Journey to the West: Chapter 3

Chapter 3

The Four Seas and Thousand Mountains All Submit

In the Ninth Hell the Tenth Category Is Struck Off the Register

We have related how the Handsome Monkey King returned home in glory, bringing a large sword he had captured when he killed the Demon King of Confusion. From then on they practiced the military arts every day. He asked the little monkeys to cut down bamboo to make spears, carve swords out of wood, and learn to use banners and whistles. They learned to advance and retreat, and build a camp with a stockade round it. They spent a lot of time playing at this.

Once Sun Wukong was sitting in his seat of meditation when he wondered: "What would happen to us if our games were taken for the real thing? What if it alarmed some human monarch or gave offence to some king of birds or beasts? They might say that we were having military training for a rebellion, and attack us with their armies. You would be no match for them with your bamboo spears and wooden swords. We must have really sharp swords and halberds. What are we to do about it?"

When the monkeys heard this they all said with alarm, "Your Majesty has great foresight, but there's nowhere we can get them." When it was the turn of four older monkeys to speak—two bare-bottomed apes and two gibbons—they came forward and said, "Your Majesty, if you want sharp weapons they can be very easily obtained."

"How could it be easy?" asked Sun Wukong.

"To the East of our mountain," they replied, "there is a lake some seventy miles wide that is the boundary of the country of Aolai. That country has a princely capital, and huge numbers of soldiers and civilians live in the city. It must have workshops for gold, silver, bronze and iron. If you went there, Your Majesty, you could either buy arms or get them made; then you could train us to use them in the defense of our mountain. This would give us long-term security." Sun Wukong was delighted with the suggestion.

"Wait here while I go there," he said.

Splendid Monkey King! He leapt on to his somersault cloud, crossed the seventy miles of lake, and saw that on the other side there was indeed a city wall, a moat, streets, markets, ten thousand houses, a thousand gates, and people coming and going in the sunlight.

"There must be ready-made weapons here," Sun Wukong thought, "and getting a few by magic would be much better than buying them." So he made a magic with his fist and said the words of the spell, sucked in some air from the Southeast, and blew it hard out again. It turned into a terrifying gale carrying sand and stones with it.

Where the thunderclouds rise the elements are in chaos;

Black fogs thick with dust cloak the earth in darkness.

Boiling rivers and seas terrify the crabs and fish;

As trees are snapped off in mountain forests tigers and wolves flee.

No business is done in any branch of commerce;

And no one is working at any kind of trade.

In the palace the king has gone to his inner quarters;

And the officials in front of the steps have returned to their offices.

The thrones of princes are all blown over;

Towers of five phoenixes are shaken to their foundations.

Where the storm blew, the prince of Aolai fled in terror, and gates and doors were shut in the streets and markets. Nobody dared to move outside. Sun Wukong landed his cloud and rushed straight through the gates of the palace to the arsenal and the military stores, opened the doors, and saw countless weapons: swords, pikes, sabres, halberds, battleaxes, bills, scimitars, maces, tridents, clubs, bows, crossbows, forks, and spears were all there.

At the sight of them he said happily, "How many of these could I carry by myself? I'd better use the magic for dividing up my body."

Splendid Monkey King. He plucked a hair from his body, chewed it up, spat it out, made the magic with his fist, said the words of the spell, and shouted "Change!" It turned into hundreds and thousands of little monkeys, who rushed wildly about grabbing weapons. The strong ones took six or seven each and the weaker ones two or three, and between them they removed the lot. He climbed back up on the clouds, called up a gale by magic, and took all the little monkeys home with him.

The monkeys big and small of the Mountain of Flowers and Fruit were playing outside the gates of the cave when they heard the wind. At the sight of countless monkey spirits flying through the air they fled and hid. A moment later the Handsome Monkey King landed his cloud, put away his mists, shook himself, replaced his hair, and threw all the weapons into a pile beside the mountain.

"Children," he shouted, "come and get your weapons." When the monkey masses looked they saw Sun Wukong standing by himself on some level ground, and they all rushed over to him to kowtow and asked what had happened. Sun Wukong told them the whole story of how he had raised the gale and taken the weapons. After all the monkeys had thanked him they snatched sabres, grabbed swords, seized battleaxes, fought for pikes, drew bows, stretched crossbows, shouted, yelled, and so amused themselves for the rest of the day.

The next day they paraded as usual. Sun Wukong assembled all the monkey host, and they numbered over forty-seven thousand. This had alarmed all the strange beasts of the mountain—wolves, monsters, tigers, leopards, deer, muntjacs, river-deer, foxes, wild cats, badgers, raccoons, lions, elephants, horses, orangutans, bears, stags, wild boar, mountain cattle, antelopes, rhinoceroses, little dogs, huge dogs. The kings of various kinds of monsters, seventy-two in all, all came to pay homage to the Monkey King. They offered tribute every year and attended court in each of the four seasons. They also took part in drill and paid their seasonal grain levies. Everything was so orderly that the Mountain of Flowers and Fruit was as secure as an iron bucket or a wall of bronze. The kings of the monsters sent gongs, drums, coloured flags, helmets, and armour in great abundance, and every day there were military exercises.

One day, amid all this success, the Handsome Monkey King suddenly said to the other monkeys, "You are now expert in the bow and crossbow, and highly skilled in other weapons; but this sword of mine is too clumsy for my liking. What shall I do about it?"

The four veteran monkeys came forward and submitted a suggestion: "Your Majesty is an Immortal, so mortals' weapons are not good enough for you. We wonder if Your Majesty is able to travel underwater."

"Since hearing the Way," Sun Wukong replied, "I have mastered the seventy-two earthly transformations. My somersault cloud has outstanding magical powers. I know how to conceal myself and vanish. I can make spells and end them. I can reach the sky and find my way into the earth. I can travel under the sun or moon without leaving a shadow or go through metal or stone freely. I can't be drowned by water or burned by fire. There's nowhere I cannot go."

"If Your Majesty has these magical powers, the stream under our iron bridge leads to the Dragon palace of the Eastern Sea. If you are willing to go down there, go and find the Dragon King and ask him for whatever weapon it is you want. Wouldn't that suit you?"

"Wait till I get back," was Sun Wukong's delighted reply.

Splendid Monkey King. He leapt to the end of the bridge and made a spell with his fist to ward off the water. Then he dived into the waves and split the waters to make way for himself till he reached the bed of the Eastern Sea. On his journey he saw a yaksha demon who was patrolling the sea.

The yaksha barred his way and asked, "What sage or divinity are you, pushing the waters aside like that? Please tell me so that I can make a report and have you properly received."

"I am the Heaven-born Sage Sun Wukong from the Mountain of Flowers and Fruit, and your old Dragon King's close neighbour. How is it you don't know me?"

When the yaksha heard this he hurried back to the crystal palace and reported, "Your Majesty, Sun Wukong, the Heaven-born Sage from the Mountain of Flowers and Fruit who says he is your neighbour, is coming to your palace." Ao Guang, the Old Dragon King of the Eastern Sea, leapt to his feet and went out to meet Sun Wukong with his dragon sons and grandsons, his prawn soldiers, and his crab generals.

"Come in, exalted Immortal," he said, taking Sun Wukong into the palace where they introduced themselves, seated him in the place of honour, and offered him tea. Then the Dragon King asked him, "Exalted Immortal, when did you find the Way, and what magic arts did you acquire?"

"After my birth," said Sun Wukong, "I renounced the world and cultivated my conduct, and thus obtained an immortal and indestructible body. Recently I have trained my sons and grandsons to guard our cave, but unfortunately I have not yet found my self a weapon. I have long heard that my illustrious neighbour enjoys the delights of a jade palace with gate-towers of cowry, and I was sure that you must have some magic weapons to spare, so I have come especially to beg one of you."

Not wishing to refuse this request, the Dragon King sent Commander Perch to fetch a large sword and offer it to Sun Wukong.

"I don't know how to use a sword," said Sun Wukong, "so could I ask you to give me something else?" The Old Dragon King then sent Colonel Mackerel and Guard Commander Eel to fetch a nine-pronged spear.

Sun Wukong leapt down from his seat, took it, tried it out, then flung it down, saying, "It's too light, far too light; and it doesn't suit me. I beg you to give me another."

The Dragon King smiled as he said, "Exalted Immortal, don't you see that this weighs three thousand six hundred pounds?"

"It doesn't suit me, it doesn't suit me at all," protested Sun Wukong.

The Dragon King, feeling frightened now, ordered Provincial Commander Bream and Garrison Commander Carp to bring out a patterned heavenly halberd for warding off spells that weighed seven thousand two hundred pounds.

As soon as he saw it Sun Wukong bounded forward to take it. He tried a few postures and thrusts with it then stuck it in the ground between them. "Still too light, far too light."

The Dragon King, now really terrified, said, "Exalted Immortal, that halberd is the heaviest weapon in my palace."

"As the old saying goes," said Sun Wukong with a grin, "'Never think the dragon king has no treasures.' Have another look, and if you find anything satisfying I'll give you a good price for it."

"I really have nothing else," the Dragon King replied.

As he was speaking, his dragon wife and dragon daughters came in from the back of the palace and said, "Your Majesty, by the look of him this sage must be really somebody. The piece of miraculous iron that anchors the Milkey Way in place has been shining with a lovely rosy glow for the last few days, and creating a most auspicious atmosphere. Perhaps it has started to shine to greet this sage."

"That piece of miraculous iron is one of the nails that Yu the Great used to fix the depths of rivers and seas when he brought the waters under control," said the Dragon King. "What use could it be?"

"Never mind whether it's useful or not," his wife replied. "Just give it to him and let him do with it as he pleases. At least you'll get him out of the palace."

The Dragon King did as she suggested and described the piece of iron to Sun Wukong, who said, "Bring it out and let me see."

"It can't be moved. You will have to go and look at it yourself, exalted Immortal."

"Where is it? Take me there," said Sun Wukong.

The Dragon King took him into the middle of the sea treasury, where all of a sudden they could see ten thousand rays of golden light. Pointing at it, the Dragon King said, "That's it, where all the light is coming from."

Sun Wukong hitched up his clothes and went to give it a feel. He found that it was an iron pillar about as thick as a measure for a peck of grain and some twenty feet long. Seizing it with both hands he said, "It's too thick and too long. If it were a bit shorter and thinner it would do." As soon as these words were out of his mouth this precious piece of iron became several feet shorter and a few inches thinner.

Sun Wukong tossed it in his hands, remarking that it would be even better if it were thinner still. The precious iron thereupon became even thinner. Sun Wukong was taking it out of the sea treasury to have a look at it when he saw that it had two gold bands round it, while the middle part was made of black iron. There was a line of inlaid writing near the bands which said that it was the AS-YOU-WILL COLD-BANDED CUDGEL: WEIGHT 13,500 POUNDS.

Sun Wukong was delighted, though he did not show it. "I think that this little darling will do whatever I want." As he walked along he weighed it in his hand and said reflectively, "If it were even smaller still it would be perfect." By the time he had taken it outside it was twenty feet long and as thick as a rice bowl.

Watch him as he uses his magical powers to try a few routines with it, whirling all round the crystal palace. The Old Dragon King was trembling with fright, and the little dragons were scared out of their wits. Terrapins, freshwater turtles, seawater turtles and alligators drew in their heads, while fish, shrimps, lobsters and giant turtles hid their faces.

Holding his treasure in his hands, Sun Wukong sat down in the main hall of the palace of crystal and said with a smile to the Dragon King, "Many thanks, worthy neighbour, for your great generosity."

The Old Dragon King humbly acknowledged his thanks, and Sun Wukong went on, "This piece of iron will be very useful, but there is one more thing I want to ask."

"What might that be, exalted Immortal?" asked the Dragon King.

"If I hadn't got this cudgel, that would be the end of the matter, but as I have got it the problem is that I don't have-the clothes to go with it. What are we to do about it? If you have any armour here, I'd be most obliged if you gave me a suit." The Dragon King said he had not any.

"'A guest should not have to trouble two hosts,'" said Sun Wukong. "I won't leave without one."

"Please try some other sea, exalted Immortal—you may find one there."

"'It's better to stay in one house than to visit three.' I beg and implore you to give me a suit."

"I really don't have one," replied the Dragon King. "If I had I would present it to you."

"If you really haven't, then I'll try this cudgel out on you."

"Don't hit me, exalted Immortal, don't hit me," pleaded the Dragon King in terror. "Let me see whether my brothers have one that they could give you."

"Where do your brothers live?"

"They are Ao Qin, the Dragon King of the Southern Sea, Ao Shun, the Dragon King of the Northern Sea, and Ao Run, the Dragon King of the Southern Sea."

"I'm damned if I'm going there: as the saying goes, 'Two in the pocket is better than three owing.' So be a good chap and give me one."

"There is no need for you to go, lofty Immortal," the Dragon King replied, "I have an iron drum and a bronze bell. In an emergency we strike them to bring my brothers here in an instant."

"In that case," said Sun Wukong, "hurry up and sound them." And indeed an alligator general struck the bell while a terrapin marshal beat the drum. The sound of the bell and the drum startled the other three dragon kings, who had arrived and were waiting together outside within the instant.

One of them, Ao Qin, said, "Elder Brother, what's up? Why the drum and the bell?"

"It hurts me to tell you, brother," the Old Dragon King replied. "There's this so-called heaven-born sage from the Mountain of Flowers and Fruit who came here this morning saying that I was his neighbour, then demanded a weapon. I offered him a steel-pronged spear but he said it was too small, and a patterned halberd that he said was too light. Then he picked up the miraculous iron that fastens the Milky Way and tried a few movements with it. Now he's sitting in the palace and demanding a suit of armour, but we haven't got one. That's why I used the bell and the drum to call you here. You three must have some armour. Please give him a suit, then we can get rid of him."

When Ao Qin heard this he said in a fury, "To arms, brothers. Arrest the criminal."

"No! No! It's out of the question," said the Old Dragon King. "If that iron cudgel of his gets you you're done for, if it hits you die, if it comes close your skin is broken, and if it so much as brushes against you your sinews are smashed."

Ao Run, the Dragon King of the Western Sea, said, "Second brother, you must not attack him. Instead we should put a suit of armour together for him, then send him away. We can send a memorial about it to Heaven, then Heaven will of course punish him."

"You're right," said Ao Shun, the Dragon King of the Northern Sea. "I have a pair of lotus-root cloud-walking shoes."

"I've brought a suit of golden chain mail," said Ao Run, the Dragon King of the Western Sea.

"And I have a phoenix-winged purple gold helmet," added Ao Qin, the Dragon King of the Southern Sea. The Old Dragon King was very pleased, and he brought them into the palace to meet Sun Wukong and present the equipment to him.

Sun Wukong put on the golden helmet and the armour and the cloud-walking shoes, then charged out, waving his cudgel and saying to the dragons, "My apologies for disturbing you." The four Dragon Kings were most indignant, but we will not go into their discussions on the protest they sent to Heaven.

Watch the Monkey King as he parts the waters and goes straight back to the iron bridge, where the four senior apes can be seen waiting for him at the head of the monkey host. Sun Wukong suddenly leapt out of the waves without a drop of water on him and gleaming with gold.

As he came across the bridge the monkeys were so astonished that they fell to their knees and said, "How splendid you look, Your Majesty, how splendid." Sun Wukong, his face lit up with youthful vigor, climbed up to his throne, thrust his cudgel into the ground in their midst. The foolish monkeys all tried to grab this treasure, but it was as futile as a dragonfly trying to shake an iron tree: they were unable to move it in the slightest.

Biting their fingers and sticking out their tongues they said, "Grandpa, it's so heavy, how can you possibly lift it?"

Sun Wukong went over, lifted it with one hand, and laughed as he said to them, "Everything has its rightful owner. This little treasure has been lying in the sea treasury for goodness knows how many thousands of years, but it just happened to start shining this year. The Dragon King thought it was just a piece of ordinary iron, and said it was the miraculous treasure that holds the bed of the Milky Way in place. None of his men could move it, so he had to ask me to go and fetch it myself. It was more than twenty feet long then, and as thick as a peck-measure. When I picked it up I felt that it was too big, and it shrank till it was several times as small. I told it to get even smaller, and it did that too; then I told it to get smaller still, and it got many times smaller again. I hurried out into the light of day to look at it, and I saw that there was an inscription on it that read 'AS-YOU-WILL GOLD-BANDED CUDGEL: WEIGHT 13,500 POUNDS'. Stand aside, and I'll make it change again."

Holding his treasure in his hand he said, "Shrink, shrink, shrink," and it became as small as an embroidery needle, tiny enough to be hidden in his ear.

"Your Majesty," the monkeys cried out in astonishment, "bring it out and play with it again."

So the Monkey King brought it out of his ear again, laid it on the palm of his hand, and said, "Grow, grow, grow." It became as thick as a peck again and twenty feet long. Now that he was really enjoying himself he bounded over the bridge and went out of the cave. Clasping his treasure he used some of his heaven and earth magic, bowed, and shouted, "Grow."

He became a hundred thousand feet tall; his head was as big as a mountain, his waist like a range of hills, his eyes flashed like lightning, his mouth seemed to be a bowl of blood, and his teeth were as swords and halberds; the cudgel in his hands reached up to the Thirty-third Heaven and down to the Eighteenth Hell. The tigers, leopards and wolves, the beasts of the mountain, and the seventy-two monster kings all kowtowed and bowed in terror, trembling so much that they went out of their minds. A moment later he reverted to his proper size, turned his treasure into an embroidery needle, hid it in his ear, and went back to the cave. The panic-stricken kings of the monsters all came to offer their congratulations.

There was a great display of banners and drums, and the air resounded to the sound of gongs and bells. Rare delicacies were set out in great quantities, cups brimmed with coconut toddy and the wine of the grape, and the Monkey King feasted and drank with his people for a long time. Then training went on as before.

The Monkey King named the four senior apes as his four Stalwart Generals: he named the two bare-bottomed apes Marshal Ma and Marshal Liu, and called the two gibbons General Beng and General Ba. He entrusted the stockade, questions of discipline and rewards to these four. Thus freed from cares, he mounted the clouds and rode the mists, wandering round the four seas and enjoying the thousand mountains. He practiced his martial arts, visited many a hero, used his magical powers, and made a wide and distinguished circle of friends. He met with six sworn brothers of his: the Bull Demon King, the Salamander Demon King, the Roc Demon King, the Camel King, the Macaque King, and the Lion King. With him included they made seven. For days on end they talked about politics and war, passed round the goblet, strummed, sang, piped, danced, went off on days out together, and enjoyed themselves in every possible way. A journey of thousands of miles seemed to them to be no more than a walk in the courtyard. It could be said that they traveled a thousand miles in the time it takes to nod one's head, and covered three hundred with a twist of the waist.

One day he instructed his four Stalwart Generals to arrange a feast for the six other kings. Oxen and horses were slaughtered, sacrifices were made to Heaven and Earth, and the assembled monsters danced, sang, and drank themselves blotto. When he had seen the six kings out and tipped his senior and junior officials Sun Wukong lay himself down under the shade of the pines beside the bridge and was asleep in an instant. The four Stalwart Generals made the others stand round and guard him, and they all kept their voices down.

In his sleep the Handsome Monkey King saw two men approach him with a piece of paper in their hands on which was written "Sun Wukong." Without allowing any explanations they tied up his soul and dragged it staggering along till they reached a city wall. The Monkey King, who was gradually recovering from his drunken stupor, looked up and saw an iron plate on the wall on which was inscribed WORLD OF DARKNESS in large letters.

In a flash of realization he said, "The World of Darkness is where King Yama lives. Why have I come here?"

"Your life in the world above is due to end now," his escorts said, "and we were ordered to fetch you."

To this the Monkey King replied, "I have gone beyond the Three Worlds, and I am no longer subject to the Five Elements. I don't come under King Yama's jurisdiction. How dare you grab me, you idiots?" But the fetchers of the dead just went on tugging at him, determined to drag him inside.

The Monkey King lost his temper, pulled his treasure out of his ear, and gave it a shake. It became as thick as a rice bowl. It only took a slight movement of his arm to smash the two fetchers of the dead to pulp. He untied his bonds, loosed his hands, and charged into the city whirling his cudgel, so terrifying the ox-headed and horse-faced devils that they fled in all directions for cover.

All the devil soldiers rushed to the Senluo Palace and reported, "Your Majesty, disaster, disaster! A hairy-faced thunder-god is attacking us out there."

Stricken by panic, the Ten Kings who sit in the ten palaces, judging the criminal cases of the dead, hurriedly straightened their clothing and went out to look. When they saw his ferocious expression they lined up in order and shouted at the tops of their voices, "Please tell us your name, exalted Immortal."

"If you don't know who I am," replied the Monkey King, "then why did you send men to bring me here?"

"We wouldn't dare do such a thing. The messengers must have made a mistake."

"I am Sun Wukong, the Heaven-born sage of the Water Curtain Cave on the Mountain of Flowers and Fruit. What are your posts?"

"We are the ten kings."

"Tell me your names at once if you don't want a bashing."

To this the ten kings replied, "We are the King of Qinguang, the King of Chujiang, King Songdi, King Wuguan, King Yama, King Impartial, the King of Mount Tai, the Metropolitan King, the King of Biancheng, and the King of the Ever-turning Wheel."

To this Sun Wukong replied, "You are all kings, and have esoteric understanding, so why don't you know any better? I, Sun Wukong, have cultivated the Way of Immortality and will live as long as Heaven. I've soared beyond the Three Worlds and leapt outside the Five Elements, so why did you send your men to get me?"

"Please don't be angry, lofty Immortal," the ten kings said. "Many people in the world share the same name, so perhaps the fetchers of the dead went to the wrong place."

"Nonsense, nonsense. As the saying goes, 'The magistrate may be wrong and the sergeant may be wrong, but the man who comes to get you is never wrong.' Go and get the Register of Life and Death for me to see." The Ten Kings invited him to come into the palace and look through it.

Sun Wukong went into the Senluo Palace with his club in his hand, and sat down in the middle of the hall facing South. The Ten Kings then ordered the presiding judge to fetch the register, and the judge hastened to his office and brought out five or six documents and ten registers. He looked through them all one by one, but could not find Sun Wukong's name in the sections devoted to hairless creatures, hairy creatures, feathered creatures, insects, or scaly creatures. Then he looked through the monkey section. Now although monkeys looked like men, they were not entered under the humans; although they were like the hairless creatures, they did not live within their boundaries; although they were like running animals, they were not under the jurisdiction of the unicorn; and although they were like birds, they were not ruled by the phoenix. There was another register, and Sun Wukong looked through this one himself. Under "Soul No. 1350" was the name of Sun Wukong, the Heaven-born stone monkey, who was destined to live to the age of 342 and die a good death.

"I won't write down any number of years," said Sun Wukong. "I'll just erase my name and be done with it. Bring me a brush." The judge hastily handed him a brush and thick, black ink.

Sun Wukong took the register, crossed out all the names in the monkey section, and threw it on the floor with the words, "The account's closed. That's an end of it. We won't come under your control any longer." Then he cudgeled his way out of the World of Darkness. The Ten Kings dared not go near him, and they all went to the Azure Cloud Palace to bow in homage to the Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha and discuss the report they would send up to Heaven. But we will not go into this.

After charging out through the city wall the Monkey King tripped over a clump of grass, tried to regain his balance, and woke up with a start. It had all been a dream. As he stretched himself he heard his four Stalwart Generals and the other monkeys saying, "Your Majesty, time to wake up. You drank too much and slept all night."

"Never mind about my sleeping. I dreamt that two men came for me. They dragged me to the city-wall of the World of Darkness, where I came round. I showed them my magic powers and went yelling all the way to the Senluo Palace, where I had an argument with those Ten Kings and looked through the Register of Life and Death of us. Wherever there was mention of your names in the register, I crossed them out. We won't come under the jurisdiction of those idiots any more."

All the monkeys kowtowed to him in gratitude. The reason why from that time on so many mountain monkeys have never grown old is that their names are not on the books of the officials of the Underworld. When the Handsome Monkey King had finished telling his story, the four Stalwart Generals informed the other monster kings, who all came to offer their felicitations. A few days later his six sworn brothers also came to congratulate him, and all were delighted to hear how he had struck the names off the books. We will not describe the daily feasts that followed.

Instead we will describe how one day the Supreme Heavenly Sage, the Greatly Compassionate Jade Emperor of the Azure Vault of Heaven, was sitting on his throne in the Hall of Miraculous Mist in the Golden-gated Cloud Palace, surrounded by his immortal civil and military officials at morning court, when the Immortal Qiu Hongji reported, "Your Majesty, Ao Guang, the Dragon King of the Eastern Sea, has presented a memorial outside the Hall of Universal Brightness, and is awaiting a summons from your Imperial Majesty."

The Jade Emperor ordered that he be called in, and the Dragon King came to the Hall of Miraculous Mist. When he had done obeisance an immortal page came from the side to take his memorial. The Jade Emperor read it through. It ran:

Your Subject Ao Guang,

the Humble Dragon of the Eastern Sea of the Eastern Continent of Superior Body in the Nether Watery Regions

Reports to the Jade Emperor of the Azure Vault of Heaven

Recently one Sun Wukong, an immortal fiend born on the Mountain of Flowers and Fruit now living in the Water Curtain Cave, bullied this humble dragon and occupied my watery house by force. He demanded a weapon by displaying magical prowess; he insisted on having armour by showing off his evil powers. He terrified the watery tribe and made the tortoises and alligators flee in terror. The dragon of the Southern Sea trembled, the dragon of the Western Sea was made miserable, the dragon of the Northern Sea had to hang his head and come in submission, and I, your subject Ao Guang, humbled myself before him. We had to present him with a miraculous iron cudgel, a golden phoenix-winged helmet, a suit of chain mail, and a pair of cloud-walking shoes; and we escorted him out politely.

He continued to show off his martial arts and magic powers, and all he had to say for himself was, "My apologies for disturbing you." There is truly no match for him, and he is uncontrollable. Your subject now presents this memorial, and respectfully awaits your sage decision. I humbly beg that heavenly soldiers be sent to arrest this evil demon, so that the sea and the mountains may be at peace, and the ocean may enjoy tranquillity.

When the Jade Emperor had read this through he ordered, "Let the Dragon God return to the Sea; we shall send generals to arrest the demon." The Old Dragon King bowed till his head touched the floor and took his leave.

Then the Venerable Immortal Ge, a heavenly teacher, reported, "Your Majesty, the King of Qinguang, one of the ministers of the Underworld, has come with a memorial from the Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha." A jade girl messenger took the memorial, which the Jade Emperor read through. It ran:

The regions of darkness are the negative part of the Earth. Heaven contains gods while the Earth has devils; Positive and Negative are in a constant cycle. Birds and beasts are born and die; male and female alternate. Life is created and change takes place; male and female are conceived and born; this is the order of nature, and it cannot be changed. Now the evil spirit, the Heaven-born monkey of the Water Curtain Cave on the Mountain of Flowers and Fruit, is presently giving full rein to his wicked nature, committing murders, and refusing to submit to discipline. He killed the devil messengers of the Ninth Hell with his magic, and he terrified the Ten Benevolent Kings of the Underworld with his power. He made an uproar in the Senluo Palace and crossed some names out by force. He has made the race of monkeys completely uncontrollable, and given eternal life to the macaques. He has annulled the law of transmigration and brought them beyond birth and death. I, impoverished monk that I am, importune the might of Heaven by presenting this memorial. I prostrate myself to beg that Heavenly soldiers be despatched to subdue this fiend, bring the positive and Negative back into order, and give lasting security to the Underworld.

When the Jade Emperor had read this through he ordered, "Let the Lord of Darkness return to the Underworld. We shall send generals to arrest the demon." The King of Qinguang then bowed till his head touched the floor and took his leave.

His Celestial Majesty then asked all his civil and military officials, "When was this monkey demon born? What is his origin, that he should have such powers?"

Before he had finished speaking, Thousand-mile Eye and Wind-accompanying Ear came forward from the ranks of officials and said, "This demon monkey is the stone monkey who was born of heaven three hundred years ago. At the time nobody paid any attention to him, and we do not know where he refined himself and became an Immortal in recent years, so that he has been able to make the tigers and dragons submit to him and to strike his name off the register of the dead."

"Which divine general shall be sent down to capture him?" asked the Jade Emperor, and before he had finished speaking the Great White Planet stepped forward, bowed down, and submitted, "All beings in the upper worlds that have nine apertures can become Immortals. This monkey has a body that was created by Heaven and Earth and conceived by the sun and moon. His head touches they sky and his feet stand on the earth; he drinks the dew and eats the mist. How does he differ from humans, if he has succeeded in cultivating the way of immortality and can subdue dragons and tigers? I beg Your Majesty to remember your life-giving mercy and hand down a sage edict of amnesty and enlistment, summoning him to this upper world and inscribing his name on the list of officeholders, thus keeping him here under control. If he obeys Your Majesty's heavenly commands, he can later be promoted; and if he disobeys, he can be arrested. This will both avoid military operations and be a way of winning over an Immortal."

The Jade Emperor, delighted with the suggestion, ordered that it should be put into effect. He told the Wenqu Star Officer to compose the edict, and commanded the Great White planet to persuade the monkey to accept the amnesty.

The Great White Planet left Heaven by the Southern Gate, and brought his propitious cloud down by the Water Curtain Cave, where he said to the little monkeys, "I am an envoy from Heaven, and I am carrying a divine edict inviting your great king to the upper world. Go and tell him at once."

The little monkeys outside conveyed the message by relays into the depths of the cave: "Your Majesty, there's an old man outside carrying a document on his back. He says he's an envoy from Heaven with an invitation for you." The Handsome Monkey King was delighted.

He said, "I'd been thinking of going up to Heaven to have a look round for the past couple of days, and now a heavenly envoy has come to invite me."

"Ask him in at once," he shouted, hastily straightening his clothes and going out to meet the envoy.

The Planet came straight in, stood facing the South, and said, "I am the Great White Planet of the West, and I have come down to earth with an Edict of Amnesty and enlistment from the Jade Emperor to invite you to Heaven to be given office as an Immortal."

"I am very grateful to you, venerable Planet, for condescending to come here," replied Sun Wukong with a smile; then he told his subjects to prepare a feast to entertain the visitor.

"I'm afraid I can't delay," replied the Planet, "as I am carrying a divine edict, so may I ask Your Majesty to come back with me now? We can talk at leisure after your glorious elevation."

"Thank you for coming," said Sun Wukong. "I'm sorry you couldn't take some refreshments before leaving." Then he called for his four Stalwart Generals and ordered them, "Give my sons and grandsons a thorough training. When I've had a look round in Heaven, I'll take you all to live with me up there." The four Stalwart Generals accepted their orders, and the Monkey King made his cloud carry him up above the clouds. He was

Raised to a high-ranking heavenly office,

Listed among the courtiers in the clouds.

If you don't know what office he was given, listen to the explanation in the next installment.

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