The Womanland of Western Liang

Adapted by Fang Yuan from the novel Journey to the West

Illustrated by Cai Rong

First Edition

1986

Hard Cover: ISBN 0-8351-1722-7 Paperback: ISBN 0-8351-1723-5

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 ihe People's Republic of China

After the Tang Priest and his disciples had left the Motherhood River and gone about a dozen miles, they saw a city. The Tang Priest said, "That must be the capital of the Womanland of Western Liang. You nust behave yourselves and not betray the teachings of our Buddhist faith."

Before the Tang Priest had finished speaking, they reached the east gate of the city. All the people, old and young, were women, with skirts and jackets and powdered faces.

As soon as the people on the street caught sight of the four men, they clapped, laughed and shouted, "Men are coming! Men are coming!" The four could not move forward.

So Pig made a hideous face to clear the way. He shook his head, pointed his ears, twisted his snout and gave a roar that frightened all the women away.

Then master and disciples continued on their way. Suddenly an official standing in the street shouted to them, "Envoys from afar, you may not enter the city gates without permission. Please go to the reception centre for men and register."

Hearing this, the Tang Priest dismounted and greeted the official. She led them into the main hall of the reception centre and asked them where they were from and what business had brought them there. Then she said, "I am only the superintendent of the reception centre or men. Please make yourselves comfortable while I go to report to our queen." The Tang Priest said, "Please go ahead!"

The superintendent went straight into the city and reported to the queen, "The Tang Priest, the younger brother of the Tang Emperor in the East, with his three disciples is passing through our country on his way to the West to fetch the Buddhist scriptures. I have come especially to ask Your Majesty's approval of their passage."

The queen was delighted to hear this and said, "We have never seen a man in our country under all the queens who have reigned here. The fortunate arrival of the Tang emperor's younger brother must be a gift from Heaven. I should like to persuade him to become my king, then we can produce sons and grandsons to inherit the throne."

All the officials rejoiced, then one of them said, "Your Majesty, we have no matchmaker to arrange the marriage." So the queen chose the royal tutor as matchmaker and the superintendent of the reception centre as the mistress of ceremonies. Then they went to the reception centre to get the consent of the emperor's younger brother.

The two officials entered, bowed low before the Tang Priest and said, "Congratulations!" The Tang Priest did not understand. "I am a monk. What good fortune are you congratulating me for?" The tutor told him about the queen's proposal. As soon as the Tang Priest heard, he waved his hand and said, "No, no!"

Pig, standing beside them, pointed to himself and said, "My master is very anxious to get to the West to bring back the Buddhist scriptures. You can keep me here instead to be her husband." The tutor was shocked by Pig's ugly appearance and remained speechless. "Idiot, stop that nonsense!" said Monkey.

The Tang Priest grabbed Monkey and asked, "What are we going to do?" Monkey replied, "Don't worry. Let me deal with this."

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Monkey turned to the tutor and said, "What the royal tutor says is right. We'll let our master stay here as the queen's husband. Quickly give us back our travel documents so the three of us can go on our way

west."

Then Pig said, "Tutor, now we've agreed, get your mistress to lay on a banquet so that we can all drink a cup of engagement wine." "Yes, yes," said the tutor and the superintendent, "a banquet will be provided." Then they went in great delight to report back to the queen.

The Tang Priest cursed Monkey. "How could you say such a thing! Making me stay here to be her husband while you go to the Western Heaven to worship the Buddha! I'd die before I agreed to do that." "Don't worry, Master," said Monkey. "If you had refused her, she would not have returned our travel paper or let us continue on our way."

.

The Tang Priest said, "I'm afraid that the queen will want me to perform husbandly duties against the Buddhist creed." Monkey whispered to the Tang Priest, and he nodded his head to show his satisfaction.

The tutor and superintendent reported to the queen, "Your Majesty's dream has come true. The only thing is that his three disciples want an engagement feast first." When the queen heard this, she ordered her officers to lay on a banquet and she had the state carriage prepared to takeher to welcome her lord.

i

Soon the queen arrived at the reception centre. The Tang Priest and his disciples went to meet her. "Dear emperor's brother, won't you get into my dragon and phoenix coach and ride back with me to the throne hall," she said affectionately. This made the Tang Priest blush from ear to ear. He was too embarrassed to look at her.

Then the queen and the Tang Priest entered the royal coach, sitting side by side. The three disciples followed the coach with their baggage and horse.

Descending from the coach hand in hand, the queen and the Tang Priest went into the palace. A banquet was set out in the eastern hall.

The queen proposed repeated toasts to the Tang Priest. Fig did not worry about anything as he relaxed his belly and ate for all he was worth.

At the end of the banquet the Tang Priest bowed to the queen and said, "Your Majesty, I am very grateful for this sumptuous banquet. We have had enough now. Could you go to the throne hall and return the passport so my disciples can be sent on their way?"

The queen sent for a brush, ink stone and the imperial jade seal. She stamped the passport with her royal seal and signed her name. Then an official gave it to Friar Sand.

The queen was delighted to hear this and said, "We have never seen a man in our country under all the queens who have reigned here. The fortunate arrival of the Tang emperor's younger brother must be a gift from Heaven. I should like to persuade him to become my king, then we can produce sons and grandsons to inherit the throne."

"May I have Your Majesty's permission to escort my disciples out of the city?" the Tang Priest asked. The queen nodded approval, sent for her coach and they rode westwards out of the city.

Everyone poured into the streets with fine incense and drums to see the queen in her carriage and the emperor's younger brother

When they were outside the western gate the Tang Priest stepped down from the royal carriage, bowed to the queen and said, "Please go back now, Your Majesty, and allow me to go on to fetch the scriptures." The queen was shocked. She grabbed the Tang Priest and said, "How can you go back on your word?"

Pig rushed to the royal coach, thrusting his snout about and waving his huge ears. The queen was so frightened she collapsed in the coach.

When the tutor saw what was happening, she gave an order, and eight soldiers rushed forward and pushed Pig away. Then they tried to take the Tang Priest away.

Monkey thought he'd better use his magic to stop all the women; otherwise they would never get away.

Just at that moment a woman rushed from the roadside, shouting, "Don't go, Tang emperor's brother. You and I are going to be husband and wife."

Friar Sand struck at her head with his staff. The woman then created whirlwind that carried the Tang Priest off with a great roar.

The three disciples hastily sprang into the air to catch the whirlwind.

They chased it to a high mountain, where the wind stopped and the grey dust settled, so they did not know which way the Tang Priest had gone.

The brothers brought their clouds down to land to search all around. Suddenly behind a gleaming rock they noticed two stone doors; carved above them was DEADLY FOE MOUNTAIN PIPA CAVE. Pig went up to the doors and was about to beat on them with his rake.

Monkey rushed forward to stop him. "Don't be in such a hurry," he said. "I'm going to take a look around and find out what's happening here." Then he turned into an exquisite bee and squeezed through the crack between the outer doors.

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He flew past the inner doors and saw a female monster, simple and charming, dressed in bright-coloured clothes, sitting in a flower pavilion. The Tang Priest was standing there, trembling with fear.

The female monster was talking to the Tang Priest. "Don't worry, Emperor's Brother. It may not be so rich and splendid here as the palace in the Womanland of Western Liang, but it's peaceful and comfortable. With me as your companion you'll be able to live in harmony."

Monkey resumed his own appearance and shouted, "Behave yourself, you evil beast!" Then the monster seized her steel trident and leapt through the door of the pavilion, shouting abusively, "Hooligan ape! How dare you sneak into my house to set your dirty eyes on me. Stay where you are and take this!"

Monkey parried the lunge from her trident and fell back, fighting all the way. When they reached the outside of the cave, Pig joined the fighting, raising his rake with both hands and rushing forward.

Suddenly the monster breathed smoke out of her nose and fire from her mouth as she jabbed Monkey's head with her trident. Monkey yelled in agony at the unbearable pain and fled.

The monster put her steel trident away and went back. Monkey held his head and shouted, "It's terrible, it's terrible!"

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The three disciples were at a loss as to what to do when they noticed an old woman with a bamboo basket full of wild vegetables. "Brother," said Friar Sand to Monkey, "I'll ask that woman who this evil spirit is.

Taking a quick look Monkey recognized that it was none other than the Bodhisattva Guanyin. Monkey immediately fell to his knees and said, "Bodhisattva, please forgive your disciple for failing to come to meet you. We are now up against a monster we can't beat and we beseech you, Bodhisattva, to help us."

The Bodhisattva changed to her true form and replied, "She is indeed a very terrible monster. She was originally a scorpion spirit. If you want to overcome her, go to the Palace of Light inside the Eastern Gate of Heaven and look for the Star Officer of the Pleiades."

Then she turned into a beam of golden light and went straight back to the Southern Sea.

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Monkey set off at once on his cloud and was outside the Eastern Gate of Heaven in an instant.

When Monkey saw the Star Officer of the Pleiades, he explamed to um what had happened and said, ĢI have come especially to beg you to rescue my master."

- -

The Star Officer of the Pleiades left the Palace of Light at once and went straight to Deadly Foe Mountain with Monkey.

When they arrived at the Pipa Cave, Pig and Friar Sand greeted them, Pig said wrathfully, "Let's go and fight that vicious creature."

Pig smashed the doors of the cave with his rake. The monster, with fierce, round eyes, leapt out of the cave and thrust her trident at Pig.

The star officer stood on the mountainside, changing into a giant rooster. When he crowed, the monster collapsed to the ground and her face turned white.

When the rooster crowed again, the monster reverted to her true appearance as a scorpion spirit. Pig pounded her to mincemeat with

his rake.

The star officer turned back into his original form and rode away on his cloud. Monkey, Pig and Friar Sand ail clasped their hands in thanks.

The three of them went into the cave and found their master sitting in a room at the back. They helped the Tang Priest back on the horse, then lit a firebrand and burned down all the buildings in the cave. Then the four pilgrims continued on their way to the West. If you want to know what happened to them next, read the next story.

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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 monsters 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 0-8351-1722-7 Paperback: ISBN 0-8351-1723-5