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

The Ape Sun Wu Kung

He came to the castle of the Lord of the Heavens, and the guardian of the gate with his steel whip was only just in time to hold him back. Then the thirty-six thunder gods were set at him, and surrounded him, though they could not seize him.

The Lord of the Heavens said: “Buddha will know what is to be done. Send for him quickly!”

So Buddha came up out of the West with Ananada and Kashiapa, his disciples. When he saw the turmoil he said: “First of all, let weapons be laid aside and lead out the Saint. I wish to speak with him!” The gods withdrew. Sun Wu Kung snorted and said: “Who are you, who dare to speak to me?” Buddha smiled and replied: “I have come out of the blessed West, Shakiamuni Amitofu. I have heard of the revolt you have raised, and am come to tame you!”

Said Sun Wu Kung: “I am the stone ape who has gained the hidden knowledge. I am master of seventy-two transformations, and will live as long as Heaven itself. What has the Lord of the Heavens accomplished that entitles him to remain eternally on his throne? Let him make way for me, and I will be satisfied!”

Buddha replied with a smile: “You are a beast which has gained magic powers. How can you expect to rule here as Lord of the Heavens? Be it known to you that the Lord of the Heavens has toiled for eons in perfecting his virtues. How many years would you have to pass before you could attain the dignity he has gained? And then I must ask you whether there is anything else you can do, aside from playing your tricks of transformation?”

Said Sun Wu Kung: “I can turn cloud somersaults. Each one carries me eighteen thousand miles ahead. Surely that is enough to entitle me to be the Lord of the Heavens?”

Buddha answered with a smile: “Let us make a wager. If you can so much as leave my hand with one of your somersaults, then I will beg the Lord of the Heavens to make way for you. But if you are not able to leave my hand, then you must yield yourself to my fetters.”

Sun Wu Kung suppressed his laughter, for he thought: “This Buddha is a crazy fellow!

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