home | login | register | DMCA | contacts | help | donate |      


my bookshelf | genres | recommend | rating of books | rating of authors | reviews | new | | collections | | | add


Chapter 76

When the Heart Spirit Stays in the Home the Demons Submit

The Mother of Wood Helps Bring Monsters to the Truth

The story tells how after the Great Sage had struggled in his stomach for a while the senior demon collapsed in the dust. He made no sound and was not breathing either. As he said nothing Monkey thought the demon was dead, so he stopped hitting him. When the demon chief recovered his breath he called out, Most merciful and most compassionate Bodhisattva, Great Sage Equaling Heaven.

My boy, said Monkey when he heard this, don't waste your effort. You could save yourself a few words by simply calling me Grandpa Sun.

Desperate to save his skin, the evil monster really did call out, Grandpa! Grandpa! I was wrong. I shouldn't have eaten you, and now you're destroying me. I beg you, Great Sage, in your mercy and compassion take pity on my antlike greed for life and spare me. If you do I'll escort your master across the mountain.

Although the Great Sage was a tough hero he was most eager to help the Tang Priest in his journey, so on hearing the evil monster's pathetic pleas and flattery he decided once more to be kind.

Evil monster, he shouted, I'll spare your life. How are you going to escort my master?

We don't have any gold, silver, pearls, jade, agate, coral, crystal, amber, tortoiseshell or other such treasures here to give him, but my two brothers and I will carry him in a rattan chair across the mountain.

If you could carry him in a chair that would be better than treasure, said Monkey with a smile. Open your mouth: I'm coming out.

The demon then opened his mouth, whereupon the third chief went over to him and whispered in his ear, Bite him as he comes out, brother. Chew the monkey to bits and swallow him. Then he won't be able to hurt you.

Now Monkey could hear all this from inside, so instead of coming straight out he thrust his gold-banded cudgel out first as a test. The demon did indeed take a bite at it, noisily smashing one of his front teeth in the process.

You're a nice monster, aren't you! exclaimed Monkey, pulling his cudgel back. I spare your life and agree to come out, but you try to murder me by biting me. I'm not coming out now. I'm going to kill you. I won't come out! I won't!

Brother, the senior demon chief complained to the third one, what you've done is destroy one of your own kind. I'd persuaded him to come out but you would have to tell me to bite him. Now I'm in agony from my broken tooth. What are we to do?

In the face of the senior demon chief's complaints the third demon chief tried the method of making the enemy lose his temper.

Sun the Novice, he yelled at the top of his voice, you have a thundering reputation. They tell of how mighty you were outside the Southern Gate of Heaven and at the Hall of Miraculous Mist. I'd heard that you've been capturing demons along your way to the Western Heaven. But now I see that you're only a very small-time ape.

What makes me small-time? Monkey asked.

A hero who only roams three hundred miles around will go three thousand miles to make his fame resound, the third chief replied. Come out and fight me if you're a real tough guy. What do you mean by messing about in someone else's stomach? If you're not small-time what are you?

Yes, yes, yes, thought Monkey when he heard this. It wouldn't be at all difficult for me to tear this demon's bowels to bits, rip up his liver, and kill him, the Great Sage shouted. But I'd destroy my own reputation in the process. I'll have to forget about it. Open your mouth and I'll come out and fight you. The only problem is that this cave of yours is much too cramped for me to use my weapons. We'll have to go somewhere where there's more room.

On hearing this the third demon chief mustered all the demons young and old from all around. There were over thirty thousand of them armed with the finest and sharpest weapons who came out of the cave to form a line of battle symbolizing heaven, earth and mankind. They were all waiting for Monkey to come out of the senior demon's mouth before rushing him. The second demon chief then helped the senior demon out through the entrance of the cave, where he shouted, Sun the Novice! If you're such a tough guy, come out. There's good battlefield here for us to fight on.

The Great Sage could tell that this was an open area from the calls of crows, magpies and cranes that he could hear in the monster's belly. If I don't come out I'll be breaking faith with them, he thought. But if I do these demons are beasts at heart behind their human faces. They tried to lure me out and bite me when they promised to carry the master across the ridge. Now they've got their army here. Oh well! I'll let them have it both ways. I'll go out but I'll leave a root in his stomach too.

With that he put his hand behind him to pluck a tiny hair from his tail, blew on it with magic breath, called Change! and made it into a string as fine as a hair but some four hundred feet long. As the string came outside it grew thicker in the wind. One end Monkey fastened round the evil monster's heart in a slip-knot that he did not tighten-if he had it would have caused great pain. The other end he held in his hand as he said to himself, If they agree to escort my master across the ridge when I come out this time I'll leave it at that. But if they refuse and go for me with their weapons so hard that I can't cope with them I'll just need to pull this rope. I'll get the same results as if I were still inside.

He then made himself tiny and crawled up as far as the throat, from where he could see that the evil spirit had opened his mouth wide. Rows of steel teeth were set above and below like sharp knives. This is no good, he thought at once, no good at all. If I take this rope out through his mouth and he can't stand the pain he'll be able to cut through it with a single bite. I'll have to go out where there aren't any teeth. The splendid Great Sage paid out the string as he crawled up the demon's upper palate and into his nostril, which made his nose itch. The demon sneezed with a loud atchoo, blowing Monkey out.

As he felt the wind blowing him Monkey bowed and grew over thirty feet long, keeping the string in one hand and holding the iron cudgel in the other. The wicked monster raised his steel sword as soon as he saw Monkey appear and hacked at his face. The Great Sage met the blow one-handed with his cudgel. Then the second demon chief with his spear and the third chief with his halberd went for him furiously. The Great Sage relaxed his pull on the rope, put his iron cudgel away and made off at speed by cloud, afraid that he would be unable to fight properly when surrounded by so many young devils. Once he had leapt out of the demons' camp he brought his cloud down on a spacious and empty mountain top and pulled with both hands on the rope as hard as he could. This gave the senior demon a pain in the heart. The demon struggled upwards in agony, whereupon the Great Sage pulled him down again.

As they all watched from afar the junior demons all shouted: Don't provoke him, Your Majesty! Let him go. That ape has no sense of when things ought to be done. He's flying a kite before the beginning of April. When the Great Sage heard this he gave a mighty stamp, at which the senior demon came whistling down out of the sky like a spinning-wheel to crash into the dust, making a crater some two feet deep in the hard earth at the foot of the mountain.

This gave the second and third demon chiefs such a fright that they landed their clouds together and rushed forward to grab hold of the rope and kneel at the foot of the mountain. Great Sage, they pleaded, we thought you were an immortal of vast and boundless generosity. We'd never dreamed that you would be as small-minded as a rat or a snail. It's true that we lured you out to give battle, but we never expected that you would tie a rope round our eldest brother's heart

You're a thorough disgrace, you damned gang of demons, said Monkey with a laugh. Last time you tried to trick me into coming out so you could bite me and this time you've lured me out to face an army ready for battle. It's obvious that you've got tens of thousands of soldiers here to tackle me when I'm alone. Most unreasonable. I'll pull him away. I'm going to drag him off to see my master.

If in your mercy and compassion you spare our lives, Great Sage, the demons said, all kowtowing together, we vow to escort your master across this mountain.

If you want to live all you have to do is cut the rope with your sword, said Monkey with a laugh.

My lord, the senior monster said, I can cut the rope outside, but it's no good having the length inside that's tied round my heart. It sticks in my throat so uncomfortably that it makes me feel sick.

In that case, said Monkey, open your mouth and I'll go back inside to undo the rope. This alarmed the senior demon, who said, If you don't come out when you go in this time I'll be in a mess, a real mess.

I know how to undo the end of the rope that's in you from the outside, Monkey replied. But when I've undone it will you really escort my master across?

We will as soon as you've undone it, the senior demon chief replied. I wouldn't dare lie about this. Now that he had satisfied himself the demon was telling the truth Monkey shook himself and put the hair back on his body, whereupon the monster's heart pains stopped. It was the Great Sage Sun's transforming magic that had tied the hair round his heart in the first place, which was why the pain ended as soon as the hair was put back on Monkey.

The three demon chiefs then rose up into the air to thank him with the words, Please go back now, Great Sage, and pack your luggage. We will carry a chair down to fetch him. The demon horde then all put their weapons down and went back into the cave.

Having put his rope away the Great Sage went straight back to the Eastern side of the ridge, and when he was still a long way away he saw the Tang Priest lying on the ground, rolling around and howling. Pig and Friar Sand had opened the bundles of luggage and were dividing it up.

Don't tell me, thought Monkey with a quiet sigh. No doubt Pig has told the master that I've been eaten up by evil spirits. The master's sobbing his heart out because he can't bear to be without me and the idiot's dividing the things ready for us all to split up. Oh dear! I can't be sure, so I'd better go down and give the master a shout.

Bringing his cloud down, Monkey shouted, Master! As soon as Friar Sand heard this he started complaining to Pig.

All you want is to see people dead, just like a coffin stand, he said. Our elder brother wasn't killed but you said he was and started this business here. Of course he's bound to kick up a row.

But I saw him with my own eyes being eaten up by the evil spirit in one mouthful, Pig replied. I'm sure we're just seeing that ape's spirit because it's an unlucky day.

Monkey then went up to Pig and hit him in the face with a slap that sent him staggering. Cretin! he said. Is this my spirit you can see?

Rubbing his face, the idiot replied, But the monster really did eat you up, brother. How can you-how can you have come back to life?

Useless gumboil! said Monkey. After he ate me I grabbed his bowels, twisted his lungs, tied a rope round his heart and tore at him till he was in horrible agony. Then they all kowtowed and pleaded with me, so I spared his life. Now they're bringing a carrying-chair here to take the master over the mountain.

As soon as Sanzang heard this he scrambled to his feet, bowed to Monkey and said, Disciple, I've put you to enormous trouble. If I had believed what Wuneng said we would have been finished.

Chaff-guzzling idiot, Monkey said abusively, taking a swing at Pig with his fist, you're thoroughly lazy and barely human. But don't get upset, Master. The monsters are coming to take you across the mountain. Friar Sand too felt deeply ashamed, and quickly trying to cover it up he packed up the luggage and loaded the horse to wait on the road.

The story returns to the three demon chiefs, who led their devilish hosts back into the cave. Elder brother, said the second demon, I'd imagined that Sun the Novice had nine heads and eight tails, but he turns out to be nothing but that pipsqueak of a monkey. You shouldn't have swallowed him. You should have fought him. He'd have been no match for us. With our tens of thousands of goblins we could have drowned him in our spit. But by swallowing him you let him use his magic and cause you agony, so that you didn't dare have it out with him. When I said we'd take the Tang Priest across the mountains just now I didn't mean it. It was only a way of luring him out because your life was in danger. I most certainly won't escort the Tang Priest.

Why not, good brother? the senior demon chief asked.

If you and I draw up three thousand junior devils ready for battle I can capture that ape, the second demon replied.

Never mind about three thousand, the senior demon chief said. You can have our whole force. If we capture him it'll be a credit to us all.

The second demon chief then mustered three thousand junior demons whom he led to a place beside the main road, where they were put into battle formation. He sent a herald with a blue flag to carry a message.

Sun the Novice, the herald said, come out at once and fight His Second Majesty.

When Pig heard this he said with a laugh, As the saying goes, brother, liars don't fool the people at home. You lied to us when you came back, you trickster. You said you'd beaten the evil spirits and that they'd be bringing a carrying-chair to take the master across. But here they are challenging you to battle. Why?

The senior demon did surrender to me, Monkey replied, and he wouldn't dare show his face. The sound of my name alone is enough to give him a headache. The second demon chief must be challenging me to battle because he can't bring himself to escort us across. I tell you, brother, those three evil spirits are brothers and they have a sense of honour. We're three brothers but we don't. I've beaten the senior demon, so the second demon's come out. There's no reason why you shouldn't fight him.

I'm not scared of him, Pig said. I'll go and give him a fight.

If you want to, go ahead, Monkey replied.

Brother, said Pig with a laugh, I'll go, but lend me that rope.

What do you want it for? Monkey asked. You don't know how to get into his belly or tie it to his heart, so what use would it be to you?

I want it tied round my waist as a lifeline, replied Pig. You and Friar Sand are to hold on to it and let it out for me to fight him. If you think I'm beating him pay more rope out and I'll capture him, but if he's beating me, pull me back. Don't let him drag me off.

At this Monkey smiled to himself and thought, Another chance to make a fool of the idiot. Monkey then tied the rope round Pig's waist and sent him off into battle.

The idiot lifted his rake and rushed up the steep slope shouting. Come out, evil spirit! Come and fight your ancestor Pig! The herald with the blue flag rushed back to report, Your Majesty, there's a monk with a long snout and big ears here. The second demon chief came out of the encampment, saw Pig, and without a word thrust his spear straight at Pig's face. The idiot raised his rake and went forward to parry the blow. The two of them joined battle in front of the mountainside, and before they had fought seven or eight rounds the idiot began to weaken. He was no longer able to hold the evil spirit off.

Brother, he shouted, turning back in a hurry, pull in the lifeline, pull in the lifeline! When the Great Sage heard this from where he stood he loosened his hold on the rope and dropped it. The idiot started to run back now that he was defeated. At first he had not noticed the rope trailing behind him, but after he turned back, relaxing the tension on it, it started to get tangled round his legs. He tripped himself over, climbed to his feet and tripped over again. At first he only staggered, but then he fell facedown into the dust. The evil spirit caught up with him, unwound his trunk that was like a python, wrapped it round Pig and carried him back in triumph to the cave. The devilish host chorused a paean of victory as they swarmed back.

When Sanzang saw all this from the foot of the slope he became angry with Monkey. Wukong, he said, no wonder Wuneng wishes you were dead. You brother-disciples don't love each other at all. All you feel is jealousy. He told you to pull in his lifeline, so why didn't you? Why did you drop the rope instead? What are we to do now you have got him killed?

You're covering up for him again, Master, said Monkey, and showing favoritism too. I'm fed up. When I was captured it didn't bother you at all. I was dispensable. But when that idiot gets himself caught you blame me for it. Let him suffer. It'll teach him how hard it is to fetch the scriptures.

Disciple, said Sanzang, was I not worried when you went? I remembered that you could change into other things, so I was sure you would come to no harm. But the idiot was born clumsy and can't transform himself, which makes this a very dangerous business. You must go and rescue him.

Stop complaining, Master, said Brother Monkey. I'll go and save him.

Monkey rushed up the mountain thinking resentfully, I'm not going to make life easy for that idiot if he wishes me dead. I'll go and see what the evil spirits are doing with him. Before I rescue him I'll let him suffer a bit. He then made magic with his hands, said the words of a spell, shook himself, turned into the tiniest of insects and flew into the cave, where he landed at the bottom of one of Pig's ears to be taken inside with the evil spirit. The second demon chief had led his three thousand junior devils trumpeting and drumming loudly to the cave, where they stopped.

He now took Pig inside and said, I've got one, elder brother.

Show me, the senior demon replied.

Unwinding his trunk the second demon chief flung Pig to the ground and said, There he is.

That one's useless, said the senior demon.

Your Majesty, put in Pig when he heard this, if I'm no use let me go and find a more useful one to capture.

He may not be any use, said the third demon chief, but he is the Tang Priest's disciple Zhu Bajie. Tie him up and put him to soak in the pool at the back. When his bristles have been soaked off we can open his belly up, salt him and dry him in the sun. He'll go down well with some wine on a rainy day.

That's that then, exclaimed Pig in horror. I've fallen into the clutches of a demon who's a salt-pork peddler. The demon hordes fell on him, tied his hands and feet together, carried him to the pool at the back, pushed him in and went back.

When the Great Sage flew there to have a look he saw the idiot with his four limbs pointing upwards and his snout downwards as he half floated and was half sinking, grunting through his snout. He really was a ridiculous sight, like a big blackened frost-bitten lotus pod that has shed its seeds in September or October. Seeing his face the Great Sage felt both loathing and pity for him.

What shall I do? he wondered. After all, he is another member of the Dragon Flower Assembly. I just wish he wouldn't keep trying to divide up the luggage, split our band, and incite the master to say the Band-tightening Spell. The other day I heard Friar Sand say that he'd stashed some money away for himself. I wonder if it's true. I'll give him a scare and find out.

The splendid Great Sage flew down to his ear and called in a disguised voice, Zhu Wuneng, Zhu Wuneng.

This is terrible, thought Pig in alarm, Wuneng is the name the Bodhisattva Guanyin gave me. I've been called Zhu Bajie all the time I've been with the Tang Priest. How can there be anyone here who knows my name is Wuneng? So he could not restrain himself from asking, Who's that calling my Buddhist name?

Me, said Monkey.

Who are you? the idiot asked.

I'm a catcher, Monkey replied.

Where from, sir? asked Pig in terror.

From the Fifth King of the Underworld, and he's sent me to fetch you, said Monkey.

Then please go back and ask the Fifth King as he's such a good friend of my senior fellow-disciple Sun Wukong to give me a day's grace. You can come for me tomorrow.

You're talking nonsense, Monkey replied. If King Yama of Hell decides you're to die in the third watch nobody will keep you till the fourth. Come with me at once if you don't want me to put a rope round your neck and drag you off.

Do me a favour, said the idiot. Even with a face like mine still want to go on living. I'll certainly die if I have to, but give me a day till these evil spirits have captured my master and the rest of us, so I can see them again before we're all done for.

Very well then, said Monkey, grinning to himself. I've got about thirty people to capture around here in this batch. When I've caught them I'll come back for you. That'll give you a day's grace. Give me some money. I'm sure you've got some.

Oh dear, said Pig, we monks don't have money.

If you haven't then I'm dragging you off, said Brother Monkey. Come with me.

Don't be so impatient, sir, said the idiot, panicking. I know that rope of yours is what they call the life-taking rope. Once It's round you you're dead. Yes, I have got some money. I've got a bit, but not much.

Where is it? Monkey demanded. Give it me at once.

Oh dear, what a pity! said Pig. From when I became a monk right up till now the kind people who feed monks have given me a bit more alms than the others because my belly's so big. I saved all the little bits of silver till I had about half an ounce. They were awkward to keep, so when we were in a city some time ago I asked a silversmith to melt them all together. The wicked man stole a few grains of it, so the ingot he made only weighed forty-six hundredths of an ounce. Take it.

The idiot hasn't even got his trousers on, grinned Monkey to himself, so where can he have hidden it? Hey, where's your silver?

It's stuffed inside my left ear, Pig replied. I can't get it myself because I'm tied up, so take it out yourself. When Monkey heard this he put his hand out and took the silver from inside Pig's ear. It was indeed an ingot shaped like a saddle that weighed only forty-five or forty-six hundredths of an ounce. As he held it in his hands Monkey could not help roaring with laughter.

Recognizing Monkey's voice the idiot started cursing him wildly from the water: Damn and blast you, Protector of the Horses, for coming to extort money from me when I'm in such misery.

I've got you now, you dreg-guzzler! said Monkey. Goodness only knows what I've had to suffer for the sake of protecting the master, while you've been making your fortune.

Nonsense! Pig retorted. Call this a fortune? It's just what I've scraped off my teeth. I resisted spending it on my stomach, so I saved it to buy myself some cloth to get a tunic made. You've got it out of me by intimidation. You ought to share it with me.

You won't get a cent of it, Monkey replied.

I've paid you to spare my life, said Pig, so now you damn well ought to rescue me.

Don't be so impatient, said Monkey. I'll rescue you all in good time. Putting the silver away he turned back into himself and used his cudgel to bring Pig close enough to grab him by his feet, drag him ashore and untie him. Pig then sprang up, took off his clothes, wrung them out, shook them, and draped them still dripping wet over his shoulders.

Brother, he said, open the back gates. Let's go.

There's no glory in sneaking out the back way, replied Monkey. We'll leave by the front gates.

My feet are still numb after being tied up, said Pig. I can't run.

Buck up and come with me, said Monkey.

The splendid Great Sage charged out, clearing his way by swinging his cudgel. The idiot had no choice but to endure the pain and keep close to him. When he saw the rake propped up by the second pair of gates he went over to it, pushed the junior devils aside, retrieved it and rushed forward, lashing out wildly. He and Brother Monkey charged through three or four pairs of gates, and goodness only knows how many junior devils they killed.

When the senior demon chief heard all this he said to the second chief, You captured a fine one! A fine one indeed! Look! Sun the Novice has rescued Pig and they've wounded or killed the juniors on the gates. The second demon at once sprang to his feet and rushed out through the gates brandishing his spear.

Damned macaque, he shouted at the top of his voice. What a nerve! How dare you treat us with such contempt! As soon as the Great Sage heard this he stopped still. The monster thrust his spear straight at him without allowing any argument. With the unhurried skill of the expert Monkey raised his iron cudgel to hit back at the demon's face. The two of them fought a splendid battle outside the entrance to the cave:

The yellow-tusked elephant in human form

Had sworn brotherhood with the Lion King.

Persuaded by the senior monster

They plotted together to eat the Tang Priest.

Huge were the powers of the Great Sage, Heaven's equal,

Who helped the good against the bad and killed off demons,

The incompetent Pig had met with disaster,

So Monkey saved him and led him outside.

When the demon king pursued them with great ferocity

The spear and the cudgel each showed off its powers.

The spear moved like a snake in the woods;

The cudgel arose like a dragon from the sea.

Where the dragon emerged the clouds were thick;

Dense hung the mist where the snake went through the woods.

It was all for the sake of the Tang Priest

That they fought each other with ferocity and hatred.

When he saw the Great Sage start fighting the evil spirit, Pig stood on the spur, his rake upright. Instead of joining in to help, he watched with stupefied amazement. Monkey's cudgel was so powerful and his martial skills so faultless the evil spirit used his spear to parry Monkey's blows while unrolling his trunk to wrap round him. As Monkey knew about this trick he held his gold-banded cudgel out horizontally in both hands and raised them. The evil spirit's trunk caught Monkey round the waist but missed his hands. Just watch how Monkey belabors the evil spirit's trunk with his cudgel.

When Pig saw this he beat his chest and said, Oh dear! That monster's got lousy luck. When he caught me he got my arms too because I'm so clumsy, but he didn't when he caught that slippery character. He's got his cudgel in both hands, and all he needs to do is shove it up the monster's trunk to give him such a pain in the nostrils that it'll make the snot run. The monster'll never be able to hold him.

Monkey had not thought of this before Pig gave him the idea, but now he waved his cudgel to make it as thick as a hen's egg and over ten feet long and actually did shove it hard up the monster's trunk. This gave the evil spirit such a shock that he unraveled his trunk with a swishing noise. Monkey brought his hand round to grab the trunk and drag it forcefully towards him. To spare himself any more agony the monster stepped out and moved with Monkey's hand. Only then did Pig dare approach, raising his rake to hit wildly at the monster's flanks.

No, said Brother Monkey, that's no good. The prongs of your rake are so sharp they might break his skin. If he starts bleeding heavily and the master sees it he'll say we've been killing again. You'd better turn it round and hit him with the handle.

The idiot then raised the handle of his rake and struck the monster at every step while Monkey dragged him by the trunk. They looked like a pair of elephant boys as they led him down to the foot of the mountain, where Sanzang could be seen gazing with concentration at the two of them coming noisily towards him.

Wujing, he said to Friar Sand, what is it Wukong is leading?

Master, replied Friar Sand when he saw them, big brother is dragging an evil spirit here by the nose. He really enjoys slaughter.

Splendid, splendid, said Sanzang. What a big evil spirit, and what a long nose! Go and ask him if he's happy and willing to escort us over the-mountain. If he is he must be spared and not be killed.

Friar Sand at once rushed straight towards them shouting, The master says you mustn't kill the monster if he's really willing to escort him across the mountain. As soon as he heard this the demon fell to his knees and promised to do so in a very nasal voice. His voice was like this because Monkey was pinching his nostrils shut, making it sound as though he had a heavy cold.

Lord Tang, he said, I'll carry you across by chair if you spare my life.

My master and we disciples are good people. Monkey replied. As you've said this we'll spare your life. Fetch the chair at once. If you break your word again we most certainly won't spare your life when we catch you next time. The freed monster kowtowed and left. Monkey and Pig went to report to the Tang Priest on everything that had happened to them. Pig was overcome with shame as he spread his clothes out to dry in the sun while they waited.

The second demon chief returned trembling and shaking to the cave. Even before his return some junior devils had reported to the senior and the third demon chiefs that Monkey had dragged him off by the trunk. In his anxiety the senior demon had led his hosts out with the third demon when they saw the second chief coming back alone. As they brought him inside and asked him why he had been released the second chief told them all about Sanzang's words of mercy and goodness. They looked at each other, at a loss for words.

Elder brother, said the second demon chief, shall we take Sanzang across?

What a thing to say, brother, replied the senior chief. Sun the Novice is a monkey who shows the greatest benevolence and sense of justice. If he had wanted to kill me when he was in my stomach he could most certainly have done so. He only grabbed your trunk. He might have dragged you off and not let you go. All he did was to pinch your trunk and break its skin, and that's given you a scare. Get ready at once to take them across.

The third demon chief smiled and said, Yes, yes, yes!

From the way you're talking, my good brother, said the senior demon, it sounds as though you're reluctant to let the Tang Priest go. If you don't, we'll take him across.

The third demon chief smiled again and said, Elder brothers, it would have been luckier for those monks if they hadn't asked us to escort them but had slipped quietly across instead. By asking us to escort them they've fallen in with our plan to lure the tiger down from the mountain.

What do you mean by 'luring the tiger from the mountain?' the senior demon asked.

Summon all the demons in our cave, the third demon chief continued. Choose one thousand from the ten thousand of them, then a hundred from the thousand, then sixteen and thirty from the hundred.

Why do you want sixteen and thirty? the senior demon asked.

The thirty must be good cooks, the third demon chief replied. Give them the best rice and flour, bamboo shoots, tea, gill fungus, button mushrooms, beancurd and wheat gluten. Send them to put up a shelter seven to ten miles along the way and lay on a meal for the Tang Priest.

And what do you want the sixteen for? the senior demon asked.

Eight to carry the chair and eight to shout and clear the way, the third demon replied. We brothers will accompany them for a stage of their journey. About 150 miles West of here is my city, and I've plenty of troops there to greet them. When they get to the city we'll do such and such and so on The Tang Priest and his disciples won't be able to see what's happening to them. Whether we catch the Tang Priest or not depends completely on those sixteen demons.

The senior demon was beside himself with delight on hearing this. It was as if he had recovered from a drunken stupor or woken up from a dream. Excellent, excellent, he said, whereupon he mustered the demons, chose thirty to whom he gave the food and another sixteen to carry a rattan chair. As they set out the senior demon gave the following instructions to the rest of the demons: None of you are to go out on the mountain. Sun the Novice is a very cautious ape, and if he sees any of you around he'll be suspicious and see through our plan.

The senior demon then led his underlings to a place beside the main road, where he called aloud, Lord Tang, today's not an unlucky one, so please come across the mountain straight away.

Who is that calling me, Wukong? Sanzang asked when he heard this.

It's the demons I beat, Monkey replied. They're bringing a chair to carry you.

Putting his hands together in front of his chest Sanzang looked up to the sky and said, Splendid, splendid! But for my worthy disciple's great abilities I could not proceed on my journey. He then walked forward to greet the demons with the words, I am most grateful for the consideration you gentlemen are showing. When my disciples and I return to Chang'an we will praise your admirable achievements.

Please get into the carrying-chair, my lord, the demons said, kowtowing. Having mortal eyes and body Sanzang did not realize that this was a trick. The Great Sage Sun, a golden immortal of the Supreme Monad with a loyal nature, thought that because he had captured and released the demons they were now won over. He never imagined that they had other plots in mind, so he did not investigate closely but went along with his master's ideas. He told Pig to tie the luggage on the horse and keep close to the master with Friar Sand while he cleared the way with his iron cudgel, watching out to see if all was well. While eight devils carried the chair and eight shouted in turn to clear the way the three demon chiefs steadied the poles of the chair. The master was delighted to sit upright in it and go up the high mountain by the main track, little realizing that

Great grief would return in the midst of rejoicing;

Extremes, says the classic, create their negation.

Fated they were to meet with disaster,

A star of ill-omen to mark desolation.

The band of demons worked with one mind to escort them and serve them diligently at all times. After ten miles there was a vegetarian meal and after fifteen more miles another one. They were invited to rest before it grew late, and everything along their way was neat and tidy. Each day they had three most satisfactory and delightful meals and spent a comfortable night where they were able to sleep well.

When they had traveled about 150 miles West they found themselves near a walled city. Raising his iron cudgel the Great Sage, who was only a third of a mile ahead of the carrying-chair, was so alarmed by the sight of the city that he fell over and was unable to rise to his feet. Do you know why someone of his great courage was so frightened by what he saw? It was because he saw a very evil atmosphere hanging over the town.

Crowds of evil demons and monsters,

Wolf spirits at all four gates.

Striped tigers are the commanders;

White-faced tiger-cats are senior officers.

Antlered stags carry documents around;

Cunning foxes walk along the streets.

Thousand-foot pythons slither round the walls;

Twenty-mile serpents occupy the roads.

At the base of high towers gray wolves shout commands;

Leopards speak in human voices by pavilions.

Standard-bearers and drummers-all are monsters;

Mountain spirits patrol and stand sentry;

Crafty hares open shops to trade;

Wild boars carry their loads to do business.

What used to be the capital of a heavenly dynasty

Has now become a city of wolves and tigers.

Just as he was being overcome by terror the Great Sage heard a wind from behind him and turned quickly to see the third demon chief raising a heaven-square halberd with a patterned handle to strike at his head. Springing to his feet, the Great Sage struck back at the monster's face with his gold-banded cudgel. Both of them were snorting with rage and fury as they ground their teeth and fought a wordless struggle. Monkey then saw the senior demon chief giving out orders as he lifted his steel saber to hack at Pig. Pig was in such a rush that he had to let the horse go as he swung his rake around to hit wildly back. Meanwhile the second demon chief was thrusting with his spear at Friar Sand, who parried with his demon-quelling staff.

The three demon chiefs and the three monks were now all fighting in single combat, ready to throw away their lives. The sixteen junior devils obeyed their orders, each giving play to his talents as they grabbed hold of the white horse and the luggage and crowded round Sanzang, lifting up his chair and carrying him straight to the city.

Your Senior Majesty, please decide what to do now we've captured the Tang Priest, they shouted. All the demons of every rank on the city walls came rushing down to throw the city gates wide open. Every battalion was ordered to furl its flag, silence its drums, and on no account shout war-cries or strike gongs.

His Senior Majesty has given orders that the Tang Priest is not to be frightened. He can't endure being scared. If he is, his flesh will turn sour and be inedible. The demons were all delighted to welcome Sanzang, bowing and carrying him into the throne hall of the palace, where he was invited to sit in the place of honour. They offered him tea and food as they bustled around him in attendance. The venerable elder felt dizzy and confused as he looked about and saw no familiar faces.

If you don't know whether he was to escape with his life listen to the explanation in the next installment.

Wu Cheng-en Journey to the West (vol. 3) | Journey to the West (vol. 3) | Chapter 77