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Main > Chinese folktales > Fairy tale "The Ape Sun Wu Kung"

The Ape Sun Wu Kung

After Sun Wu Kung had obtained possession of the Devil-King’s great knife, he exercised his apes every day. They had wooden swords and lances of bamboo, and played their martial music on reed pipes. He had them build a camp so that they would be prepared for all dangers. Suddenly the thought came to Sun Wu Kung: “If we go on this way, perhaps we may incite some human or animal king to fight with us, and then we would not be able to withstand him with our wooden swords and bamboo lances!” And to his apes he said: “What should be done?” Four baboons stepped forward and said: “In the capital city of the Aulai empire there are warriors without number. And there coppersmiths and steelsmiths are also to be found. How would it be if we were to buy steel and iron and have those smiths weld weapons for us?”

A somersault and Sun Wu Kung was standing before the city moat. Said he to himself: “To first buy the weapons would take a great deal of time. I would rather make magic and take some.” So he blew on the ground. Then a tremendous storm-wind arose which drove sand and stones before it, and caused all the soldiers in the city to run away in terror. Then Sun Wu Kung went to the armory, pulled out one of his hairs, turned it into thousands of little apes, cleared out the whole supply of weapons, and flew back home on a cloud.

Then he gathered his people about him and counted them. In all they numbered seventy-seven thousand. They held the whole Mountain in terror, and all the magic beasts and spirit princes who dwelt on it. And these came forth from seventy-two caves and honored Sun Wu Kung as their head.

One day the Ape King said: “Now you all have weapons; but this knife which I took from the Devil-King is too light, and no longer suits me. What should be done?”

Then the four baboons stepped forward and said: “In view of your spirit powers, O king, you will find no weapon fit for your use on all the earth! Is it possible for you to walk through the water?”

The Ape King answered: “All the elements are subject to me and there is no place where I cannot go.

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