Journey to the West                       Chapter 41                      Author: Wu Cheng'en

 

The Mind-Ape Is Defeated by Fire
The Mother of Wood Is Captured by a Demon



Good and evil are quickly forgotten,
Flowering and fading are of no concern.
When perception is half-revealed it may sink or swim;
Follow fate and take your food and drink when they come.

Divine peace is still and solitary;
Stupidity is open to devilish attack.
The Five Elements smash the woods of contemplation;
When the wind blows it is bound to be cold.

The story tells how the Great Sage Monkey took his leave of Friar Sand and led Pig with him as he sprang across the Withered Pine Creek and headed straight for the demon's crag. There was indeed a cave in it, and it was no ordinary sight.

When returning along one's old route in mysterious silence,
The call of the crane is heard in the wind and moonlight.
White clouds bathe the river in brightness;
The waters under the bridge make one think of immortals.
Apes and birds cry out amid exotic plants;
Creepers cover the steps; magic mushrooms flourish.
Dark green floats among crags as mists disperse;
Turquoise touches the pines when a phoenix alights.
The distant line of peaks looks just like a screen;
In the folds of the mountain an immortal's cave is formed.
In this branch of the Kunlun Range are dragons born;
Only those fated to do so can enjoy this beauty.

As they approached the gate they saw a stone tablet on which was carved in big letters, FIRE-WIND CAVE, WITHERED PINE RAVINE, MOUNT HAO. To the other side a crowd of little demons were sparring with sword and spear, leaping through the air, and generally enjoying themselves. "Little ones," shouted Monkey at the top of his voice, "tell your ruler at once that if he brings my master the Tang Priest out I'll spare all your lives, but that if so much as a hint of a 'no' comes out between his teeth I'll turn your mountain upside-down and trample your cave flat." Hearing this, the little demons all scurried back into the cave, shut the doors, and went in to report, "Trouble, Your Majesty."

The monster had carried Sanzang into the cave, stripped him, tied his hands and feet together, and sent little devils to fetch clean water to wash him with. He was going to put Sanzang into a steaming tray to cook, but when the alarm was raised he forgot about washing Sanzang, rushed into the main hall, and asked, "What trouble?"

"There's a monk with a hairy face as ugly as a thunder-god. He's got another monk with a long snout and big ears. He's demanding their master, who's called the Tang Priest or something, and he says that if there's so much as a hint of a 'no' he'll turn the mountain upside-down and trample the cave flat."

"They must be Sun the Novice and Pig," said the demon king with a cruel laugh. "They were bound to come looking for their master. But I carried their master fifty miles from the middle of the mountains to here. How did they find their way here?" The monster then told his carters to push the carts out, and the little devils responsible did so, opening up the front gates.

"Brother," said Pig when he saw them, "I think they're so scared of us that they've brought their carts out and are going to move away."

"No," said Monkey. "Look—they're leaving them there." The little devils set the carts out in the order of the Five Elements—metal, wood, water, fire and earth—checked them over, and went back inside to report.

"Ready?" the demon king asked.

"Ready," they replied.

"Fetch my spear," said the demon king, and two of the little devils from the armory carried in an eighteen-foot long fire-tipped spear that they handed to their king. The king tried out a few swings and thrusts with the spear. He wore no helmet or armor, just a battle-kilt of embroidered brocade around his waist, as he went out barefoot through the gates. When Monkey and Pig looked up at him they saw that the monster had:

A face as pale as if powdered,
Lips as red as from lipstick.
Hair in two tufts looking darker than indigo,
A clear-cut brow like a crescent moon.
His kilt was embroidered with phoenix and dragon,
He looked like Nezha, but a little plumper.
In his hands he wielded an awe-inspiring spear,
As he came out through the gates, protected by his aura.
When he roared it echoed like thunder,
And the glare of his eyes flashed like lightning.
If you would know this demon's true name,
He was the Red Boy of undying renown.

The Red Boy came out shouting, "Who's making that row?"

Monkey went closer, smiled and said, "Don't put on such an act, dear nephew. At the top of that pine tree this morning you were a skinny, jaundiced little baby, and you fooled my master. I carried you in all kindness, but you made a whirlwind and took my master off. Now you're putting on this big show, but I know who you are. Bring my master out at once if you don't want me to forget our kinship and turn nasty. I wouldn't like your respected father to think of me as a disgraceful bully." These words threw the demon into, a fury.

"Vicious ape," he roared, "you're no relation of mine. You're talking a load of nonsense. You've got no reason to claim that I'm your nephew."

"You wouldn't know about it, lad," said Monkey. "When your respected father and I were sworn brothers you hadn't even been thought of."

"Rubbish, you baboon," said the demon. "Think where you come from and where I come from. How could you ever have been my father's sworn brother?"

"You'd know nothing about it," said Monkey. "I'm Sun Wukong, the Great Sage Equaling Heaven who made havoc in Heaven five hundred years ago. Before that I roamed all over the seas and the sky and visited all of the four continents. In those days I was a great admirer of true heroes. Your respected father, the Bull Demon King, had the tide of Great Sage Matching Heaven. He took me as his seventh brother, and I let him be the eldest brother. There were also the Salamander Demon King, the Great Sage Overturning the Sea, who was our second brother. The Roc Demon King was the Great Sage Throwing Heaven into Confusion and third brother. Fourth brother was the Camel King, the Great Sage Who Moves Mountains. The Macaque King, our fifth brother, was the Great Sage Who Travels with the Wind; and the sixth brother was the Lion King—his title was Great Sage Who Drives the Gods Away. As I was the smallest I was the seventh brother, the Great Sage Equaling Heaven. When we brothers were having a fine old time back in those days you hadn't even been born."

The demon, refusing to believe a word of this, raised his fire-tipped spear to thrust at Monkey. With the unhurried ease of a true expert Monkey avoided the spear-thrust, swung his iron cudgel, and insulted him: "You don't know when you're out-classed, you little demon. Take this!"

The evil spirit also moved out of the way and said, "Times have changed and you've been left behind, vicious ape. Take this!" There was no more talk of their kinship as the pair of them showed their magic powers in great anger. They leapt into mid-air, and it was a fine duel:

Monkey was very famous,
The demon king was powerful.
One held a gold-banded cudgel before him,
The other thrust with a fire-tipped spear.
The fogs they breathed out darkened the three worlds;
They snorted out clouds that covered the four quarters.
It was a day of terror and of murderous shouts,
When sun, moon and stars could not be seen.
In speech neither yielded an inch;
Both were unreasonable by nature.
One was a discourteous bully,
The other forgot the obligations of kinship.
The parrying cudgel made one mightier;
The thrusting spear showed the other's savagery.
One was a true Great Sage from Primal Chaos,
The other was the page Sudhana.
The pair of them strove for supremacy,
All because the Tang Priest would worship the Buddha.

While the evil spirit fought twenty rounds with Monkey without result Pig could see clearly from the sidelines that although the demon had not been defeated he was only holding Monkey at bay and had no hope of making an attack on him. And although Monkey had not yet beaten the demon, he was wielding his cudgel with such consummate skill that he kept striking at the demon's head without ever missing his aim.

"This is no good," thought Pig. "Monkey's a slippery customer, and if he shows the monster an opening and gets the demon to charge, Monkey'll finish him off with one blow of his cudgel and there'll be no glory for me." Watch Pig as he summons up his spirit, raises the nine-pronged rake, and brings it down from mid-air towards the demon's head. This gave the demon so bad a fright that he fled in defeat.

"After him," shouted Monkey, "after him."

The pair of them chased him to the mouth of the cave, where the demon stood on the middle one of the five little carts, brandishing his fire-tipped spear with one hand, and clenching the other into a fist with which he punched himself twice on the nose. "Shameless thing," laughed Pig, "punching yourself on the nose to make it bleed, then wiping the blood all over your face. Are you going to bring a lawsuit against us?"

But when the demon hit his nose twice he also said a spell and breathed out fire, while he snorted thick clouds of smoke from his nose. In the wink of an eye flames were everywhere. Fire poured from the five carts. After the demon had blown a few more times a great fire was leaping up to the sky, blotting out the Fire-cloud Cave. Heaven and earth were both engulfed in the blaze. "Brother," said Pig in horror, "this is terrible. Once in that fire that would be the end of you. I'd be baked, and he'd only need to add a few spices to make a meal of me. Let's get out of here." At that he fled back across the ravine, ignoring Monkey.

Monkey's magical powers really were very great. Making a fire avoidance spell with his fingers he plunged into the flames in pursuit of the demon. Seeing Monkey coming after him the demon breathed out yet more fire, which was even worse than ever. That fire

Fiercely blazing filled the sky,
Covered the earth with a terrible red,
Flew up and down like a fire-wheel,
Danced East and West like sparks.
This was not the fire of the Firemaker rubbing wood,
Or of Lao Zi heating his elixir furnace,
Not a heavenly fire,
Or a prairie fire,
But the True Samadhi Fire the demon had refined.
The five carts combined the Five Elements,
And the fire was formed from their transformations.
The wood of the liver can make the heart fire blaze;
The fire of the heart can settle the spleen's earth.
Spleen's earth gives rise to metal, which turns to water,
And water gives birth to wood, completing the magic cycle.
To fire are due all births and transformations;
It makes all things to flourish throughout space.
The evil spirit had long learned to breathe Samadhi Fire;
He was for ever the first lord of the West.

Monkey could not find the monster amid the raging flames, or even see the way to the mouth of the cave, so he sprang back out of the fire. The demon, who could see all this clearly from the entrance to the cave, put his fire-making equipment away when he knew Monkey had gone, led his devilish horde back inside the cave, and shut the stone doors. He felt he had won a victory, so he told his underlings to lay on a banquet. There was music and much rejoicing, of which we will not speak.

Instead we return to Monkey, who had leapt back across the Withered Pine Ravine and brought his cloud down to land where he could hear Pig and Friar Sand talking loudly and clearly among the pines.

He went up to them and shouted at Pig, "You're no man, you cretin. You were so scared of the demon's fire that you ditched me and fled for your life. But I've long had a trick or two up my sleeve."

"Brother," laughed Pig, "that monster was quite right when he said that you're not up to it any more. As the old saying goes,

Only the man who can meet today's need
May be acclaimed as a hero Indeed:

That demon was no relation of yours, but you tried to force him to take you for one; and when it came to a fight he set off all that terrible fire. Instead of running away are you going to get stuck into another fight with him?"

"How do the monster's fighting powers compare with mine?" Monkey asked.

"He's no match for you," said Pig.

"What's he like with his spear?"

"No good either," replied Pig. "When I saw that he was barely holding out I took a swipe at him to help you. He wouldn't play and ran away. Then he cheated and set that fire going."

"You shouldn't have come," said Monkey. "It would be best if I had a few more rounds with him and caught him a crafty one with my cudgel!" The two of them then fell to discussing the demon's skill and his terrible fire while Friar Sand leaned against a pine trunk, grinning broadly.

"What are you grinning at, brother," asked Monkey when he noticed. "Don't tell me you've got some power with which to capture the demon and defeat his magic fire. If you had, you'd be helping all of us. As the saying goes, 'many hands make light work.' If you can capture the demon and rescue the master you'll have something very fine to your credit."

"I've got no magic powers," said Friar Sand, "and I can't subdue demons. I was just smiling at the way you two were getting so desperate."

"What do you mean?" Monkey asked.

"The demon's no match for either you in magic or at fighting," said Friar Sand. "The only reason you can't beat him is because of his fire. If you took my advice you could catch him easily by using the principle of the elements overcoming each other."

At this Monkey chuckled aloud and said, "You're right. We were so desperate we forgot about that. On the principle of the elements overcoming each other we'll have to beat fire with water. The question is, where do we get the water to put that fire out and rescue the master?"

"Yes," said Friar Sand, "and we mustn't waste any time."

"You two stay here," said Monkey, "but don't get into a fight with him. I'll go and borrow some dragon soldiers from the Eastern Ocean to bring water to douse the devil fire."

"Off you go, brother," said Pig, "and don't worry. We know what to do."

The splendid Great Sage took his cloud far away. In a moment he was at the Eastern Ocean, but he had no interest in admiring the seascape as he parted the waves with water-repelling magic. As he was going through the water he met a patrolling yaksha, who hurried back into the water-crystal palace to report to the Senior Dragon King Ao Guang. Ao Guang came out to welcome Monkey at the head of his dragon sons and grandsons and his shrimp and crab soldiers. The dragon king invited Monkey to come in and sit down. When the courtesies were over the king offered Monkey some tea.

"Please don't bother," said Monkey. "But there is something else I've come to trouble you with. My master the Tang Priest has been captured on his way to the Western Heaven to worship the Buddha and fetch the scriptures. He's been caught by an evil spirit called the Red Boy, the Boy Sage King, from the Fire-cloud Cave by Withered Pine Ravine on Mount Hao. I went into the cave to look for my master and fight the demon, but the demon started a great fire. It was too much for me. I thought that as water overcomes fire I'd come here to ask you for some water. Could you make a torrential downpour for me that would put the fire out and save the Tang Priest?"

"You've come to the wrong place," said the dragon king. "I'm not the person to ask for rain."

"But you're the dragon king of the four oceans," said Monkey, "the lord of rain. If I don't ask you who else should I ask?"

"I am in charge of rain," replied the dragon king, "but I can't do anything without authorization. I must have permission from the Jade Emperor as to where and when and how many inches of rain I should pour down, and I've to get a lot of official signatures before I can ask the help of Grandpa Thunder, Mother Lightning, Uncle Wind and the Cloud Boys. As the saying goes, dragons can't travel without cloud."

"But I don't need wind, clouds, thunder or lightning," said Monkey. "All I want is some rain to put the fire out."

"You may not need wind, clouds, thunder or lightning, Great Sage," said the dragon king, "but I can't help you alone. What would you say if I asked my younger brothers too?"

"Where are they?" Monkey asked. "Ao Qin is Dragon King of the Southern Sea, Ao Run is Dragon King of the Northern Sea, and Ao Shun is Dragon King of the Western Sea."

"It'd be easier to go up to Heaven and ask the Jade Emperor for an edict than to trek round all three seas," replied Monkey with a laugh. "No need for you to go, Great Sage," said the dragon king. "If I beat my iron drum and bronze bell they'll be here this instant."

"Please sound them at once, Senior Dragon King," said Monkey.

A moment later the three other dragon kings came crowding in. "Elder brother," they asked, "what orders do you have for us?"

"The Great Sage Monkey is here to borrow some rain to help him subdue a demon," said the Senior Dragon King. After the greetings were over Monkey explained why he needed water. The dragons were all delighted to comply. They mustered the following:

The brave Shark as the vanguard,
With big-mouthed Hemibagrus to the fore;
Marshal Carp who plunges through the waves,
Commander Bream who spews out mists.
Colonel Mackerel to patrol the East,
Major Culler to advance to the West.
The Cavalryman Red Eye gallops to the South,
While General Black-shell breaks through in the North.
Brigadier Croaker commands the central force;
Every unit is a crack force of heroes.
A master of strategy is Chief of Staff Turtle;
Lord Tortoise excels in subtle predictions.
Prime Minister Alligator is full of wisdom,
Garrison Commander Terrapin has great ability.
Advancing sideways, crab soldiers wield their swords,
While leaping shrimp amazons draw their bows.
Secretary Catfish looks after the paperwork,
And calls the rolls of the dragon army.

There is a poem about this that goes:
The four ocean dragons were glad to give their help
When Monkey the Sage to seek assistance came.
As the priest Sanzang was in trouble on his journey
They all carried water to put out the flame.

Monkey was soon back at the Withered Pine Ravine on Mount Hao with his dragon army. "Worthy brothers of the Ao clan," he said, "I have brought you a long way. This is where the demon lives. Will you please stay up here in mid-air and not show your faces while I have it out with him. If I can beat him, I won't need to trouble you gentlemen to capture him for me. If he beats me, there'll be no need for you gentlemen to join in the fray. The only thing I'd like you to do is all to spurt out rain together when I call if he starts his fire." The dragon kings did as they had been told.

Monkey then brought his cloud down to land in the pine wood, saw Pig and Friar Sand, and called to them. "You were quick," said Pig. "Did you get the dragon king to come?"

"They're all here," Brother Monkey replied. "You'd both better be very careful not to let the baggage get wet if it rains hard. I'm off to fight the demon."

"Off you go, and don't worry," said Friar Sand. "We can cope."

Monkey leapt across the ravine to the cave entrance and shouted, "Open up!" The little devils ran back in to report, "Sun the Novice is here again."

The Red Boy looked up with a smile and said, "The monkey thinks no fire can burn him, because none ever has. That's why he's here again. But this time we won't let him off: we'll burn him to cinders." He sprang up, grasped his spear, and ordered the little demons to wheel the fire carts out. Then he went out in front of the gates and asked Monkey, "Why are you here again?"

"Give me back my master," Monkey replied.

"Keep up with the times, ape," said the demon. "He may be a master to you, but to me he's something to eat with my drinks. You might as well forget about him." These words threw Monkey into a fury. He raised his gold-banded cudgel and struck at the monster's head. The demon quickly parried the blow with his fire-tipped spear. This fight was not like the one before:

A furious evil demon,
An enraged Monkey King.
One set on saving the pilgrim priest,
Whom the other intended to devour.
When the heart changes kinship disappears;
No concessions are made in the absence of feeling.
One would gladly have skinned his foe alive;
The other wanted his enemy pickled in sauce.
Such heroism,
What ferocity!
Spear parried cudgel in the struggle for mastery;
Cudgel blocked spear in the battle to win.
After twenty rounds of combat
Both sides were on equal terms.

When the demon king had fought twenty rounds with Monkey and could see that neither of them was going to win he feinted, pulled back, clenched his fist, punched himself twice on the nose, and started breathing out fire again. Flames roared from the carts in front of the entrance, and his mouth and eyes were full of the blaze. Monkey looked back to shout, "Where are you, dragon kings?" The dragon king brothers then led their watery hosts in spurting rain on the demon's fire. It was a splendid rainstorm,

Mighty,
Heavy.
Mighty as stars falling from the heavens,
Heavy like waves crashing on the shore.
At first the drops are the size of fists,
Then each is a bowl of water upturned.
Flowing across the land, making duck's necks green;
Washing the mountainside to show it deep blue.
The waters in the ravine are a thousand fathoms of jade,
The spring stream swells to a myriad strands of silver.
Soon the crossroads is flooded,
And the meandering river flows straight.
The dragons help the Tang Priest in his trouble,
Making the Heavenly River overflow.

But heavy though it was, the downpour could not stop the demon's fire. Dragon king's private rain can only put out ordinary fires, not this demon's Samadhi Fire. The rain was like oil poured on the flames: the more there was, the fiercer the blaze. "I'll make a hand-spell and plunge into the fire," said Monkey, who went after the demon, swinging his cudgel. Seeing Monkey coming, the demon blew a cloud of smoke straight into his face. Turn away though he did, Monkey's eyes smarted terribly, and he could not stop the tears from pouring down. Although not bothered by fire, the Great Sage was vulnerable to smoke. Back at the time when he had made havoc in Heaven and been refined by Lord Lao Zi in the Eight Trigram Furnace he had saved himself from being burnt up by staying in the part of the furnace controlled by the Wind Trigram Xun. But the wind had blown smoke at him, and he had been so thoroughly cooked that his eyes turned fiery and his pupils golden. That was why he was still vulnerable to smoke. When the demon blew another cloud of smoke at him it was more than he could bear, and so he made off on his cloud. The demon king then had the fire-raising equipment put away and went back into the cave.

The flames and the smoke had made the Great Sage unbearably hot, so he plunged straight into the stream to put out the flames, not realizing that the shock of the cold water would make the fire attack his heart, driving his three souls out of him. Alas,

When breathing stopped, cold went his mouth and tongue;
All his souls scattered and his life was done.

In their horror the dragon kings of the four seas who were watching from mid-air stopped making rain and shouted, "Marshal Tian Peng, Curtain-raising General, stop hiding in the woods. Go and find your brother."

Hearing their divine shouts Pig and Friar Sand immediately untied the horse, put the luggage-pole on their shoulders, and rushed out of the wood. They searched for Monkey along the stream, not caring about getting wet and muddy. Upstream they could see someone being carried by the rushing torrent and tossed around in the waves. The moment Friar Sand spotted this he leapt fully clothed into the water and hauled him to the bank. It was the body of the Great Sage. Alas! He was curled up, unable to stretch any of his limbs and as cold as ice all over. "Poor brother," said Friar Sand. "You who were once going to be immortal are now had your life cut short as a traveler."

"Stop crying, brother," laughed Pig. "The ape's just shamming dead to give us a fright. Feel his chest and see if it's still warm."

"He's cold all over," said Friar Sand, "with only a touch of warmth. How are we going to revive him?"

"He knows how to do seventy-two transformations," said Pig, "and that means seventy-two lives. You grab his feet and I'll manipulate him. So Friar Sand pulled at Monkey's feet while Pig supported his head. They straightened him out, stood him up, then made him sit cross-legged. Pig warmed Monkey up by rubbing vigorously with the palms of his hands, covered his seven orifices, and gave him a dhyana massage. The shock of the cold water had blocked the breath in Monkey's abdomen, leaving him unable to speak. Thanks to Pig's massage and rubbing, the breath in Monkey's body soon flowed through the Three Passes again, circulated in his Bright Hall, and came out through his orifices with a shout of "Master."

"Brother," said Friar Sand, "you live for the master, and his name is on your lips even when you're dying. Wake up. We're here."

Monkey opened his eyes and asked, "Brothers, are you here? I've lost."

"You passed out just now," said Pig with a laugh, "and if I hadn't saved you you'd have been done for. You owe me some thanks."

Only then did Monkey get to his feet, look up and say, "Where are you, Ao brothers?"

"We humble dragons are in attendance up here," the dragon kings of the four oceans replied from mid-air.

"I've given you the trouble of this long journey for nothing," said Monkey. "Would you like to go back now? I'll come to thank you another day." We will say no more about the dragon kings as they led their watery tribes home in majesty.

Friar Sand helped Monkey back into the woods, where they both sat down. Before long Monkey had recovered and was breathing normally as the tears poured down his cheeks. "Master," he cried,

"I remember when you left Great Tang,
And saved me from my torture in the cliff.
Demons have plagued you at each mount and stream;
Your heart was torn by countless pains and woes.
Sometimes you have eaten well and sometimes not;
You've spent your nights in forests or in farms.
Your heart was always set on the Achievement;
Who knows what agonies you suffer now?"

"Don't upset yourself so, brother," said Friar Sand. "We'll work out a plan to get reinforcements and rescue the master."

"Where from?" Monkey asked.

"Long ago, when the Bodhisattva ordered us to protect the Tang Priest, she promised us that if we called on Heaven or earth for help there would always be a response," replied Friar Sand. "Where shall we turn now?"

"I remember that when I made havoc in Heaven," said Monkey, "the Heavenly soldiers were no match for me. That evil spirit has tremendous magic. Only someone with more powers than I have will be able to subdue him. As the gods of Heaven and earth are useless the only way to catch the monster will be by going to ask the Bodhisattva Guanyin for her help. But I can't ride my somersault cloud: my skin is much too sore and my body is aching. How are we going to get her help?"

"Tell me what to say," said Pig, "and I'll go to ask her."

"All right," said Monkey with a laugh, "you go. If the Bodhisattva receives you, you mustn't look her in the face. Keep your head down and bow to her respectfully. When she asks you, tell her what this place and the demon are called, then ask her to save the master. If she agrees to come she'll certainly capture the demon." Pig set off South on his cloud.

Back in the cave the demon was saying with delight, "Sun the Novice is beaten, my little ones. I may not have killed him this time, but at any rate he passed out for a long time." He sighed, then added, "The only thing is that he might send for reinforcements. Open up, and I'll go out to see who he's sending for."

The demons opened the gates for the evil spirit to spring out and look around from mid-air. Seeing Pig heading South the spirit reckoned that he must definitely be going to ask the Bodhisattva Guanyin to come as there was nowhere else to the South where he might be going. The demon brought his cloud down quickly and said to his followers, "Little ones, fetch my leather bag. The string at the mouth may not be any good now as I haven't used it for ages, so please put a new string in it and leave it outside the inner gates. I'll lure Pig back here and pop him in the bag. Then we can steam him nice and tender as a reward for all of you." The little demons fetched their king's As-You-Will leather bag, replaced the string in it, and put it inside the main gates.

As the demon king had lived there so long he was very familiar with the district, and knew which ways to the Southern Sea were quicker and which were longer. Riding his cloud by the quick route he overtook Pig and turned himself into an imitation Guanyin to sit on a crag and wait for him.

When the idiot suddenly saw Guanyin as he was hurtling along on his cloud he had no way of telling that this was a false one: it was a case of seeing the image and taking it for a Buddha. The idiot stopped his cloud, bowed down, and said, "Bodhisattva, your disciple Zhu Wuneng kowtows to you."

"Why have you come to see me instead of escorting the Tang Priest to fetch the scriptures?" the Bodhisattva asked.

"I was travelling with master," Pig replied, "when an evil spirit called the Red Boy carried my master off to the Fire-cloud Cave by Withered Pine Ravine on Mount Hao. Monkey and us two went to find the demon and fight him. Because he can make fire we couldn't beat him the first time. The second time we asked the dragon kings to help out with rain, but even that couldn't put it out. The flames have hurt Monkey so badly that he can't move, which is why he's sent me to ask for your help, Bodhisattva. I beg you in your mercy to save the master."

"The lord of the Fire-cloud Cave is no killer," said the evil spirit. "You must have offended him."

"I never offended him," said Pig. "It was my brother Monkey who did. The demon turned himself into a little boy hanging at the top of a tree to tempt my master. My master is so kind-hearted that he told me to untie the boy and made Monkey carry him. It was Monkey who smashed him to bits and made him carry the master off in a wind."

"Get up," said the evil spirit, "and come with me to the cave to see its lord. I shall ask him to be kind to you. You will just have to kowtow as an apology and ask for your master back."

"Bodhisattva," said Pig, "I'll kowtow to him if I can get the master back that way."

"Come with me," said the demon king. Knowing no better, the idiot followed the demon back to the Fire-cloud Cave by the way he had come instead of going on to the Southern Sea. They were back at the entrance in an instant.

"Do not worry," said the evil spirit as he went in, "he is an old acquaintance of mine. Come in." As soon as the idiot raised his foot to go inside the demons all captured him with a great shout, knocked him over, and pushed him into the bag. Then the cord at the mouth was drawn tight and Pig was hung up from a rafter.

The evil spirit resumed his true form, took his seat in the midst of the demons, and said, "Pig, what powers do you think you have? How do you have the nerve to promise to protect the Tang Priest on his way to fetch the scriptures, or to ask the Bodhisattva here to subdue me? Take a good look. Can't you see I'm the Sage Boy King? Now I've got you I'm going to hang you up for four or five days, steam you, and give you as a treat to the little devils to nibble with their drinks."

Hearing this, Pig started cursing inside the bag: "Damn you, monster. It's disgraceful behavior. You may have used all your tricks and devices to be able to eat me, but I guarantee I'll give every one of you the head-swelling plague." The idiot kept on cursing and yelling, but we will say no more of him.

Monkey meanwhile had felt a stinking wind rush past him as he sat with Friar Sand. "That's bad," he said with a sneeze. "That's a thoroughly ill wind. I'm afraid Pig's got lost."

"But wouldn't he ask the way if he got lost?" asked Friar Sand.

"He must have run into the demon," said Monkey.

"But wouldn't he have come rushing back here if he'd met a demon?" said Friar Sand.

"Can't be sure," said Monkey. "You sit here and look after the things while I go over the ravine and see what's going on."

"Let me go," said Friar Sand. "Your back is still aching and he might fight you again."

"You'd be useless," said Monkey. "It'll have to be me."

Splendid Monkey gritted his teeth against the pain, took his cudgel in his hand, crossed the ravine, and shouted "Vicious monster!" at the mouth of the cave. The little devil at the gate rushed inside to report that Sun the Novice was yelling at the gates again. The demon king ordered Monkey's capture. With a great battle-cry a crowd of demons armed with swords and spears opened the gates and shouted, "Get him." Monkey was indeed too exhausted to fight them. He squeezed himself against the side of the path, shouted, "Change," and turned himself into a bundle wrapped in a gold-embroidered cloth. As soon as they saw it the little devils picked it up and took it inside. "Your Majesty," they reported, "Monkey's a coward. As soon as we shouted 'Get him' he was so scared he dropped his bundle and ran."

"There won't be anything in there that's worth anything," smirked the demon king. "Probably just some worn-out monks' habits and old hats. Get them in, and wash and tear them up to use as rags." One of the little demons took the bundle right inside the cave, not realizing it was really Monkey. "Splendid," thought Monkey, "they're carrying the bundle in." The evil spirit dropped it inside the doors without paying any attention to it.

Splendid Monkey could work transformations within transformations and deceits within deceits. Pulling out one of his hairs he blew on it with magic breath and made it look just like the first bundle. He then turned himself into a fly that perched on the pivot of the door. He could hear Pig grumbling away rather indistinctly, like a hog with swine-fever. When Monkey buzzed over to look for him he found Pig hanging up in the leather sack. Monkey landed on the sack, where he could hear Pig cursing and swearing at the demon.

"How dare you pretend to be the Bodhisattva Guanyin and trick me into coming here! Then you hang me up and say you're going to eat me. One day soon my elder brother

Will use his superlative Great Sage powers
And have all you demons caught in a shake.
He'll open this bag and let me get out
To give you all thousands of thumps with my rake."

Monkey was delighted to hear this. "The idiot may be a bit stuffy in there, but he's not running down his colours. I'll get that demon and have my revenge on him."

Just as Monkey was working out how to rescue Pig he heard the demon king shouting, "Where are the six warriors?" Six of the little devils who were his friends had been given the title of Warrior. Each one had his own name. They were Mist in the Clouds, Clouds in the Mist, Fire-fast, Windspeedy, Heater and Cooker. The six warriors stepped forward and knelt down. "Do you know where the Old King lives?" the demon asked.

"Yes," the warriors replied.

"Go tonight to invite His Majesty the Old King here. Tell him that I've caught a Tang Priest who I'm going to cook for him, and that this will make him live for another thousand ages." The six monsters slouched around as they went out with their orders. Monkey flew down from the bag with a buzz and followed the six demons as they left the cave.

If you don't know how the Old King was invited there, listen to the explanation in the next installment.


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If you don't know whether things turned out for good or for ill, listen to the explanation in the next installment.