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Chapter 75

The Mind-Ape Bores a Hole in the Male and Female Jar

The Demon King Returns and the Way Is Preserved

The story tells how the Great Sage Sun went in through the entrance of the cave and looked to either side. This is what he saw:

Hills of skeletons,

Forests of bones,

Human heads and hair trampled into felt,

Human skin and flesh rotted into mud,

Sinews twisted round trees,

Dried and shining like silver.

Truly there was a mountain of corpses, a sea of blood,

An unbearable stench of corruption.

The little devils to the East

Sliced the living flesh off human victims;

The evil demons to the West

Boiled and fried fresh human meat.

Apart from the heroic Handsome Monkey King

No common mortal would have dared go in.

He was soon inside the second gates, and when he looked around here he saw that things were different from outside. Here was purity, quiet elegance, beauty and calm. To left and right were rare and wonderful plants; all around were tall pines and jade-green bamboo. After another two or three miles he reached the third gates, slipped inside for a peep, and saw the three old demons sitting on high. They looked thoroughly evil. The one in the middle

Had teeth like chisels and saws,

A round head and a square face.

His voice roared like thunder;

His eyes flashed like lightning.

Upturned nostrils faced the sky;

Red eyebrows blazed with fire.

Wherever he walked

The animals were terrified;

If he sat down

The demons all trembled.

He was the king among the beasts,

The Blue-haired Lion Monster.

The one sitting on his left was like this:

Phoenix eyes with golden pupils,

Yellow tusks and powerful thighs.

Silver hair sprouting from a long nose,

Making his head look like a tail.

His brow was rounded and wrinkled,

His body massively heavy.

His voice as delicate as a beautiful woman's,

But his face was as fiendish as an ox-headed demon's.

He treasured his tusks and cultivated his person for many years,

The Ancient Yellow-tusked Elephant.

The one on the right had

Golden wings and a leviathan's head,

Leopard eyes with starry pupils.

He shook the North when he headed South,

Fierce, strong and brave.

When he turned to soaring

Quails laughed but dragons were terrified.

When he beat his phoenix wings the birds all hid their heads,

And the beasts all lost their nerve when he spread his talons.

He could fly thirty thousand miles through the clouds,

The Mighty Roc.

Beneath these two were ranged a hundred and ten commanders high and low, all in full armor and looking most imposing and murderous. The sight delighted Brother Monkey, who strode inside, quite unafraid, put down his clappers and bell, and called, Your Majesties.

The three old demons chuckled and replied, So you're back, young Wind-piercer.

Yes, Monkey replied. When you were patrolling what did you find out about where Sun the Novice is?

Your Majesties, Monkey replied, I don't dare tell you.

Why not? the senior demon chief asked.

I was walking along sounding my clappers and ringing my bell following Your Majesties' orders, Monkey said, when all of a sudden I looked up and saw someone squatting and polishing a pole there. He looked like one of the gods that clear the way. If he'd stood up he'd have been well over a hundred feet tall. He'd scooped up some water in his hand and was polishing his iron bar on the rocky scar. He was saying to himself that his cudgel still hadn't the chance to show its magical powers here and that when he'd shined it up he was coming to attack Your Majesties. That's how I realized he was Sun the Novice and came here to report.

On hearing this the senior demon chief broke into a sweat all over and shivered so that his teeth chattered as he said, Brothers, I don't think we should start any trouble with the Tang Priest. His disciple has tremendous magical powers and he's polishing his cudgel to attack us. Whatever are we to do?

Little ones, he shouted, call everybody, high and low, who's outside the cave to come inside and shut the gates. Let them pass.

Your Majesty, said one of the subordinate officers who knew what had happened, the little devils outside have all scattered.

Why? the senior demon asked.

They must have heard about his terrible reputation. Shut the gates at once! At once! The hosts of demons noisily bolted all the front and back gates firmly.

Now they've shut the gates they might ask me all sorts of questions about things in here, Monkey thought with alarm If I don't know the right answers I'll give the game away and they'll catch me. I'd better give them another scare and get them to open the gates to let me out.

Your Majesty, he said, stepping forward, there were some other wicked things he said.

What else? the senior demon chief asked.

He said he was going to skin Your Senior Majesty, replied Brother Monkey, slice up the bones of His Second Majesty, and rip out His Third Majesty's sinews. If you shut the gates and refuse to go out he can do transformations. He might turn himself into a fly, get in through a crack between the gates and catch us all. Then we'll be done for.

Be very careful, brothers, said the senior demon. We haven't had a fly here for years, so any fly that gets in will be Sun the Novice.

So I'll change into a fly and frighten them into opening the gates, thought Monkey, smiling to himself. The splendid Great Sage then slipped aside, reached up to pull a hair from the back of his head, blew on it with a magic breath, called Change! and turned it into a golden fly that flew straight into the old demon's face.

Brothers, said the old demon in a panic, this is terrible! He's inside! All the demons great and small were so alarmed that they rushed forward to swat the fly with their rakes and brooms.

The Great Sage could not help giggling aloud, which was just what he should not have done as it revealed his true face. The third demon chief leapt forward, grabbed him and said, Brothers, he almost had us fooled.

Who had who fooled? the senior demon asked.

The young devil who reported just now was no junior Wind-piercer, the third chief replied, but Sun the Novice himself. He must have run into a junior Wind-piercer and somehow or other murdered him and done this transformation to trick us.

He's rumbled me, thought Monkey with alarm, rubbing his face.

What do you mean, I'm Sun the Novice? Monkey said to the senior demon chief. I'm a junior Wind-piercer. His Majesty's mistaken.

Brother, said the senior demon, he really is a junior Wind-piercer. He's in the roll-call out front three times a day. I know him. Do you have a pass? he went on to ask Monkey.

Yes, Monkey replied, pulling his clothes apart to produce it. Seeing that it looked genuine the senior demon said, Brother, don't mistreat him.

Elder brother, the third demon chief replied, didn't you see him slip aside just now and giggle? I saw him show his face: it's like a thunder god's. When I grabbed hold of him he turned back into what he looks like now. Little ones, he called, fetch ropes! The officers then fetched ropes.

The third demon chief knocked Monkey over and tied his hands and feet together. When his clothes were stripped off he was most evidently the Protector of the Horses. Now of the seventy-two transformations that Monkey could perform, when he turned himself into a bird, a beast, a plant, a tree, a vessel or an insect he changed his whole body. When he turned into another person, however, he could only change his head and face but not his body, and indeed he was still covered with brown hair and had red thighs and a tail.

That's Sun the Novice's body, the senior demon chief said when he saw this, and a junior Wind-piercer's face. It's him! Little ones, he ordered, bring wine and give His Third Majesty a cup of it to congratulate him. Now that we've captured Sun the Novice the Tang Priest is as good as a meal in our mouths.

We mustn't drink now, said the third demon chief. Sun the Novice is a slippery customer and is good at escaping by magic. I'm worried he might get away. Tell the juniors to bring the jar out and put him inside. Then we can drink.

Yes, yes, said the senior demon chief with a smile, who then chose thirty-six little demons to go inside, open the storerooms, and carry the jar out. Do you know how big the jar was? It was only two feet four inches high. So why were thirty-six people needed to carry it? It was because the jar was a treasure of the two vital forces, male and female, and contained the seven precious things, the eight trigrams and the twenty-four periods of the year that thirty-six carriers were required to match the number of the stars of the Dipper. Before long the precious jar had been carried out, set down outside the third pair of gates, cleaned up and opened. Monkey was untied, stripped bare and sucked inside the jar with a hiss by magical vapor that came out of it.

The lid was then put back on and sealed on with a label, after which the demons went off to drink, saying, Now that he's in our jar that monkey can forget all about his journey West. The only way he'll be able to pay his respects to the Buddha and fetch the scriptures now will be by pushing the wheel of destiny backwards and being reborn. Watch how all the demons great and small go laughing off to celebrate. But of that no more.

Once inside the jar the Great Sage, who was very cramped, decided to transform himself and squat down in the middle, where he found it very cool. Those evil spirits don't live up to their reputation, he said to himself, laughing aloud. Why ever do they tell people that anyone put in this jar will be turned to pus and blood in a few moments. It's so cool that spending seven or eight years here would be no problem.

Alas! The Great Sage did not know about this treasure. Anyone put inside it who said nothing for a year would stay cool for a year; but the moment a voice was heard fires began to turn. Before Monkey had finished speaking the whole jar was full of flame. Luckily he could use the knack of making fire-averting magic with his hands as he sat in the middle of the jar completely unafraid. When he had endured the flames for an hour forty snakes emerged from all around to bite him. Swinging his arms about him Monkey grabbed hold of all of them, twisted with all his strength, and broke them into eighty pieces. A little later three fire dragons appeared to circle above and below Monkey, which was really unbearable.

It drove Monkey into a helpless desperation of which he was only too conscious, The other things were no trouble, he said, but these three fire dragons are a real problem. If I don't get out soon the fire will attack my heart, and what then? I'll make myself grow, he went on to think, and push my way out. The splendid Great Sage made a spell with his hands, said the words of a spell and called out, Grow! He made himself over a dozen feet tall, but as he grew the jar grew with him, enclosing him tightly. When he made himself smaller, the jar shrank too.

This is terrible, Brother Monkey thought with alarm, terrible. It grows when I grow and shrinks when I get smaller. Why? What am I to do? Before he had finished speaking his ankle began to hurt. Putting his hand down at once to feel it he found that it had been burnt so badly it had gone soft. I don't know what to do, he said with anxiety, My ankle's been cooked tender. I'm a cripple now. He could not stop the tears from flowing. Indeed:

When suffering at the demons' hands he thought of his master;

In facing deadly peril he worried about the Tang Priest.

Master, he exclaimed, since I was converted by the Bodhisattva Guanyin and delivered from my heavenly punishment you and I have toiled over many a mountain. I've beaten and wiped out a lot of monsters, subdued Pig and Friar Sand, and gone through no end of suffering. All this was done in the hope of reaching the West and completing the true achievement together. Never did I expect to meet these vicious demons today. Now I've been stupid enough to get myself killed in here I've left you stuck in the middle of the mountains. What a mess to be in for someone who used to be as famous as I was!

Just when he was feeling thoroughly miserable he suddenly remembered, Years ago the Bodhisattva gave me three life-saving hairs on the Coiled Snake Mountain. I wonder if I've still got them. I'd better look for them. He felt all over his body and found three very rigid hairs on the back of his head.

All the other hair on my body is soft except for these three that are as hard as spears, he said with delight. They must be my lifesavers. Gritting his teeth against the pain, he pulled the three hairs out, blew on them with magic breath and called, Change! One of them turned into a steel drill, one into a strip of bamboo, and one into a silken cord. He made the bamboo strip into a bow to which he fixed the drill. After a noisy spell of drilling at the bottom of the jar he made a hole through which the light came in. I'm in luck, he said with glee, I'm in luck. Now I can get out. No sooner had he transformed himself ready to escape than the jar became cool again. Why was that? It cooled because the hole he had bored in it let the male and female vital forces escape.

The splendid Great Sage put his hairs back, made himself small by turning into the tiniest of insects, a very delicate creature as thin as a whisker and as long as an eyebrow hair, and slipped out through the hole. Instead of making his escape Monkey flew straight to the senior demon chief's head and landed on it. The senior demon, who was drinking, slammed his goblet down and asked, Third brother, has Sun the Novice been liquefied yet?

Is the time up? the third demon chief asked. The senior demon told his messengers to carry the jar in. When the thirty-six young devils picked the jar up they found that it was far lighter.

Your Majesty, they reported with alarm, the jar's lighter.

Nonsense! the senior demon shouted. It has the full powers of the male and female vital forces. It couldn't possibly get lighter.

One of the junior demons who liked showing off picked the jar up and said, Look. It is lighter, isn't it? When the senior demon took the lid off to look in he saw that it was bright inside.

It's empty, he could not help shouting aloud, it's leaked. And Monkey, sitting on his head, could not help shouting, Search, my lads! He's escaped.

He's escaped, all the monsters shouted, he's escaped! The order was then given to shut the gates.

With that Monkey shook himself, took back the clothes that had been taken off him, turned back into himself and leapt out of the cave. Behave yourselves, evil spirits, he flung back insultingly. I've bored through the jar and you can't keep anyone in it any more. You'll have to take it outside and shit in it.

Shouting and yelling with glee he went straight back on his cloud to where the Tang Priest was. Here he found the venerable gentleman making symbolic incense with a pinch of earth and praying to the sky. Monkey stopped his cloud to listen to what he was saying. Sanzang had his hands together in front of his chest and was saying to Heaven,

All you immortals up there in the clouds,

The Dings and the Jias and each god and goddess,

Protect my disciple, whose powers are enormous,

And magic is boundless, the good Sun the Novice.

When the Great Sage heard this he decided to redouble his efforts. Putting his cloud away he went up to Sanzang and called, Master, I'm back.

Sanzang held him as he said, Wukong, you have been to great trouble. I was very concerned because you had gone so far into these high mountains and not come back for so long a time. How dangerous is the mountain in fact?

Master, Monkey replied with a smile, that trip just now depended in the first place on the good destiny of all the living beings in the East, secondly on your boundless achievement and great virtue, and thirdly on your disciple's magical powers. Then he told the whole story of how he had pretended to be a Wind-piercer, been drawn into the jar and escaped.

Now I've seen your face again, Master, It's like having a second life.

Sanzang expressed endless thanks then asked, Did you not fight the evil spirits this time?

No, I didn't, replied Brother Monkey.

Then you won't be able to escort me safely across this mountain, Sanzang said, at which Monkey, who hated to admit he was beaten, shouted, What do you mean, I won't be able to escort you?

If you and they have not yet had it out and you can only give me evasive answers I will never dare press ahead, the venerable elder replied.

Master, laughed the Great Sage, you really don't understand. As the saying goes, you can't spin a thread from a single strand of silk, and you can't clap one-handed. There are three demon chiefs and thousands of the little devils. How could I fight them all single-handed?

If you are that outnumbered you would indeed find it hard by yourself, Sanzang replied. Pig and Friar Sand also have their talents. I shall tell them to go with you to help you clean up the path across the mountain and escort me over it.

What you say is completely right, Master, replied Monkey with a smile. Tell Friar Sand to protect you while Pig comes with me.

Brother, said Pig in alarm, you're a poor judge. I'm rough and I can't do anything much. I'd just get in the way as I walked along. What use would I be to you?

You may not be up to much, brother, Monkey replied, but you're someone. As the saying goes, even a fart can swell the wind. You'd make me feel a bit braver.

All right, Pig said, all right. You can take me with you. But don't play any of your tricks on me when the going gets tough.

Don't forget that Friar Sand and I will be waiting here, said Sanzang.

The idiot braced himself and set off a gale with Monkey that carried them by cloud up to the top of the mountain where the entrance to the cave was. They saw at once that the gates were shut tight. There was nobody in sight anywhere around. Monkey went forward, his iron cudgel in his hands, to shout at the top of his voice, Open up, evil monsters! Come out right now and fight Monkey! When the young devils in the cave went inside to report the senior demon shook with terror as he commented,

I've heard tell for years of that monkey's ferocity;

Now I can vouch for the story's veracity.

What do you mean, elder brother? the second demon chief asked.

When that Sun the Novice first turned himself into a fly to sneak in here none of us realized who he was except our Third Brother, who put him in the jar. He used his skills to drill a hole in the jar, pick up his clothes and get out. Now he's outside challenging us to battle. Who's brave enough to be the first to take him on? Nobody replied. The senior demon asked again; again there was no response. Everyone was pretending to be deaf and dumb.

We've got ourselves a lousy reputation in the West already, the senior demon chief said in fury. Now that Sun the Novice has treated us with such contempt today our reputation will stand even lower if we don't fight him. I'm going out there to chance my old life on three rounds with him. If I can hold out for those three rounds the Tang Priest will still be a meal in our mouths. If I can't then shut the gates and let them pass. He then kitted himself out in his armor, had the gates opened and went out. As Monkey and Pig watched from beside the gates they saw that he was a fine monster:

On iron brow and brazen head a precious helmet

With tassels dancing brightly in the wind.

His eyes both flashed as if with lightning,

And ruddy glowed the hair at his temples.

Pointed and sharp were his silvery claws,

And his saw-like teeth were set close and neat.

His armor was golden, without any seam,

Bound with a dragon sash that could foresee the future.

In his hand flashed a cutlass of steel.

Such martial might is rare in the world.

With a voice that roared like thunder he asked,

Who is that knocking at my gates?

Your grandfather, Lord Sun, the Great Sage Equaling Heaven, said Monkey, turning to face the gate.

Are you Sun the Novice? asked the demon with a laugh. You've got a cheek, ape. I never gave you any trouble, so why are you here challenging me to battle?

'No waves come without a wind; without the tide the waters are still,' Monkey replied. Would I have come looking for you if you hadn't given me trouble? The reason why I'm here to fight is because your gang of foxes and dogs is plotting to eat my master.

From the way you're acting so fierce and shouting at our gates you must want a fight, the old demon replied.

Yes, Monkey said. Stop all that ranting and raving then, said the demon. It would be most unfair if I brought out my devil soldiers and drew them up in battle order with flags flying and drums beating to fight you as I'm on my own territory. I'll fight you single-handed with no helpers for either side.

When Monkey heard this he shouted, Keep out of the way, Pig, and let's see how he copes with me. The idiot did indeed get out of the way.

Come over here, the senior demon shouted, and be a chopping block for me. Let me hack you three times as hard as I can with sword on your bare head. After that I'll let your Tang Priest pass. If you can't take it then hand your Tang Priest over at once. He'll be a tasty morsel to help our rice down.

Bring out a brush and some paper if you have them in your cave and I'll give you a bond. You can hack at me from today till next year, but it'll be nothing to me.

The old demon then summoned up all his might, took up a stance with his feet apart, lifted his sword with both hands and hacked at the top of the Great Sage's head. The Great Sage raised his head, and though there was a mighty crash his scalp did not even go red.

That monkey really does have a hard head, exclaimed the old demon with shock.

You wouldn't know about it, said Monkey with a laugh. I was

Born with a skull of bronze and iron,

Like nobody else's in all the world.

Hammer and axe will never smash me;

I went in Lord Lao Zi's furnace when I was a boy.

The Star Lords of the Four Dippers helped mould me,

The twenty-eight constellations all used their skill.

I've often been soaked in water but never come to harm,

And all over my body the sinews are knotty.

The Tang Priest, fearing I would not stand firm,

Placed a golden band around my head.

Cut out that insolence, ape, the senior demon said, and take these two blows from my sword. I'm most certainly not going to spare your life.

It's nothing, Monkey replied. Have another cut like that if you like.

You monkey, the old demon said, you don't know about this sword,

Created in furnaces of metal and fire,

A hundred times tempered by divine craftsmanship.

Its sharp blade follows the Three Strategies,

And it is as strong as described in the Six Plans.

The point is as fine as a housefly's tail,

And supple as the body of a white dragon.

When it goes to the mountains dense clouds arise;

If it plunges into the sea the great waves roll.

It has been burnished times beyond number,

Heated and tempered many hundred times over.

Deep in the mountains it is kept in the caves;

Great is the glory it has won when in battle.

If I use it to strike at your monkish pate

I'll cut it into a pair of gourd ladles.

You're blind, evil spirit, laughed the Great Sage, if you think my head is just gourd ladles. I'll let you hack at me if you're silly enough to want to. Have another go and see what happens.

The senior demon raised his sword for another hack, which the Great Sage moved his head forward to meet. With a loud band his head was split into two, whereupon the Great Sage rolled on the ground and gave himself a second body. The sight so alarmed the demon that he lowered his sword.

Watching all this from a distance Pig said with a laugh, Give him a couple more hacks, old devil, then there'll be four of him.

Pointing at Brother Monkey the senior demon said, I'd heard that you can use self-dividing magic. Why are you showing it off to me now?

What self-dividing magic? Monkey asked.

Why was it that the first time I hacked you it made no impact, but this time I cut you in two? the senior demon asked. Don't worry, evil spirit, said the Great Sage with a smile. If you cut me ten thousand times there'll be twenty thousand of me.

You ape, the demon said, you may be able to divide yourself but you can't put yourself together again. If you can, hit me with your cudgel.

Don't talk nonsense, said the Great Sage. You asked to take three cuts at me but only took two. Now you've invited me to hit you once. I'm not Monkey if I hit you one and a half times.

Very well, said the senior demon.

The splendid Great Sage hugged his two bodies together, rolled, became one body again and struck with his cudgel at the demon's head. The old demon raised his sword to parry the blow. Damned ape, he said, you've got a cheek! How dare you come here attacking me with a mourner's staff like that?

If you ask about this cudgel of mine, shouted the Great Sage, everybody in heaven and earth has heard of it.

What's it famous for? the senior demon asked. To this Monkey replied:

The cudgel is made of nine-cycled wrought iron

Tempered by Lord Lao Zi himself in his furnace.

King Yu called it a divine treasure when he obtained it

To hold the eight rivers and four oceans in place.

In its middle the constellations are secretly set out,

And each end is banded with yellow gold.

Ghosts and gods are amazed at its intricate decorations,

Dragon patterns and phoenix signs.

Known as the Divine Male Cudgel,

It was inaccessibly deep in the bed of the sea.

Its shape can change and it knows how to fly,

Sending clouds of many colours drifting through the air.

Once it was mine I took it back to my mountain,

Where I discovered how its infinite changes.

When I want size it's as thick as a vat,

Or it can be as thin as an iron wire,

Huge as a mountain or small as a needle,

Adapting its length to the wishes of my heart.

Lightly I lift it and coloured clouds spring up,

Or it flies through the sky and flashes like lightning.

The cold air it gives off chills all who feel it,

And ominous mists appear in the sky.

I have carried it with me to beat dragons and tigers,

Travelling to all of the ends of the earth.

Once with this cudgel I made havoc in heaven,

And used its great might to wreck the peach banquet.

The heavenly kings were unable to beat me,

And Nezha was hard pressed to match me in combat.

With this cudgel against them the gods had no safe refuge;

A hundred thousand heavenly troops all scattered and fled.

The gods of thunder guarded the Hall of Miraculous Mist

When the cudgel attacked the Palace of Universal Brightness

All of the angels at court were flustered

And the Jade Emperor's ministers were thrown into panic.

I raised my cudgel to overturn the Palace of the Dipper,

Then turned back to shake up the South Pole Compound.

Seeing my dread cudgel at his golden gates

The Jade Emperor invited the Buddha to see me.

The soldier takes defeat and victory in his stride;

There is nothing to choose between suffering and disaster.

I stuck it out for full five hundred years

Until I was converted by the Bodhisattva Guanyin.

Then a holy monk appeared in Tang

Who swore a mighty oath to heaven,

To save the souls in the City of the Unjustly Slain

And fetch the sutras at an assembly on Vulture Mountain.

On the journey to the West are many evil monsters

Whose actions would be a great obstacle to him.

So, knowing that my cudgel is matchless in the world,

He begged me to be his companion on the journey.

When it struck down evil spirits they were sent to the Underworld,

Their flesh turned to red dust and their bones all to powder.

Evil spirits everywhere were killed by the cudgel,

In thousands upon thousands too numerous to count.

Up above it wrecked the Dipper and Bull Palace,

And below it ruined the Senluo Court in Hell.

Of the heavenly generals it routed the Nine Bright Shiners,

And it wounded all of the Underworld's judges.

Dropped from mid-air it shakes mountains and rivers;

It is stronger than the sword of an evil star.

With this cudgel alone I protect the Tang Priest

And kill all the evil monsters in the world.

When the monster heard this he trembled, lifted his sword and struck with all his strength. Chuckling, Monkey blocked the blow with his iron cudgel. At first the two of them struggled in front of the cave, but then they both sprang up and fought in mid-air. It was a splendid battle.

The divine rod had once secured the bed of Heaven's River:

The As-You-Will cudgel is the finest in the world,

Praise of its powers enraged the demon chief,

Whose mighty cutlass was full of great magic.

When they fought outside the gates they were still open to reason,

But no mercy was shown in their battle in the sky.

One could change his appearance at will;

The other could make himself grow on the spot.

The fight was so intense that the sky filled with clouds,

And all of the plains were enveloped in mist.

One had often determined to devour the monk Sanzang;

The other used his magic to protect the Tang Priest.

All because the Lord Buddha transmitted the scriptures

Evil and good were opposed in harsh conflict.

The senior demon and the Great Sage fought over twenty rounds without either emerging the victor while Pig admired their magnificent battle from down below until, unable to restrain himself, he grabbed his rake and leapt up into the air, riding on the wind to strike at the evil monster's face. The demon panicked, not realizing that Pig had no staying power, but could only rush recklessly in and give people a fright. All the demon could see was that Pig had a long snout, big ears and a vicious way with his rake, so he abandoned the struggle, threw his sword away, turned and fled.

After him, the Great Sage shouted, after him! The idiot raised his rake and went down in all his ferocious might straight after the monster. Seeing how close Pig was to him the old demon stood still in front of the mountainside, faced the wind, shook himself, resumed his real appearance and opened his mouth to devour Pig. This so terrified Pig that he fled as fast as he could into the undergrowth, not caring that brambles and thorns were tearing his head. He sat there trembling and listening out for the sound of the cudgel. When Monkey caught up with him the monster opened his jaws to eat Monkey up too. This was just what Monkey intended. Putting his cudgel away he went straight towards the demon, who swallowed him in a single gulp.

This gave the idiot such a fright as he was hiding in the undergrowth that he grumbled to himself, You've got no common sense, Protector of the Horses. Why did you go towards the monster when he wanted to eat you up instead of running away? Now he's swallowed you. Today you're still a monk, but tomorrow you'll be a turd. Only when the monster had departed in triumph did Pig emerge from the undergrowth and slip back by the way he had come.

Sanzang and Friar Sand were still waiting for Pig at the foot of the mountain when they saw him come running breathless towards them. Pig, said Sanzang with horror, why are you in this terrible state? Why is Wukong not here?

My brother was swallowed up by the evil spirit in a single gulp, Pig replied amid sobs, at which Sanzang collapsed in terror. A little later he stamped and beat his chest, saying, Disciple, I thought you were good at subduing demons and were going to take me to see the Buddha in the Western Heaven. Who would have thought that you would die at this demon's hand today? Alas! Alas! All the efforts of my disciples have now turned to dust. The master was thoroughly miserable.

Just look at the idiot. Instead of coming over to comfort his master he calls, Friar Sand, fetch the luggage. Let's split it between us.

Why, brother? Friar Sand asked. Divide it up, Pig replied, and all of us can go our separate ways. You can go back to the River of Flowing Sand and carry on eating people. I'll go back to Gao Village and see my wife. We can sell the white horse to buy the master a coffin to be buried in. The master was so upset when he heard this that he wept aloud to Heaven.

We shall leave them and return to the senior demon chief.

When he had swallowed Monkey he thought he had won, so he went straight back to his cave, where all the other demons came out to ask him how the fight had gone.

I've got one of them, the senior demon said.

Which one is that? asked the second demon with delight.

Sun the Novice, the senior demon replied.

Where have you got him? the second demon chief said.

In my stomach, said the senior demon, I swallowed him.

Elder brother, said the third demon chief with horror, I forgot to tell you that Sun the Novice wasn't worth eating.

I'm delicious, said the Great Sage from inside the demon's stomach, and I'll stop you from ever feeling hungry again.

This caused the junior devils such a shock that they reported, This is terrible, Your Senior Majesty. Sun the Novice is talking inside your stomach.

That doesn't frighten me, said the senior demon. If I'm clever enough to catch him do you think I'm not clever enough to deal with him? Make me some hot salty water at once. I'll pour it into my stomach, vomit him out, and have him fried at my leisure to eat as a snack with some drinks.

The junior devils soon had ready half a bowl of hot salty water that the old demon drained in one, filling his mouth. He then really did vomit, but the Great Sage, who had taken root in his stomach, did not even move. The monster then pressed his throat and vomited again till his head was spinning, his eyes in a daze and his gallbladder split, but still Monkey would not be shifted. By now the senior demon was gasping for breath.

Sun the Novice, he called, won't you come out?

Not yet, Monkey replied. I don't want to come out now.

Why not? the old demon asked.

You really don't understand, evil spirit, said Monkey. Ever since I've been a monk I've had scant food and clothing. Although it's autumn now and getting cool I'm still only wearing a thin tunic. But it's warm in your stomach and there are no drafts down here. I think I'll spend the winter here before coming out.

When the evil spirits heard this they all said, Your Majesty, Sun the Novice wants to spend the winter in your stomach.

If he wants to spend the winter there I'll take to meditation and use magic to shift him, the senior demon said. I won't eat anything all winter. The Protector of the Horses will starve to death.

You just don't understand, my boy, the Great Sage said. I came via Guangzhou when I started escorting the Tang Priest and I've got a folding cooking pan with me that I brought in here to cook myself a mixed grill. I'll take my time enjoying your liver, bowels, stomach and lungs. They'll be enough to keep me going till spring.

Brother, said the second demon chief with shock, that ape would do it too.

Brother, said the third demon, perhaps he can eat up some bits and pieces, but I don't know where is he going to set up his pan.

The collar bone is an ideal stand, replied Monkey.

This is terrible, said the third demon. If he sets up his pan and lights a fire won't the smoke get into your nose and make you sneeze?

That'll be no problem, said Monkey with a laugh. I'll use my gold-banded cudgel to push a hole through his skull. That'll be a skylight for me and serve as a chimney too.

The old demon heard this and was most alarmed despite saying that he was not afraid. All he could do was to summon up his courage and call, Don't be scared, brothers. Bring me some of that drugged wine. When I down a few goblets of that the drugs will kill the monkey.

At this Monkey smiled to himself and thought, When I made havoc in Heaven five hundred years ago I drank the Jade Emperor's wine and ate Lord Lao Zi's elixir, the Queen Mother's peaches, the marrow of phoenix bones and dragon livers. I've eaten everything. What kind of drugged wine could do me any harm?

By then the junior devils had strained two jugfuls of drugged wine, a goblet of which they handed to the senior demon chief, who took it in his hands.

Monkey, who could smell it from inside the demon's belly, called out, Don't give it to him! The splendid Great Sage then tipped his head back and turned it into the bell of a trumpet that he placed wide open below the demon's throat. The demon gulped the wine down noisily and Monkey noisily received it. The demon swallowed the second cupful and Monkey noisily drank that too. This went on till Monkey had drunk all of the seven or eight cupfuls that the demon downed.

That's enough, the demon said, putting the goblet down. Normally my stomach feels as if it's on fire after a couple of cups of this wine, he said, but this time my face hasn't even gone red after seven or eight.

Now the Great Sage was not a heavy drinker, so after taking these seven or eight cupfuls he started to act drunk in the demon's stomach, propping himself up, falling flat on his face, kicking about him, swinging on the demon's liver, doing headstands and somersaults, and dancing wildly. This caused the monster such unbearable pain that he collapsed.

If you don't know whether he lived or died listen to the explanation in the next installment.

Chapter 74 | Journey to the West (vol. 2) |