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Chapter 90

By Giving and Receiving the Master and the Lion Turn into One

After Stealing the Way and Obstructing Dhyana Ninefold Numinosity Is Pacified

The story tells how the Great Sage Sun left the city with Pig and Friar Sand and looked the monsters in the face to see that they were all lions of various kinds. The Tawny Lion Spirit was leading, with Leo and Elephant-fighter Lion on his left, Gryphon and Raccoon-dog Lion on his right and Monkey Lion with Snowy Lion behind him. In the middle of them all was a nine-headed lion. The ogre Greenface was holding a canopy of brocade embroidered with flowers just behind the nine-headed lion; while Wily Freak and Freaky Wile carried a pair of red flags. They were all drawn up at a hollow place.

In his rough way Pig went up to them to shout abusively, Ogres! Thieves! Treasure-stealers! What did you go there and gang up with that hairy lot for?

To this the Tawny Lion Spirit retorted, gnashing his teeth in fury, Vicious baldies! When I was alone yesterday the three of you beat me and I had to run away. You should have done right, instead of burning my cave palace, destroying my mountain home and murdering my family. My hatred for you is as great as the ocean. Stay where you are and take this from my halberd!

The splendid Pig raised his rake to parry the blow. When the two of them had just started fighting and neither was yet coming out on top Monkey Lion joined in, swinging his spiked iron club, as did Snowy Lion with his three-edged mace.

Welcome, shouted Pig. Watch him as he charges straight forward to meet their onslaught and fight with them all. Friar Sand quickly pulled his demon-quelling staff out from where he was at the side and hurried forward to help Pig, at which Leo Spirit, Gryphon Spirit, Elephant-fighter Spirit and Raccoon-dog Spirit all piled in. The Great Sage Monkey held the evil spirits at bay with his gold-banded cudgel. Leo fought with a club, Snowy with a bronze hammer, Elephant-fighter with a steel spear and Raccoon-dog with a battleaxe.

The fight between the seven lion spirits and the three ferocious monks was a splendid one:

Club, hammer, spear, axe and three-edged mace,

Spiked club, ball-staff and four-bright halberd:

Seven lions with seven deadly weapons,

Shouting their war cries as they surround three monks.

Powerful was the Great Sage's gold-banded cudgel;

Friar Sand's staff was almost matchless in the world.

Pig moved around with the power of a whirlwind

As his flashing rake gave off baleful light.

All, displaying their might, blocked before and behind,

Held off the onslaughts with daring and courage.

From the walls of the city the prince lent support,

Where his soldiers felt braver as they beat drums and gongs.

Throwing and thrusting, all showed off their magic,

Turning heaven and earth both dark and upside-down.

After the evil spirits had been fighting the Great Sage and the two others for half a day, night fell. Pig by now was dribbling and his legs were going weak, so he feinted with his rake and fled in defeat.

Where do you think you're going? Snowy Lion and Monkey Lion shouted. Take this!

The idiot could not dodge them, and he took a heavy blow from the mace on his spine that laid him flat on the ground crying out, I'm done for, I'm done for!

The two lion spirits grabbed Pig by the bristles on his neck and by his tail and carried him over to see the nine-headed lion, Grandfather, they reported, we've caught one of them.

Before the words were out of their mouths Friar Sand and Monkey also had to fall back, beaten. When the evil spirits all came after them Monkey pulled out a handful of hairs, chewed them to pieces, spat them out, shouted, Change! and turned them into more than one hundred little Monkeys who went round and round, surrounding Snowy, Leo, Elephant-fighter, Raccoon-dog and Tawny Lion. Friar Sand and Monkey then came forward to join in the fight again. Later that night they caught Leo and Gryphon and put Raccoon-dog and Elephant-fighter to flight.

When Tawny Lion reported to the old demon that two of the lions had been lost the demon ordered, Tie Pig up but don't kill him. When they give our lions back we'll return Pig to them. If they're stupid enough to kill them we'll make Pig pay with his life. That evening all the fiends slept outside the city.

The story now turns to the Great Sage Sun, who carried the two lion spirits to beside the city wall, from where the senior prince saw him and ordered that the gates be opened. Twenty or thirty officers were sent out with rope to tie the lion spirits up and carry them into the city. The Great Sage then put his magic hairs away and went straight with Friar Sand to the wall tower, where he saw the Tang Priest.

This is a terrible business, the Tang Priest said. Is Wuneng still alive?

No problem, Brother Monkey replied. As we've captured a couple of the evil spirits they won't possibly dare harm him. Have them tied up tight. I'll swap them for Pig tomorrow morning.

The three young princes then kowtowed to Monkey and said, When you were fighting them at first you were by yourself, Teacher. Then when you pretended to run away and came back again there were over a hundred of you. How was that done? When you came back to the city wall after capturing the evil spirits there was only one of you again. What magical powers did you use to do that?

I have 84,000 hairs on my body, Monkey replied. Each of them can become ten, and the ten become a hundred, so I can do millions and millions of transformations. It's extra body magic. The princes all kowtowed as a vegetarian feast was brought to the tower for them. All along the battlements lanterns and banners were displayed. There was the sound of clappers, bells, gongs and drums as the watches were changed, arrows passed on, cannons fired and warcries shouted.

Soon it was dawn, and the old demon sent for Tawny Lion Spirit to make a plan of action: You must all use your wits to capture Sun the Novice and Friar Sand while I make a secret flight up onto the wall to capture their master, the old prince and his sons. I'll take them back to the Nine-bend Twisty Cave and wait for you to come back in triumph.

Accepting this plan, Tawny Lion took Monkey Lion, Snowy Lion, Elephant-fighter and Raccoon-dog back to beside the city wall, all carrying their weapons and demanding battle amid winds and fog.

On the other side Monkey and Friar Sand jumped on the wall, where Monkey yelled abusively at the top of his voice, Thieving damned ogres! Give me my brother Pig back this moment and I'll spare your lives. If you don't I'll smash your bones to powder and chop you all into little pieces. With no further argument the evil spirits all charged into the attack. The Great Sage and Friar Sand had to use skill and cunning to hold the five lions at bay. This fight was very different from the one on the previous day.

As an evil wind howled across the land

Black fog blotted out the sky.

Moving stones and flying sands alarmed both gods and demons;

As the trees in the forest fell the tigers and wolves were afraid.

Fierce was the spear of steel and bright the axe,

Merciless the rod, the halberd and the brazen hammer.

They wished they could swallow Monkey up whole,

And capture Friar Sand live and kicking.

The Great Sage's As-You-Will cudgel

Could attack and defend with miraculous effect.

Friar Sand's demon-quelling staff

Had won its fame outside the Hall of Miraculous Mist.

Now that it moved with its magical powers,

It would achieve glory in the West by wiping out demons.

While the five lion spirits with coats of different colours were fighting really well with Monkey and Friar Sand the old demon flew on a black cloud straight to the wall tower, where he shook his heads, which gave the military and civil officials, Sanzang, the senior prince and the soldiers guarding the wall such a fright that they all fell off. The demon then charged into the tower, opened his mouths, took Sanzang, the senior prince and his sons in them one by one, and went back to the hollow ground, where he took Pig in another mouth, one of the nine he had in his nine heads. One mouth held the Tang Priest, one Pig, one the senior prince, one his eldest son, one the second son and one the third son.

With six mouths full of six people he still had three mouths empty and wide open as he roared, I'm going back ahead. The five junior lion spirits all fought more bravely than ever now that they had seen their grandfather's triumph.

As soon as Monkey heard the yells from the wall and realized he had fallen for a trick, he gave Friar Sand a quick shout to be careful then pulled all the hairs off his arms, put them in his mouth, chewed them up and spat them out as well over a thousand little Monkeys who swarmed into the attack. They knocked Monkey Lion over, took Snowy alive, captured Elephant-fighter, laid Raccoon-dog Lion low and killed Tawny Lion; but as they returned to the city wall with a great hubbub they let Greenface, Wily Freak and Freaky Wile escape. When the officers on the wall saw what had happened they opened the gates, tied up the five lion spirits with ropes and carried them into the city.

But before they could deal with them the princess appeared, sobbing and weeping, to say, Holy teachers, His Royal Highness the prince, our sons and your master are all dead. How ever is this isolated city to survive?

Putting his magic hairs away, Monkey bowed to her and said, Don't upset yourself, Princess. It was only because I'd captured seven of his lion spirits that the old demon carried off my master, His Royal Highness and your sons with catching magic. I'm certain they'll come to no harm. My brother-disciple and I will go to his mountain first thing tomorrow morning, and I can guarantee that we'll catch the old demon and bring your four princes back to you.

When the princess and her womenfolk heard this they all bowed to Monkey and said, We pray that His Royal Highness and his sons will all be safe and that our dynasty will be secure. When their bowing was done the womenfolk all returned to the palace in tears.

Skin the Tawny Lion spirit we killed, Brother Monkey instructed the officials, and have the five who are still alive securely tied up and put under lock and key. Bring us some vegetarian food to eat before we go to sleep. Stop worrying: I promise nothing will go wrong.

The next morning the Great Sage took Friar Sand up on an auspicious cloud. Before long they were at the top of Bamboo Mountain, and as they brought their cloud down to look they saw that it was magnificent:

Rows of jutting peaks,

Sheer and craggy ridges.

In the deep gill waters gently flow;

Flowers weave a fragrant brocade before the beetling cliff,

Where the ridges twist and double back,

Encircled by the ancient winding paths.

When the crane comes the pine has a companion,

And the rock is left alone as the cloud drifts away.

The black ape heads for brightness when looking for fruit;

The deer rejoice in the warming sun as they search for flowers.

The green phoenix sings sweetly

And the golden bird's melodies never stop.

In spring the peach blossom contends with the plum;

In summer the willow and locust trees are rivals.

In autumn are carpets of chrysanthemums,

And in winter the snow flies all around.

Here there is beauty throughout the year,

Where the scenery can compare with Yingzhou's magic land.

As the two of them were standing on the mountain admiring the view Greenface suddenly appeared in a ravine between cliffs. He was holding a short cudgel. Where do you think you're going? Monkey shouted. I'm here.

This gave the young devil such a fright that he went running and tumbling down the ravine. Monkey and Friar Sand went straight after him but could find no sign of where he had gone. When they went further and searched around they found a cave palace with double gates of mottled stone that were firmly closed. Above the gates a stone tablet was set on which was written in large block letters:



Now when the junior devil ran inside the cave he had shut the gates firmly behind him. Once inside he reported to the old demon, My lord, those two monks are outside.

Have your lord, Monkey Lion, Snowy Lion, Elephant-fighter and Raccoon-dog come back yet? the old demon asked.

I haven't seen them, the junior demon replied.

There were just the two monks looking around from high up on the peak. As soon as I saw them I turned and ran. As they came after me I shut the gates.

The old demon bowed his head in silence at this news. After a while his tears began to flow as he called out, This is terrible. My grandson Tawny Lion is dead. My grandsons Monkey Lion and the rest of them have all been captured by those monks and taken into the city. How am I to get my revenge?

Pig was tied up nearby, crammed in together with the Tang Priest and the princes, terrified and miserable until he heard the old demon saying that his grandsons had been captured and taken into the city. At this he said with quiet delight, Don't be afraid, Master. Cheer up, Your Royal Highness. My elder brother has won. He's captured the whole lot of the devils and he's found his way here to rescue us.

When he had said this the old demon could be heard shouting, Little ones, guard the place well while I go out to catch those other two monks. Then we can punish them all together.

Watch him as he strides off without armor or weapons. When he heard Monkey shouting he threw the gates of the cave wide open and went straight for him, not deigning to answer. Monkey raised his iron cudgel to stop him with a blow to the head while Friar Sand swung his staff at him. As the demon shook his principal head the eight other heads to left and right of it all opened their mouths, with which they gently picked Monkey and Friar Sand up and carried them into the cave.

Fetch rope, he ordered; and Wily Freak, Freaky Wile and Greenface, who had come back after their escape the previous night, brought two ropes with which they tied the two of them up very securely. Impudent ape, said the old demon, you captured my seven grandsons. But now I've caught you four monks and the four princes I've got enough to ransom them with. Little ones, get some thorns and willow rods and beat this ape for me to avenge my grandson Tawny Lion.

The three junior devils then beat Monkey with willow rods, but Monkey's body had been so toughened that all the rods could do was to scratch his itches. He made no sound and was not in the least bothered, no matter how hard they hit him. The sight of it, however, made Pig, the Tang Priest and the princes all feel their hair standing on end. Before long the rods started to break up, but the demons kept on till evening, keeping no count of the number of strokes.

Friar Sand was most upset to see Monkey being given so long a flogging, so he said, Let me take a hundred or so for him.

Don't be so impatient, the old demon replied, you'll get your beating tomorrow. You'll all be done in turn.

That means it'll be me the day after tomorrow, said Pig with alarm. The beating continued for a while as night slowly fell.

Little ones, the old demon called, stop for now. Light the lamp and go for something to eat and drink. I'm off to my Brocade Cloud Den for a little shut-eye. You three have all had a hard time, so keep a close watch on them. We'll carry on with the beatings tomorrow. The three junior devils moved a lamp over and hit Monkey some more on the top of his head with their willow rods, tic-tic-toc, toc-toc-tic, like the rhythm of a wooden clapper, sometimes fast and sometimes slow. By then it was very late and they all fell asleep.

Monkey now used escaping magic to shrink himself, wriggled out of his bonds, shook his fur, straightened up his clothes, took the cudgel out of his ear and shook it till it was as thick as a well-bucket and about twenty feet long.

Then he said to the three junior devils, You animals, you hit me an awful lot of times, and now I'm going to return the compliment. I'll just shove this at you and see how you like it. One gentle push from the cudgels turned the three devils into three lumps of minced pork. Monkey then turned up the lamp and released Friar Sand.

Pig, who was feeling desperate about being tied up, could not stop himself from yelling at the top of his voice, My hands and feet are tied up so tight they're swollen. Why don't you come and free me?

The idiot's shout at once woke up the old demon, who rolled straight out of bed and called out, Who's setting them free? The moment Monkey heard this he blew out the lamp, smashed his way through several sets of doors with his cudgel and fled, not bothering about Friar Sand and the rest of them, while the old demon went into the main hall shouting, Little ones, why's there no light? Don't let them get away! He shouted once without getting an answer, then again, and still no answer.

When he fetched a lantern and looked all he could see were three gory lumps of minced meat on the floor. The prince, his sons, the Tang Priest and Pig were still there, but Monkey and Friar Sand had disappeared. He lit a torch, searched the front and the back and could find only Friar Sand, who was still standing pressed against the wall of a corridor. The demon knocked him down, tied him up as before, and carried on looking for Monkey. Seeing that pair after pair of his doors had been smashed down, he realized that Monkey had destroyed them in his flight. Instead of giving chase he patched up and blockaded the doors and guarded his home.

The story now tells how Monkey left the Nine-bend Twisty Cave and rode by auspicious cloud straight back to the city of Yuhua, where all the local deities and spirits as well as the god of the city could be seen bowing in mid-air to greet him.

Why have you only come to see me today? Monkey asked. When we knew that the worthy prince was entertaining you in Yuhua, Great Sage, they replied, we did not venture to greet you. But now that the princes have been captured by ogres and you have subdued those monsters we have come to welcome you with kowtows. While Monkey was abusing them the Gold-headed Protector and the Six Ding and Six Jia generals escorted a local deity in and made him kneel on the ground.

Great Sage, they said, we've arrested this ground devil.

What are you making a noise here for instead of guarding my master on Bamboo Mountain? Monkey yelled.

Great Sage, the Ding and Jia gods replied, the evil spirit caught the Curtain-raising General and tied him up again after you escaped. As we could see how great his magic powers are we've brought the local deity of Bamboo Mountain here. He knows all about that evil spirit's background, so we beg you to question him, Great Sage, and find out how best to deal with him and deliver the holy monks and worthy princes from their suffering. When Monkey heard this he was delighted.

The old demon came down to Bamboo Mountain the year before last, the local deity said, shivering and shaking as he kowtowed. The Nine-bend Twisty Cave used to be the den of six lions. Once the old demon came the six lions all took him as their grandfather. He is a nine-headed lion called the Primal Sage of Ninefold Numinosity. If you want to deal with him you must go to the Wonderful Crag Palace in the uttermost East and fetch his master here to subdue him. Nobody else can possibly do it.

When Monkey heard this he thought for a long time before saying, The Wonderful Crag Palace in the uttermost East is where the Heavenly Honoured Saviour of the Great Monad lives. Yes, he does have just such a nine-headed lion under his throne. Protector, Jias, he ordered, go back with the local deity and keep a secret watch on the master, my brother disciple, the prince of the city and his sons. The city god must guard the wall and moat. Off you go. The gods all took up guard as instructed.

The Great Sage set off his somersault cloud and traveled through the night till it was about the last watch, when he reached the Eastern Gate of Heaven, where he ran into the Heavenly King Virupaksa with his retinue of heavenly soldiers and warriors, who stopped, put their hands together in greeting and asked, Where are you going, Great Sage?

I'm off to the Wonderful Crag Palace, Monkey replied when he had returned their greetings. Why have you come to the Eastern Heaven instead of following your road to the Western Heaven? Virupaksa asked. When we reached the city of Yuhua, Monkey replied, the prince of the city entertained us and told his three sons to take us as their teachers of martial arts. We had a most unpleasant surprise: coming up against a gang of lion monsters. Now I'm going to ask the Heavenly Honoured Saviour of the Great Monad, the chief monster's owner, to subdue him and save my master.

It was because you wanted to be a teacher that you provoked that trouble with the lions, said the heavenly king. How true, replied Monkey with a smile, how true. The heavenly soldiers and warriors all raised joined hands in greeting then stood aside to let him pass. Monkey went in through the Eastern Gate of Heaven and was soon at the Wonderful Crag Palace. This is what could be seen:

Coloured clouds behind coloured clouds,

Purple mists and rich, green vegetation.

The roof-tiles are a surge of golden flame,

And at the gates are imposing beasts of jade.

Flowers grow between gate towers, round which red mists drift;

The sun shines on turquoise vapors rising from the woods.

All the immortals pay their respects,

And a thousand sages make everything flourish.

The halls of the palace are like layers of brocade;

Windows and pavilions open on all sides.

Azure dragons glow with sacred clouds;

Golden beams of brilliant light come from the magic mists.

This is a land of splendor and eternal joy,

The Wonderful Crag Palace in the uttermost East.

There was an immortal boy wearing a rainbow mantle standing at the palace gates, and as soon as he noticed the Great Sage he went in to report, My lord, the Great Sage Equaling Heaven who made havoc in Heaven is here. When the Heavenly Honoured Saviour of the Great Monad heard this he ordered all the immortals in attendance on him to go out to welcome Monkey and bring him into the palace. Here the Heavenly Honoured One was sitting on a nine-coloured lotus throne amid countless rays of auspicious light, and when he saw Monkey he came down from his throne to greet him while Monkey bowed to him from below.

Great Sage, the Heavenly Honoured One said, returning his bow, I haven't seen you for years, but I did hear that you have abandoned the Way for Buddhism and are escorting the Tang Priest to fetch the scriptures from the Western Heaven. I presume that you have now succeeded.

Not yet, Monkey replied, but near enough. I have escorted the Tang Priest as far as Yuhua, where the prince told his three sons to take me and the other two as their teachers of martial arts and had copies of our three magic weapons made. The weapons were, to our surprise, stolen one night. When I searched for them the next day I found that they had been stolen by a spirit turned by a golden-haired lion from Tigermouth Cave on Mount Leopard Head. I tricked them back from him by cunning, whereupon the spirit ganged up with some other lion spirits to give me a tremendous fight. One of them is a nine-headed lion with enormous magic powers who carried my master, Pig, the prince and his three sons to the Ninebend Twisty Cave on Mount Bamboo. When Friar Sand and I went to look for them the next day we were carried off too. He had me tied up and hit so often I lost count. Luckily I was able to make my get-away by magic, but they're still suffering there. When I questioned the local deity I found out that you were his master, Heavenly Honoured One, which is why I'm here to ask you to subdue the lion and rescue them.

As soon as the Heavenly Honoured One heard this he sent his immortal officers to the lion house to call out his lionkeeper slave and question him. The lionkeeper slave was sleeping so deeply that the officers had to push and shake him before they could wake him up and drag him into the main hall. Here the Heavenly Honoured One asked him, Where is the lion?

All the slave could do was to kowtow with tears streaming down his face, pleading, Spare me, spare me.

The Great Sage Sun is here, the Heavenly Honoured One replied, so I won't have you beaten just yet. You must explain this instant your carelessness in letting the nine-headed lion escape.

My lord, the lionkeeper replied, I stole and drank a jug of wine I saw in the Sweet Dew Palace of the Great Chiliocosm. Before I realized what had happened I was dead drunk. It must have slipped its chains and got away.

That wine was given me by Lord Lao Zi of the Supreme Ultimate, the Heavenly Honoured One replied. It's called Cyclical Nectar, and after drinking that you would have slept for three days. How many days has the lion been gone?

What the local deity said was that he went down there the year before last, which would mean two years or more, the Great Sage said.

That's right, the Heavenly Honoured One said with a smile, A day in the palaces of Heaven is a year in the mortal world. Get up, he said to the lion-tamer. I'll spare your life. Come down to the lower world with the Great Sage and me to recapture him. You immortals can all go back. None of you need come with us.

The Heavenly Honoured One, the lion-keeper slave and the Great Sage all went by cloud straight to Bamboo Mountain, where the Protectors of the Four Quarters and the Centre, the Six Dings, the Six Jias and the local deity of the mountain all knelt to greet them.

Has my master been harmed while you people have been protecting him? Brother Monkey asked.

The evil spirit was so angry that he went to sleep, the gods replied. He didn't torture them any more.

That Primal Sage of mine is a true soul who has long cultivated the Way, the Heavenly Honoured One remarked. A single call from him will go up to the Three Sages and down to the Underworld. He wouldn't kill anyone lightly. Great Sage Sun, go to his gates, challenge him to battle and draw him outside for us to catch.

As soon as Monkey heard this he sprang towards the mouth of the cave, brandishing his cudgel and shouting loudly and abusively, Damned evil spirit, give me my people back! Damned evil spirit, give me my people back! He shouted several times, but the old demon was fast asleep and nobody answered. Monkey lost his patience, swung his cudgel and smashed his way inside, still cursing.

Only then did the old demon wake up, rise to his feet and yell with great fury, I'm coming for you! He shook his heads and opened his jaws to pick Monkey up.

As Monkey turned and fled the evil spirit chased after him till they were outside the cave, shouting, Where do you think you're going, you thieving ape?

How dare you go on behaving so dreadfully! said Monkey with a grin from where he was standing on the top of a high cliff. You haven't even got the sense to realize that your life's at stake. Don't you see your master's here?

By the time the evil spirit reached the cliff in pursuit of Monkey the Heavenly Honoured One had said a spell and shouted, I'm here, my little Primal Sage. Recognizing his master, the monster gave up the struggle and lay down with all four feet on the ground, kowtowing.

The lionkeeper then ran over to him, took hold of his mane, and punched him hundreds of times on the neck, saying abusively, Why did you run away, animal? You got me into terrible trouble. The lion kept his mouths shut and said nothing, not daring to move, and the lionkeeper only stopped hitting him when his fist was tired out. When a brocade saddlecloth had been put on the animal's back the Heavenly Honoured One mounted and shouted to it to go. They then rose up on coloured clouds and went straight back to the Wonderful Crag Palace.

After addressing his thanks skywards the Great Sage went into the cave and freed first the prince of Yuhua, then Sanzang, then Pig, Friar Sand and the three young princes. After this they made a leisurely search of the cave and led everyone outside. Pig then fetched some dry brushwood, piled it at the front and the back, and started a fire that left the Nine-bend Twisty Cave looking like a ruined, burnt-out kiln. Monkey released all the gods, ordered the local deity to keep guard on it, and told Pig and Friar Sand to use their magic to carry the four princes back to the city while he helped the Tang Priest along. They were soon back at the city, where the princess and the officials all came out to greet them. It was now getting dark, and a vegetarian feast was provided for everyone to enjoy. The venerable elder and his disciples slept in the Gauze Pavilion once more, and the princes in the living quarters of the palace. Of that night no more need be said.

The next day the prince issued an order for another great vegetarian banquet to be laid on. Each of the officials high and low in the palace expressed his gratitude, and Monkey asked for butchers to slaughter the six lions who were still alive, skin them like the tawny lion, and prepare their meat to be eaten. The prince, who was delighted with this proposal, gave the order for them to be killed. One animal was kept for the inside and outside palace staff, one was given to the chief administrator and the other officials in the palace, and the flesh of the other five was cut into lumps weighing one or two ounces that officers distributed among the soldiers and civilians inside and outside the city wall so that they could all eat a little. Thus the people could both try the taste and overcome their fear. Every single household was most impressed.

By now the smiths had made the three weapons and were kowtowing to Monkey, saying, My lord, we have finished our work.

How heavy are they? Monkey asked.

The gold-banded cudgel weighs a thousand pounds, the smiths replied, and the nine-toothed rake and the demon-quelling staff each eight hundred pounds.

That'll do, said Monkey, who then had the three princes asked to come out. As each took his weapon they said to the senior prince, Your Royal Highness, our weapons have now been finished.

They almost cost both your father and yourselves their lives, the senior prince replied. Thanks to our divine teachers' powers, the young princes said, we were all saved and the evil spirits have been wiped out. We'll have no trouble from them in future. Now this really is a world at peace with calm seas and rivers running clear. The four princes then rewarded the smiths and went to the Gauze Pavilion to thank the teachers.

Sanzang told the Great Sage and the other two to pass on some more martial skills quickly so as not to delay their journey. The three of them all swung their weapons in the palace yard as they taught the secrets one by one. Within a few days the three young princes were all skilled performers. They also mastered all the seventy-two routines of attack, retreat and fast and slow fighting. This was firstly because the princes were all thoroughly determined, and secondly because the Great Sage Sun had given them the divine strength beforehand that enabled them to lift and move the thousand-pound cudgel and the eight-hundred-pound rake and staff. There was all the difference in the world between their present skills and those they had had before, and there is a poem that goes:

When they celebrated their fortune in finding divine teachers

They never expected their studies to alert a lion spirit.

With evil destroyed the country was at peace;

The frontier was settled as all were devoted to the one

Entity. Ninefold Numinosity's powers lasted through their many clashes

Till the Way was achieved with all-round expertise.

The brilliant teaching would be passed on for ever,

And Yuhua know eternal peace and joy.

The prince then gave another great banquet to thank the three teachers, and a huge dish of gold and silver was brought out as a reward. Take it straight back inside, Monkey said with a smile, take it straight back. We're monks, and that's no use to us.

We really can't take gold or silver, put in Pig who was standing beside him, but the lion spirits tore our clothes to ribbons. If you could give us a change of clothing that would be very kind of you. The prince ordered his tailors to fetch some bolts of blue, red and brown brocade and make each of them a garment after the style and colours of their old ones. The three of them were delighted to accept and put on their new brocade tunics, after which they packed up the luggage and set off on their way again. Everyone inside and outside the city, whether young or old, exclaimed that they were arhats and living Buddhas come down to earth. Crowds packed the streets to the sound of drums and music, and banners flew overhead. Indeed:

From the gate of every family the incense smoke arose;

At every household's door coloured lanterns hung in rows.

The people only went back after seeing them for a long way along their journey. Only then did the four travelers manage to leave the city and head West. By leaving they shook off all thought and immersed their hearts in the True Achievement. Indeed:

Free from thought and worry, the Buddha's land they seek,

Going faithfully, sincerely, towards the Vulture Peak.

If you do not know how much further the journey was to be or when it was to end, listen to the explanation in the next installment.

Chapter 89 | Journey to the West (vol. 3) | Chapter 91