I've come to urge you to come to bed.”
“How considerate you are, my queen,” the monster replied utterly delighted to see her. “The thief was Sun Wukong who defeated my vanguard warrior, then killed my lieutenant and came here disguised as him to fool us. We've searched but can't find a trace of him. It makes me feel uneasy.”
“The wretch must have got away,” the queen replied. “Relax, Your Majesty, stop worrying, and come to bed.”
Seeing the queen standing there and inviting him so earnestly the demon king could not refuse too insistently, so he told the other demons to be careful with the fires and lamps and be on their guard against robbers before he went to the living quarters at the back with the queen. Monkey, disguised as Spring Beauty, led their way with the other slave girls.
“Bring wine for His Majesty,” the queen said. “He's exhausted.”
“Indeed I am,” said the demon king with a smile, “indeed I am. Fetch some at once. It'll calm our nerves.” The imitation Spring Beauty and the other servants then laid out fruit and high meat and set a table and chairs. The queen raised a cup and the demon king did likewise; each gave the other a drink from their own.
The imitation Spring Beauty, who was standing beside them, said as she held the jug, “As tonight is the first time Your Majesties have given each other a drink from your own cups I hope that you will each drain them dry for double happiness.” They did indeed both refill their cups and drain them again. “As this is so happy an occasion for Your Majesties why don't we slave girls sing and dance for you?” the imitation Spring Beauty suggested.
Before the words were all out of her mouth melodious voices could be heard as the singing and dancing began. The two of them drank a lot more before the queen called for the singing and dancing to end. The slave girls divided themselves into their groups and went to line up outside the screen, leaving only the imitation Spring Beauty to hold the jug and serve them wine. The queen and the demon king spoke to each other like husband and wife, and the queen was so full of sensuality that the demon king's bones turned soft and his sinews went numb. The only trouble was that the poor demon was not lucky enough to enjoy her favours. Indeed, it was a case of “happiness over nothing, like a cat biting a piss bubble.”
After talking and laughing for a while the queen asked, “Were the treasures damaged, Your Majesty?”
“Those are treasures that were cast long, long ago,” the demon king said, “so they couldn't possibly be damaged. All that happened was that the thief tore the cotton wool that was muffling the bells and the leopard skin wrapper was burnt.”
“Where have they been put away?” the queen asked.
“No need for that,” the demon king replied. “I carry them at my waist.” Hearing this, the imitation Spring Beauty pulled out a handful of his hairs, chewed them up into little bits, crept closer to the demon king, put the pieces of hair on the demon's body, blew three magic breaths, said “Change!” very quietly, and turned the pieces of hair into three revolting pests: lice, fleas and bedbugs. They all made for the demon king's body and started biting his skin wildly. Itching unbearably, the demon king put his hands inside his clothing to rub the irritation. He caught a few of the lice between his fingers and took them to a lamp for a closer look.
When the queen saw them she said mockingly, “Your Majesty, your shirt must be filthy. It can't have been washed for ages. I expect that's why they're there.”
“I've never had insects like these before,” he said in embarrassment. “I would have to make a fool of myself tonight.”
“What do you mean, making a fool of yourself, Your Majesty?” the queen said with a smile. “As the saying goes, even the emperor has three imperial lice. Undress and I'll catch them for you.” The demon king really did undo his belt and take his clothes off.
The imitation Spring Beauty was standing beside the demon king looking closely at the fleas leaping around between each layer of clothing, on which were rows of enormous bedbugs. Lice and nits were crowded as closely together as ants coming out of their nest. When the demon king took off the third layer of clothing and revealed his flesh the golden bells were also swarming with countless insects.
“Your Majesty,” said the imitation Spring Beauty, “hand me the bells so that I can catch the lice on them for you.” The demon king was so overcome with shame and alarm that he handed the three bells to Spring Beauty, not noticing that she was an impostor.
The imitation Spring Beauty took the bells and made a long show of catching lice. When she saw the demon king looking down to shake his clothes she hid the golden bells, pulled out a hair and turned it into three more bells just like the originals that she carried to the lamp to examine.
She then wriggled, braced herself, put the lice, bedbugs and fleas back on her body and returned the imitation bells to the monster. He took them but was still too befuddled to see that they were copies. Passing them with both his hands to the queen he said, “Put them away now, but be very careful with them, not like before.” The queen took the bells, quietly opened the chest, put them inside, and locked them in with a golden lock. Then she drank several more cups of wine with the demon king.
“Dust and clean the ivory bed,” she ordered the serving women, “and spread the brocade quilt. His Majesty and I are going to bed.”
The demon king expressed his thanks but said, “I have no such luck. I don't dare go with you. I'll take one of the palace women with me and go to bed in the Western part of the palace. I wish you a good night by yourself, ma'am.” With that each of them went to bed, and we will say no more of that.
Meanwhile the successful imitation Spring Beauty tucked the treasures into her belt and turned back into Monkey. He shook himself, took back the sleep insect, and headed for the front of the palace, where nightsticks and bells sounded together to mark the third watch. Splendid Monkey made himself invisible by making a spell with his hands and saying the words of it. Going straight to the gates he saw that they were very firmly locked and bolted, so he brought out his gold-banded cudgel, pointed it at the door and made unlocking magic. The gates swung easily open.
Hurrying outside he stood by the gates and shouted two or three times at the top of his voice, “Evil Star Matcher, give us back our Golden Queen.”
This startled all the devils, who hurried to look and saw that the gates were open. Quickly they fetched lamps to find the locks and fasten the gates once more. Several of them were sent running back inside to report, “Your Majesty, there's someone outside the main gates shouting your title and demanding the Golden Queen.”
The slave girls hurried out to say very quietly, “Stop yelling. His Majesty's only just gone to sleep.” Monkey gave another loud shout at the front gates, but the little devils still dared not disturb their master. This happened three or four times over, but they never went in to report. The Great Sage kept up his din till daybreak, by when his patience was exhausted and he swung his iron cudgel to hit the gates. This so alarmed the demons big and small that while some of them barricaded the gates the others went in to report.
As soon as the demon king woke up and heard the cacophonous din he got up, dressed and emerged from his bed-curtains to ask, “What's all the shouting about?”
“Sir,” said the kneeling slave girls, “someone's been shouting and cursing outside the cave half the night. We don't know who it is. Now he's attacking the gates.”
As the demon king went out through the gates of the palace several panic-stricken little devils appeared to kowtow to him and say, “There's someone shouting and cursing outside. He's demanding the Golden Queen, and if we say so much as half a 'no' he goes on and on at us, swearing in a thoroughly horrible way. When Your Majesty still hadn't come out at daybreak he got so desperate he started attacking the gates.”
“Don't open them,” the demon king said. “Go and ask him where he's from and what he's called. Report back as quickly as you can.”
The little devils hurried off to ask through the gates, “Who are you, knocking at our gates?”
“I'm your grandpa sent by Purpuria to take the Golden Queen back to her own country,” Monkey replied. When the little devils heard this they reported it to the demon king, who went back to the living quarters at the back to question the queen about why the attacker had come.
The queen had only just arisen and had not yet done her hair or washed when slave girls came in to report, “His Majesty's here.” The queen hastily tidied up her clothes and let her black tresses hang loose as she went outside to greet him.
He had just sat down and had not yet asked her any questions when little demons were heard again asking, “The Grand Par from over there has smashed the gates down.”
“How many officers are there in your country, ma'am?” The demon king asked with a smile.
“Inside the palace there are forty-eight brigades of horse and foot, and a thousand good officers; and there are ever so many marshals and commanders on the frontiers,” the queen replied.
“Are any called Grand Par?” the demon king asked. “When I was in the palace all I knew about was helping His Majesty in the inner quarters and instructing the consorts and concubines every morning and evening,” the queen said. “There were no end of things happening outside. How could I possibly remember the names?”
“This one calls himself Grand Par,” the demon king replied. “There's no such name I can think of in the book The Hundred Surnames. You're a very intelligent and well-born lady, ma'am, and you've lived in a royal palace. You must have read a lot of books. Can you remember coming across that name in any of them?”
“There's a passage in the Thousand Word Classic that goes, 'received grand instruction,'“ the queen replied. “I think that must refer to him.”
“I'm sure you're right,” the demon king said with pleasure, “I'm sure you're right.” He then got up, took his leave of the queen, went to the Flaying Pavilion, fastened his armor on neatly, mustered his devil soldiers, had the gates opened, and went straight outside with his flower-scattering battle-axe in his hand.
“Who's the Grand Par from Purpuria?” he yelled stridently at the top of his voice.
Grasping his gold-banded cudgel in his right hand and pointing with his left Monkey replied, “What are you shouting at me for, nephew?” The sight of him drove the demon king into a fury.
“Damn you,” he shouted:
“You've a face just like a monkey's;
You resemble a macaque.
A ghost is what you look like;
Don't try to knock me back.”
“Impudent devil,” laughed Monkey, “trying to bully your superiors and push your master around. You're blind. I remember how when I made havoc in Heaven five hundred years ago all the nine heavenly generals only dared speak to me with the greatest respect. If I make you call me Grandpa I'm letting you off lightly.”
“Tell me your name immediately,” the demon king shouted. “What fighting skills have you got that give you the nerve to come rampaging here?”
“You'd have done better not to ask me what I'm called,” Monkey replied. “But as you insist on me telling you I'm afraid you'll be in a hopeless mess. Come here and stand still while I tell you:
Heaven and earth were the parents that bore me;
My foetus was formed from the sun and moon's essence.
The magic rock was pregnant for years beyond number;
Strange indeed was the miraculous root's gestation.
When I was born the Three Positives were at their height;
Now I have been converted all is in harmony.
Once I was declared the chief of all the demons,
Who bowed to me by the red cliff as subduer of monsters.
The Jade Emperor issued a decree of summons,
And the Great White Planet came with the edict,
Inviting me to Heaven to take up my office,
But as Protector of the Horses I had no joy.
When I first planned rebellion in my mountain cave
Boldly I led my armies against the Jade Emperor,
The Pagoda-carrying Heavenly King and Prince Nezha
Were utterly helpless when they fought against me.
Then the White Planes made a new suggestion,
And brought another edict urging me to make peace
I was made Great Sage Equaling Heaven,
And proclaimed as one of the pillars of the state.
Because I disrupted the banquet of peaches
And stole elixir when drunk I met with disaster.
Lord Lao Zi submitted a memorial in person,
And the Queen Mother of the West did homage to the throne.
Knowing that I was running riot with the law,
They mustered heavenly forces and issued movement orders.
A hundred thousand vicious stars and evil planets
Were packed in close array with their swords and their halberds.
Heaven-and-earth nets were spread across the mountain
As all of the soldiers raised their weapons together.
A bout of bitter fighting left neither side the victor,
So Guanyin recommended the warrior Erlang.
The two of us fought together for mastery;
He was helped by the Seven Brothers who come from Plum Hill.
Each of us played the hero and did our transformations:
The three sages at the gates of Heaven opened the clouds.
Then Lord Lao Zi dropped his diamond noose,
And the gods led me as a prisoner to the steps of the throne-hall.
They did not bother with a detailed indictment:
The sentence was death by a thousand cuts.
Axe and hammer could not till me,
And I was unharmed by sword or saber.
Fire and thunderbolts were neither here nor there;
They had no way to destroy my immortal body.
I was taken under escort to the Tushita Heaven,
And all was arranged to refine me in the furnace.
Only when full time was up did they open up the vessel,
And I came bounding out from the middle of the crucible.
In my hands I was wielding this As-You-Will cudgel
As I somersaulted up to the Jade Emperor's throne.
All the stars and constellations went into hiding,
And I could play the vandal in the palaces of Heaven.
The Miraculous Investigator rushed to invite the Buddha,
Then Sakyamuni and I both displayed our powers.
Turning my somersaults in the palm of his hand
I roamed all over the heavens before my return.
The Buddha then, using both foresight and deception,
Crushed and held me at the ends of the heavens.
After a period of over five hundred years
My body was delivered and I could once more play up.
Guarding the Tang Priest on his journey to the West,
Brother Sun Wukong is very intelligent.
I subdue the demons on the Westward road:
Every evil spirit is struck with terror.”
When the demon king heard him tell that he was Sun Wukong he said, “So you're the so-and-so who made havoc in Heaven. If you were released to guard the Tang Priest on his journey West then you should be an your way there. Why are you being such a busybody and making trouble for me? You're acting as if you were the slave of Purpuria. By coming here you've thrown your life away.”
“Thieving damned monster,” Monkey shouted back. “You don't know what you're talking about. I was politely invited to help by the king of Purpuria. He addressed me very respectfully and treated me well. I'm a thousand times higher than that king. He treated me as if I were his father and mother or a god. How can you say I'm acting like a slave? I'll get you, you monster, for bullying your superiors and trying to push your master around. Stay there and take this from your grandpa.” The monster then moved his hands and feet as fast as he could, dodged the blow from the cudgel and struck back at Brother Monkey's face with his flower-scattering axe. It was a fine battle. Just watch!
The gold-banded As-You-Will cudgel,
The flower-scattering axe and its wind-keen blade.
One ground his teeth with terrible ferocity;
The other gnashed his molars and displayed his might.
One was the Great Sage Equaling Heaven descended to earth,
The other an evil demon king come down to the lower world.
Both snorted out clouds and shining mists that lit up the heavenly palace.
Sent stones and sand flying that blotted out the Dipper.
They came and went through many a movement,
Twisting and turning and giving off golden light.
Each used all of his talents to the full;
Both staked the whole of their magical powers.
One wanted to take the queen back to the capital;
The other would happily have stayed with her in the cave.
There was no deep reason for the struggle:
He was ready to give his life for the sake of the king.
When the two of them had fought fifty rounds without result the demon king realized that Monkey was too strong a fighter for him to be able to beat. Blocking the iron cudgel with his axe the demon said, “Stop, Sun the Novice. I haven't had my breakfast yet today. Let me eat, then I'll have it out with you.”
Monkey was well aware that he wanted to fetch the bells, so he put his cudgel away and said, “A hero doesn't chase an exhausted hare. Off you go. Have a good meal, and get ready to come back and die.”
The demon quickly turned and rushed inside, where he said to the queen, “Get me my treasures at once.”
“What for?” she asked.
“The man challenging me to battle this morning was a disciple of the monk who's going to fetch the scriptures,” he said. “He's called Sun Wukong, or Sun the Novice, and Grand Par was just a nickname. I've been battling it out with him all this time, but still there's no outcome. Just wait while I take my treasures out and set off smoke and flames to burn that ape.” These words made the queen feel very uneasy. If she didn't fetch the bells, she was worried that he might be suspicious, but if she did she feared that Sun the Novice would be killed. As she was hesitating the demon king pressed her again: “Hurry up and fetch them.” She had no choice but to undo the lock, bring out the three bells and hand them to the demon king, who took them and went outside the cave again. The queen sat in the inner quarters, her tears pouring down like rain, as she thought that Monkey would not possibly be able to escape with his life. Neither of them realized that the bells were only copies.
Once outside the cave the demon stood upwind and shouted, “Stay where you are, Sun the Novice. Watch while I ring these bells.”
“You have your bells, but why shouldn't I have mine?” Monkey replied. “You can ring yours, so why shouldn't I ring mine?”
“What bells have you got?” the demon king asked. “Show me.” Monkey pinched his iron cudgel to make it into an embroidery needle that he tucked into his ear then brought out the three real treasures from at his waist.
“Here are my purple gold bells,” he said to the demon king. The sight of them came as a shock to the demon.
“That's funny,” he thought, “very funny. Why are his bells exactly the same as mine? Even if they'd been cast from the same mould they'd not have been properly smoothed: you'd expect some extra marks or missing knobs. How can they be identical with this?”
“Where did you get your bells from?” he went on to ask again.
“Where are yours from, dear nephew?” Monkey replied.
Being honest, the demon king replied, “These bells of mine,
Come from deep in the Way of the Immortal of Great Purity,
Are made of gold long refined in the Eight Trigrams Furnace
Formed into bells renowned as ultimate treasures
Left by Lord Lao Zi till the present day.”
“That's where my bells come from too,” Monkey replied with a smile.
“How were they made?” the demon king asked.
“These bells of mine,” said Monkey,
“Were made of gold refined in the furnace
When Lord Lao Zi made elixir in the Tushita Palace.
They are cyclical treasures.
The two threes make six:
Mine are the female and yours are the male.”
“The bells are golden elixir treasures,” the demon king said, “not birds or beasts. They can't be male or female. As long as they yield what's precious when they're rung they're good ones.”
“Words prove nothing,” said Monkey. “Show it by actions. Shake yours first.” The demon king then rang his first bell three times. No fire came out. He rang his second three times. No smoke came out. He rang his third three times, and no sand came out either.
“Very odd,” he said, making wild gestures, “very odd. The world's changed. These bells must be hen-pecked. When the males see the females they don't dare to do their stuff.”
“Stop, nephew,” said Monkey. “Now I'm going to shake mine to show you what happens.” The splendid ape then grasped all three bells in one hand and rang them together. Watch as clouds of red flames, black smoke and yellow sand all come gushing out, setting the trees and the mountain ablaze. Monkey then said the words of another spell and shouted “Wind!” towards the Southeast; and a wind did indeed spring up that fanned the flames. With the power of the wind behind them the flames and smoke filled the heavens, blazing red and deepest black, and the earth was covered by the yellow sandstorm. The Evil Star Matcher's souls fled from his body in his terror, but he had nowhere to turn: amid that fire there was no way of escaping with his life.
Then a penetrating shout was heard from mid-air: “Sun Wukong, I am here.” Monkey quickly looked up and saw that it was the Bodhisattva Guanyin holding her vase of pure water in her left hand and a sprig of willow in her right with which to sprinkle sweet dew and put out the flames. In his alarm Monkey hid the bells at his waist, put the palms of his hands together and prostrated himself in a kowtow. The Bodhisattva flicked a few drops of sweet dew from her willow sprig and in an instant both flames and smoke disappeared, while no sign of the yellow sand remained to be seen.
“I did not realize, Most Merciful One, that you were coming down to the mortal world,” said Brother Monkey as he kowtowed, “and it was wrong of me to fail to keep out of your way. May I venture to ask where you are going, Bodhisattva?”
“I am here especially to find and take this evil monster,” the Bodhisattva replied.
“What is the monster's background, and how can he put you to the trouble of capturing him in your illustrious person?” Monkey asked.
“He is a golden-haired giant hound on which I used to ride,” the Bodhisattva replied. “The boy in charge of it fell asleep and failed to keep proper guard over it, so that the wicked beast bit through its iron chains and escaped to save the king of Purpuria from disaster.”
When Monkey heard this he hastily bowed and said, “You have it the wrong way round, Bodhisattva. He's been mistreating the king and his queen, and thus damaging public morality. So how can you say that he has saved the king from disaster when in fact he has brought him disaster?”
“You would not know,” the Bodhisattva replied, “that when the previous king of Purpuria was reigning and the present king was the crown prince and had not yet taken the throne he was a superb archer and huntsman. Once he led his men and horses hunting with falcon and hound. They came to the Fallen Phoenix Slope, where a young peacock and peahen, two children of the Buddha's mother in the West, the Bodhisattva Maurya Vidya Rani were resting. When the king shot with his bow he wounded the cock, while the hen died with an arrow still in her. After the Buddha's mother realized to her regret what had happened she ordered that the prince should be separated from his wife for three years and suffer himself the way birds do when they are parted from their mates. At the time I was riding that hound and we both heard her say that. I never imagined that the beast would remember it and come back to mistreat the queen and thus save the king from disaster. That was three years ago, and now that the misdeed has been paid for it was fortunate that you came along to cure the king. I am here to recover the wicked and evil creature.”
“Bodhisattva,” said Monkey, “this may well be so, but he did sully the queen, damage public morality, offend ethics and break the law. You can't let him off a non-capital punishment. Let me give him twenty blows before handing him over for you to take back.”
“Wukong,” said the Bodhisattva, “as you know I am here you really ought to show me the respect I deserve and spare him completely. This still counts as one of your successes in subduing a demon. If you hit him with your cudgel it'll kill him.”
Monkey dared not disobey, but bowed and said, “If you're taking him back to the ocean with you, Bodhisattva, you mustn't let him escape and come down to the human world again. That would be quite a catastrophe.”
Only then did the Bodhisattva shout, “Wicked beast! Turn back into your own form! What are you waiting for?” The monster could be seen doing a roll and turning back into himself. Then he shook his fur for the Bodhisattva to mount on his back. The Bodhisattva looked down at his neck to see that the three golden bells were missing. “Wukong,” she said, “give me my bells back.”
“I don't know where they are,” Monkey said.
“Thieving ape,” the Bodhisattva shouted. “If you hadn't stolen those bells then ten Sun Wukongs, never mind one, would have dared go nowhere near him. Hand them over at once.”
“I really haven't seen them,” Monkey replied with a smile.
“In that case I'll have to recite the Band-tightening Spell,” said the Bodhisattva.
This scared Monkey, who could only plead, “Don't say it, don't say it. The bells are here.” This was indeed a case of
Who could untie the bells from neck of the giant hound?
To find that out ask the one who first fastened them on.
The Bodhisattva then placed the bells round the giant hound's neck, and flew up to her high throne. Watch as the
Four-stalked lotus flowers blazed with fire;
Her whole body was thickly clad in cloth of gold.
We will say no more of how the Great Merciful One returned to the Southern Ocean.
The Great Sage Sun Wukong then tidied up his clothing and charged into the Horndog Gave swinging his iron cudgel and killing to his heart's content. He wiped all the demons out till he reached the inner quarters of the palace and asked the Golden Queen to go back to her country. She prostrated herself to him for a long time. Monkey told her all about how the Bodhisattva had subdued the demon and why she had been separated from her husband. Then he gathered some soft grasses that he twisted together into a long straw dragon.
“Sit on this, ma'am,” he said, “and shut your eyes. Don't be afraid. I'm taking you back to court to see your master.” The queen followed his instructions carefully while he used his magic power. There was a sound of the wind whistling in her ears.
An hour later he brought her into the city. Bringing his cloud down he said, “Open your eyes, ma'am.” When the queen opened her eyes and looked she recognized the phoenix buildings and dragon towers. She was very happy, and getting off the straw dragon she climbed the steps of the throne hall. When the king saw her he came straight down from his dragon throne to take the queen by her jade hand.
He was just going to tell her how much he had missed her when he suddenly collapsed, shouting: “My hand hurts, my hand hurts.”
“Look at that mug,” Pig said, roaring with laughter, “he's out of luck. No joy for him. The moment he meets her again he gets stung.”
“Idiot,” said Monkey, “would you dare grab her?”
“What if I did?” Pig asked.
“The queen's covered with poisonous spikes,” Monkey replied, “and she has poison on her hands. In the three years she was with the Evil Star Matcher in Mount Unicorn the monster never had her. If he had, his whole body would have been in agony. Even touching her with his hand made his hand ache.”
“Then what is to be done about it?” the officials asked. While all the officials were wondering what to do in the outer palace and the consorts and concubines in the inner palace were full of terror, the Jade and the Silver Queen helped their king to his feet.
Amid-the general alarm a voice was heard in the sky shouting, “Great Sage, I'm here.” Brother Monkey looked up, and this is what was to be seen:
The cry of a crane soaring through the heavens,
Then flying straight down to the palace of the king.
Beams of auspicious light shone about;
Clouds of holy vapors drifted all around.
Mists came from the cloak of coconut that covered his body:
Rare were the straw sandals on which he trod.
The fly-whisk in his hand was made of dragon whiskers,
And silken tassels hung around his waist.
He joined human destinies together throughout heaven and earth
As he roamed free and easy all over the world.
He was the Purple Clouds Immortal of the Daluo Heaven,
Come down to earth today to lift an enchantment.
Monkey went over to him to greet him with, “Where are you going, Zhang Boduan of the Ziyang sect?”
The True Man of Ziyang came to the front of the hall, bowed and replied, “Great Sage, the humble immortal Zhang Boduan greets you.”
“Where have you come from?” Monkey replied.
“Three years ago I passed this way when going to a Buddha assembly,” the True Man said. “When I saw that the King of Purpuria was suffering the agony of being parted from his wife I was worried that the demon would defile the queen. That would have been an affront to morality and made it hard for the queen to be reunited with the king later on. So I turned an old coconut cloak into a new dress of many colours and gave it to the demon king. He made the queen wear it as her wedding dress. As soon as she put it on poisonous barbs grew all over her body. They were the coconut cloak. Now that you have been successful, Great Sage, I've come to lift the spell.”
“In that case,” said Monkey, “thank you for coming so far. Please remove the barbs at once.” The True Man stepped forward, pointed at the queen, and removed the coconut cloak. The queen's body was once more as it had originally been.
The True Man shook the cloak, put it over his shoulders, and said to Monkey, “Please forgive me if I leave now, Great Sage.”
“Don't go yet,” said Monkey. “Wait till the king has thanked you.”
“I won't trouble him,” said the True Man with a smile, then raised his hands together in salute, rose up into the sky and went. The king, queen and the officials high and low were so astonished that they all bowed to the sky.
When the bowing was over the king ordered that the Eastern hall of the palace be thrown open so that they could give thanks to the four monks. The king led all his officials to go down on their knees and kowtow to them, and husband and wife were reunited. In the middle of the celebratory banquet Monkey said, “Master, bring out that declaration of war.”
The venerable elder produced it from his sleeve and handed it to Monkey, who passed it in turn to the king. “This was a letter that the demons sent his lieutenant to deliver,” Monkey said. “He was the officer I killed and brought here as a trophy. Then I turned myself into the officer and went back to the cave to report. That was how I saw Her Majesty and stole the golden bells. He almost caught me, but I did another change, stole them again, got them out and fought him. It was lucky for him that the Bodhisattva Guanyin came to collect him and tell me why you and Her Majesty were parted.”
He told the whole story from beginning to end in great detail. Everyone in the country-whether ruler or ministers, whether within the palace or outside-expressed admiration and gratitude.
“In the first place,” said the Tang Priest, “it was because of Your Majesty's own good fortune, and in the second place it was thanks to my disciple's efforts. We are deeply obliged to you for this sumptuous banquet today, and now we must take our leave of you. Please do not delay us poor monks on our pilgrimage to the West.”
When the king realized that his efforts to keep them there would be of no avail he inspected and returned the passport and arranged a great procession of royal coaches. The Tang Priest was invited to sit in his own dragon carriage, while the king, his queens and his consorts themselves all pushed it along as they saw them on their way then bade them farewell. Indeed:
He was fated to have his melancholy washed clean away:
The mind finds peace of itself when thought and worrying cease.
If you do not know what of good or ill lay in store for them on the way ahead listen to the explanation in the next installment.