Monkey Gets Rid of Three Demons

Adapted by Tang Guangyou

from the novel Journey to the West

Illustrated by Li Shiji

 

 

FOREIGN LANGUAGES PRESS BEIJING

First Edition 1986

Hard Cover: ISBN 0-8351-1579-8 Paperback: ISBN 0-8351-1580-1

Copyright 1986 by Foreign Languages Press

Published by Foreign Languages Press 24 Baiwanzhuang Road, Beijing, China

Distributed by China International Book Trading Corporation (Guoji Shudian), P.O. Box 399. Beijing. China

Printed in the People's Republic of China

The Tang Priest and his three disciples continued on their journey to the West to fetch the scriptures. One day on their way they heard a loud shout. What was it? Monkey jumped onto a cloud to look around. Oh, he saw a walled city in the distance and, as he drew closer, many Buddhist monks outside the city gates pulling a cart. Two young Taoist priests stood to one side, directing their work.

Monkey thought to himself, "Why are Buddhist monks working and Taoist priests directing? I've heard of a place on the way to the West where people believe in Taoism and treat Buddhist monks cruelly. This must be it. I'll go down and ask what's happening." Monkey shook himself and turned into a wandering Taoist. He bowed to the two young Taoists and asked what sort of place this was.

The young priests told Monkey this was the Kingdom of Tarrycart. Twenty years earlier there had been a drought here, when not a drop of rain had fallen. The king had ordered the monks to pray to Heaven for rain, but no rain came.

Then three immortals were sent from Heaven to help. They became Tarrycart's masters the Great Immortal Tiger Power, the Great Immortal Deer Power and the Great Immortal Antelope Power. They possessed the magic to call for wind and rain and change stone into gold, so they brought heavy rain. The king was so glad that he named them Teachers of the Nation.

The king was angry with the useless monks. He ordered his men to tear down their monasteries, smash their Buddha statues and take away their religious licences, then he gave them to the Taoists to work as slaves.

When Monkey heard this, he was angry, but he pretended that he was looking for his uncle, a monk who had left home several years ago. Then he went over to the monks. When the monks saw Monkey, dressed like a Taoist, they all knelt down in front of him. They were afraid the priests would beat them again.

Monkey said to them, "Don't be afraid, I'm here to look for my uncle." When they heard this, the monks told Monkey, "There used to be over two thousand monks here. Since the immortals called up wind and rain, however, fifteen hundred monks have died or killed themselves because they could not bear the life anymore. The rest of us have to survive."

Monkey asked, "Why do you have to survive?" One of the monks replied, "Because we often dream of Monkey, the Great Sage Equalling Heaven. He is kindhearted. He likes to set wrong things right and has great powers to save us monks from a miserable life."

Monkey was very pleased to hear this. He then went back to the city gate and said to the two Taoist priests, "These five hundred monks are all my relations. Would you please let them go?" "No," replied the priests. Monkey was so angry that he pulled his iron cudgel from his ear and beat them to death.

When the Buddhist monks saw Monkey had killed the two Taoists, they were frightened. They ran to Monkey, crying, "How awful! You've killed the king's relations. You've got us into terrible trouble." Monkey said with a smile, "Don't worry. I'm not really a wandering Taoist, but Monkey. I'm here to save you." But the monks did not believe him. "No, you are not. You don't look like the Great Sage in our dream."

Monkey pointed east. "Look over there! The Great Sage is coming." As all the monks turned to look, Monkey wiped his face and regained his true appearance. When they saw it was really Monkey, all the monks knelt down and bowed, saying, "My lord, because we have only mortal eyes, we failed to recognize you in disguise. We beg you to overcome the evil, to save us and avenge us."

Meanwhile, when Monkey did not return, the Tang Priest told Pig to lead the way and, with Friar Sand, went ahead. When they were close to the city wall, they found Monkey with the monks.

Monkey stepped forward and bowed to his master. He told him everything that had happened. The Tang Priest was horrified. "Please don't worry, my lord" said the monks. "You and your disciples can stay in the Deep Wisdom Monastery, a royal foundation in the city"

The Tang Priest and his disciples settled down for the night. A little before midnight a gust of wind brought the sound of music. Sleepless, Monkey got up quietly and jumped into the air to look around. To the south he saw lamps and candles burning bright. As he went closer, he saw that the Teachers of the Nation and hundreds of Taoists were reciting scriptures in the Hall of the Three Pure Ones.

Monkey went back and woke up Pig and Friar Sand. The three of them then went to the Hall of the Three Pure Ones. Seeing big steamed buns and fruit on the altar, Pig's mouth began watering and he stretched out his hand towards the food. Monkey slopped him, saying, "Just a minute. Let me play a magic trick to break them up."

Then Monkey said a spell and gave a puff. All at once a fierce wind began to blow. The lamps in the hall went out. The Taoists were all scared. "We'd better go back to bed," said the Great Immortal Tiger Power.

After the Taoists had left the hall, Monkey said, "We should get rid of the statues of the Three Pure Ones before eating." Then Monkey, Pig and Friar Sand knocked down the statues, carried them out of the hall and hid them.

They went back into the hall and sat down in the statues' places, Monkey in the middle. Immediately they began grabbing steamed buns and fruit from the altar and stuffing themselves to their hearts' content.

To their surprise, just as they were enjoying themselves, a young Taoist returned to the hall to look for his hand bell, which he had left there. He was terribly frightened when he heard the sound of breathing and eating. He staggered to his masters' room and shouted, "Masters, disaster!"

On hearing his story, the senior masters led the band of Taoists into the hall. They found nothing but fruit peels and pits on the floor. The offerings had all been eaten. What was more, they didn't see their usual statues but what looked like three strange ones. Thinking they were holy spirits making an appearance, the Taoists all fell to the floor and begged them for some holy water and golden elixir pills.

Pig and Friar Sand felt uncomfortable at this, but Monkey gave each of them a pinch to keep still, then said, "Young immortals, I shall leave some holy water with you since you are so pious. Be quick and fetch some containers."

When the Taoists heard this, they were overjoyed and said, "Oh, it is really the Heavenly Honoured Ones descended to earth," They at once carried in a jar, a pot and a vase. "Leave the hall, all of you," ordered Monkey. "Close the door. The secrets of Heaven must not be let out." The Taoists did as they were told and knelt outside to wait for the holy water.

What a Monkey! He stood up, lifted his tiger-skin kilt and filled the vase with stinking piss. When Pig saw Monkey doing this, he was delighted and said, "I've got plenty of that!" Then he noisily filled the pot in the twinkling of an eye. Friar Sand half filled the jar.

A little later the Taoists heard Monkey call from inside, "Come and fetch the holy water, young immortals." The Taoists came in, bowed in thanks, then poured the vase and pot into the jar. The three Great Immortals rushed to have a taste of the "holy water." After each had had a mouthful, they were puzzled complaining, "How come the water tastes so terrible?" They did not know it was the urine of Monkey. Pig and Friar Sand.

When Monkey, sitting up high, heard this, he realized they had been found out. He made himself known and said, "We are Buddhist monks from the Great Tang. Thank you very much for your worship. We are leaving now." Then he put Friar Sand under his left arm and

Pig under his right arm and rode away on his cloud. The three Great

Immortals were so angry that they burst out shouting.

The tree disciples went back to bed without disturbing anyone. Day soon came, and it was time for the king to hold his dawn court audience. The Tang Priest woke up his disciples and they went to court to show his passport and ask for an exit permit.

The king was just sitting down in the throne hall when the gate officer came in and reporter, : "There are four monks from Great Tang in the East on their way to fetch the scriptures. They have come to show their papers and get an exit permit." But the king did not want to see them and ordered them arres

At this the king's most senior adviser slipped forward to address the king. "Great Tang in the East is the great land of China. These monks must have some magic powers if they dare to travel to the West. I beg Your Majesty to let them go!" Hearing this, the king calmed his anger and sent for the Tang Priest and his disciples.

The king was about to sign the exit permit when the gate officer came in again and reported, "The three Teachers of the Nation are here." The king jumped to his feet at once, stepped down from his throne and bowed low to meet the three Taoist masters.

The three Teachers of the Nation were very angry when they saw the Tang Priest and his diseiples in the hall. They told the king what they had done in the Hall of the Three Pure Ones. Finally they said, "Now it's a ease of meeting your enemy on a narrow road. They've thrown themselves into our hands."

The king was angry. He was about to order them arrested again when a crowd of village elders came in, bowed to the king and said, "Your Majesty, there has been no rain this spring and we fear a drought this summer. We beg Your Majesty to invite the Teachers of the Nation to pray for rain for us."

The king, turning to the Tang Priest, said, "Do you know why we honour the Taoist Way and persecute Buddhist monks? When the Buddhist monks of this country prayed for rain some years ago, they did not get a single drop. It was fortunate that Heaven sent the Teachers of the Nation to save us. Today you offended the Teachers. If you want me to spare you, I propose you enter a competition of praying for rain with the Teachers of the Nation. If you bring us a good rainfall, I'll let you go. If not, you will be publicly executed." Monkey stepped forward and said with a smile, "We humble monks know how to pray for things." The king then ordered the altar to be prepared.

The Great Immortal Tiger Power proudly went to the altar. He recited a spell and burnt a candle with a spell on it Then at a signal from his magic wand signs of wind began appearing in the sky.

Seeing this, Monkey, without a word, plucked one of his hairs and turned it into an imitation Monkey, who stayed on the spot while he himself rose into the air and shouted, "Who's in charge of the wind?" Granny Wind was so shocked that she came forward and bowed to him. "Don't be angry. Great Sage. The Immortal employed the Five Laws of Thunder, so we had to come." Monkey told her the whole story and asked for her help. Granny Wind then stopped the wind.

Once again Tiger Power sounded his magic wand. The sky at once filled with clouds. "Who's spreading the clouds out?" Monkey asked overhead. Boy Cloudpusher bowed to him. Monkey explained what had happened, and Boy Cloudpusher put the clouds away at once.

By now Tiger Power was getting anxious. He signaled with his magic wand a third time. When Grandfather Thunder and Mother Lightning were about to carry out his order, Monkey went up to them and told them what had happened. Hearing his story, they also withdrew.

The Taoist was growing ever more anxious. He gave a final signal with his wand and instantly the dragon kings of the four seas all gathered in midair. Monkey met them and told them what had happened. They stopped the rain. Then Monkey gave his orders. "I'll signal with my cudgel. The first time I point it up I want wind. The second time I want clouds. The third time I want thunder and lightning. The fourth time I want rain. And the last time I want the sun shining in a clear sky." All the gods agreed to obey.

Since the Great Immortal Tiger Power had brought no wind or rain, he had to come down from the altar. He told the king that the dragon kings were out and that's why there was no rain. Monkey's true self returned to his body and he said to the king, "Your Majesty, the dragon kings are all in today. It was just that the magic of the Teacher of the Nation didn't work and he couldn't get them to come. Now watch how we Buddhist monks make them come."

As soon as Monkey received the king's order, he invited the Tang Priest to pray at the altar while he pointed his gold-banded cudgel towards the sky. All at once a howling wind tore off tiles and sent bricks flying throughout the city. What a splendid wind!

Then Monkey pointed his cudgel at the sky a second time. In an instant dense fog and thick clouds were everywhere. Moi flasl land Moi roar

Monkey then pointed his cudgel into the air a third time. Lightning flashed in the wind and thunder roared like an earthquake or a landslide. The people in the city were terribly frightened. "Deng!" Monkey shouted Grandfather Thunder's name and the thunder roared louder than ever.

Monkey pointed his cudgel upwards a fourth time. Rain poured down at once. It did not stop until all the streets inside and outside the capital of Tarrycart were running with water.

The officer on duty carried the king's order to Monkey. "Holy monk, that is enough rain." Hearing this, Monkey pointed his cudgel towards the sky again; at once the thunder stopped, the wind fell, the rain ceased and the clouds scattered.

The king was delighted, and all the civil and military officials said in admiration, "What a marvellous monk! How true it is that however good you are at something, there's always somebody better. Our Teachers of the Nation are very effective at making rain, but when they ask for fine weather, it drizzles for hours before clearing up. However, this monk can clear the skies the moment he gives the word. The sun shines bright in an instant and no cloud can be seen for miles around."

Monkey said, "Your Majesty, these magic tricks achieved nothing. Let's see who can make the dragon kings appear." The Taoist tried first, but there was no response.

Monkey looked up at the sky and yelled at the top of his voice, "Where are you, Ao Guang? You and your brothers must show yourselves to me in your true forms." At this summons the dragon kings came writhing through the mist and clouds, dancing through the air to the throne hall.

The king and his civil and military officials rushed to burn incense in the palace and bow low in worship. A little while later Monkey yelled towards the sky, "All you gods may go now. We'll thank you another day." The dragon kings went straight back to their seas, and all the gods returned to Heaven.

When the king saw that Monkey had the power to send for dragon kings and order gods about, he put his seal on the passport and started to hand it to the Tang Priest, but the Great Immortal Tiger Power was so angry that he stopped the king and challenged the monks to another competition.

Monkey asked the Taoist what sort of competition he proposed. "I should like to compete with you in sitting in the type of meditation called 'revealing one's holiness on a cloud ladder,''' replied the Great Immortal. "One hundred tables are needed. Fifty are piled on top of each other to make the meditation platform. One must mount it not by using one's hands or a ladder but by riding a cloud, then one must sit motionless for the agreed number of hours. Whoever fails to do so loses the competition." The king really was muddle-headed. Without further ado he ordered platforms set up.

When Monkey heard this, he said to himself, "I can manage all sorts of tricks, like stirring up the sea or lifting mountains, but when it comes to sitting in meditation, I'm beaten. I'm not a sitter by nature." The Tang Priest told Monkey, "I can sit in meditation, but I can't get up to the platform." Overjoyed, Monkey said, "Splendid! Now I can manage." Just then the Great Immortal Tiger Power sprang into the air and went straight up on a cloud to one of the meditation platforms.

Monkey plucked one of his hairs and turned it into an imitation Monkey, who stood below with Pig and Friar Sand while his real self turned into an auspicious cloud and lifted the Tang Priest through the air to take his seat on the other platform.

Both sat in meditation for a few hours with nobody winning. Monkey then shook himself and, turning into a poisonous centipede, went straight for the Taoist and stung him in the nose. The pain was so sharp that the Taoist could sit still no longer. Tumbling head over heels, he fell off the platform and almost got killed.

Monkey once again turned into an auspicious cloud to carry his master down. The king ordered that the Tang Priest be allowed to leave the country, but the Great Immortal Deer Power stopped the king, saying, "Your Majesty, I should like to compete with the Tang Priest at guessing objects through wooden boards."

The king accepted this suggestion and told his queen to put a set of court robes into a chest, then he ordered the chest carried into the hall. Monkey turned himself into a small insect, crawled through a crack in the chest, and performed a trick to turn the robes into a bell. He then crawled out, flew to the Tang Priest and told him what was inside.

The Tang Priest stepped forward and was just about to guess when Deer Power said, "'I shall make the first guess. The chest contains robes." "No," said the Tang Priest, "the chest contains a bell." The king ordered his men to open the chest. There really was a bell inside.

Next the king himself put a magic peach in the chest. Monkey entered the chest the same way. He smiled when he saw the peach and ate it all up, leaving only the stone. Antelope Power guessed it was a magic peach, but guessed wrong.

The king, a bit shocked, thought to himself, "I put the magic peach in the chest with my own hands. If there is only a stone there now, gods or demons must be helping the Tang Priest in secret." Tiger Power, not wishing to admit defeat, came back into the hall. He said to the king, "Your Majesty, please watch me break his magic arts." He then hid a boy Taoist in the chest. "Your magic arts can't change people," thought Tiger Power.

This time Monkey found a boy inside. Monkey shook himself and turned into the exact image of an old Taoist. He shaved off the boy's hair, turned his cloak into a Buddhist monk's habit, and pulled out two of his own hairs, turning them into a drumstick and a wooden fish, which he gave to the boy. Then he said, "Listen carefully, disciple, and when you hear someone say 'Buddhist monk' come out."

Monkey squeezed out and told his master what was inside. Just then the Great Immortal Tiger Power said, "Your Majesty, there is a Taoist boy inside," but the Tang Priest said, "There is a monk inside." Pig stepped forward and shouted at the top of his voice, "Come out, monk inside the chest!" The boy raised the lid of the chest with his head and stepped out, beating his wooden fish. The terrified Taoists were at a loss for words.

The Taoists had lost face but would not admit defeat. They asked for another contest with Monkey. "What do you compete for this time?" asked Monkey. Tiger Power replied, "Let's see who can put his head back on after it's been cut off; open up his chest, cut out his heart and make himself whole again; and take a bath in boiling oil."

The Tang Priest, Pig and Friar Sand were worried, but Monkey, with a smile, said to the king, "Cut off my head and I'll still go on talking; carve up my guts and I'll put them together again; bathing in hot oil is really quite nice." The foolish monarch then ordered that a place for public execution be prepared.

Monkey went straight to the execution ground, where he was grabbed and tied to a wooden post. As the sword whistled down, his head was cut off. The executioner then kicked it and sent it rolling thirty or forty paces away.

Tiger Power said a spell to one side and ordered the local deity, "Hold on to that head." "Come here, head," Monkey called several times, but his head couldn't move. Monkey was now feeling anxious, so he cast a spell and shouted, "Grow!" In a flash another head grew on his neck.

The king quickly gave Monkey the passport and said, "We grant you full pardon. Go at once!" "The Teacher of the Nation must be beheaded too," insisted Monkey.

Tiger Power had to take his turn at being tied up by the executioner and having his head cut off and kicked thirty paces away. Monkey instantly pulled out a hair and turned it into a brown dog, which ran off with the Taoist's head. "Come here, head!" the Taoist shouted three times, but his head did not come back. As he did not have the art of growing a new head, his body soon showed its true colours. He was really a yellow-haired tiger.

Now Deer Power said that he would compete with Monkey in opening his chest and cutting out his heart. The executioner made a quick cut in Monkey's chest and Monkey took out his heart, checked it over and put it back. Then he breathed a magic breath on the hole, called out, "Grow!" and made it close up again.

Deer Power then took his turn. He went to the executioner to have his chest cut open. He too took out his heart and held it in his hands. Monkey meanwhile pulled out one of his hairs and turned it into a hungry eagle, which grabbed the Taoist's heart and flew off. Deer Power at once showed his true colours. He was really a sika deer.

Antelope Power wanted to compete with Monkey by bathing in boiling oil in order to avenge his elder brothers. Monkey went into the cauldron first. He somersaulted and did dragonfly stands, enjoying himself as much as if he were swimming in water. The onlookers were all surprised to see this. After a while Monkey shouted to Antelope Power, "It's your turn now, mister. Please come in."

Antelope Power then jumped into the oil and pretended to wash himself. Monkey said a spell. Almost at once the oil in the cauldron boiled so hot that Antelope Power showed his true colours, an antelope.

The king finally realized his error when he saw the three Teachers of the Nation were mountain beasts who had become spirits. He thanked' the Tang Priest and his disciples for getting rid of the demons in his country, then he himself led the military and civil officials to see them off to the West. Afterwards he ordered the Buddhist temples rebuilt, and from then on both Buddhism and Taoism were honoured and the people lived a peaceful life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The MONKEY SERIES of picture books is based on the ancient Chinese fantasy novel Journey to the West, a tale rich in episodes about demons and monster's trying to stop the Tang Priest Xuanzang from reaching Thunder Monastery in India to fetch the Buddhist scriptures. The real hero of this novel, beloved by Chinese readers for four hundred years, is the resourceful, brave and humorous Monkey.

All thirty-four books in the series will be in full colour throughout.

FOREIGN LANGUAGES PRESS BEIJING CHINA

Hard Cover: ISBN 0-8351-1579-8 Paperback: ISBN 0-8351-1580-1