Monkey King by Wu Cheng'en

Monkey King by Wu Cheng'en

Author:Wu Cheng'en [Cheng'en, Wu]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Published: 2021-02-09T00:00:00+00:00

Chapter Nineteen

After a series of remarkable events—Pigsy falling into the Buddha’s honey-trap; a piqued Monkey demolishing a holy tree laden with magical fruits resembling newborn babies; Pigsy, Tripitaka, and Sandy being lacquered; and Monkey being fried by the outraged keeper of the tree—the team of disciples made peace with the immortal horticulturalist in question, restored themselves with plenty of ginseng and cinnabar, and set off once more for the west.

Soon they came to another tall mountain. “The way ahead is steep and treacherous,” observed Tripitaka, “I fear the horse will slip. Take care, all of you.”

“Don’t worry, Master!” cheered Monkey. Our hero led the way, opening a path onto a high ridge. Before them lay yet another mountain range running with streams, tigers, wolves, deer, foxes, rabbits, and a thousand-foot python and a one-hundred-thousand-foot hydra, both of whom busily belched horrendous miasma. Just as Tripitaka was beginning to whimper, Monkey waved his staff and all the wild beasts scattered like so many rodents.

Onward they journeyed to the summit, at which moment Tripitaka chose to say: “I’ve not had anything to eat all day. Go and beg me some food.”

“Did you walk up here with your eyes shut?” Monkey responded affably. “This mountain is completely uninhabited. Even if we had money to spend, there’d be no one to sell us food.”

Tripitaka now turned petulant. “Are you forgetting who rescued you from that stone casket beneath the Mountain of Two Frontiers? You owe me, Monkey! Get me something to eat before this pestilential mountain finishes me off.”

“All right, all right,” said Monkey. “I know how ticklish you are—one step out of line and you start that head-squeezing spell. Rest a while and I’ll go and forage.”

Leaping onto the clouds, Monkey inspected the pilgrims’ surroundings. The area was densely forested but, as he had said, uninhabited. The only glimmer of possibility was a patch of pinkish-red dots on a mountain due south. “There may be some mountain peaches to be had,” Monkey reported back. “I’ll go and pick them.”

“Peaches!” enthused Tripitaka. “It’s not often a Buddhist monk gets to eat peaches!” And off Monkey hurtled with the begging bowl.

But as the saying goes: a large mountain must have a monster—and this one was no exception. Monkey’s departure aroused the fiend in question. Traveling on dark winds, she spotted—from the edge of the clouds—Tripitaka seated on the ground. “What luck! What luck!” she rejoiced. “My family has been talking for years about a monk from the east traveling west to fetch scriptures. This monk has cultivated himself through ten pure existences. His flesh has powerful life-prolonging properties. And here he is, on my mountain!” But the covetous monster dared not approach while Tripitaka was guarded by the formidable-looking Pigsy and Sandy, who after all had once worked for the Jade Emperor. “I’ll play a good joke on them,” said the monster to herself.

In a mountain hollow, this virtuoso fiend transformed herself into a ravishingly beautiful girl—bright eyes, red lips, white teeth, moonlike visage, delicate hands, tiny feet—wearing an emerald silk dress.


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