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

The Ape Sun Wu Kung

His hand is not a foot long; how could I help but leap out of it?” So he opened his mouth wide and said: “Agreed!”

Buddha then stretched out his right hand. It resembled a small lotus-leaf. Sun Wu Kung leaped up into it with one bound. Then he said: “Go!” And with that he turned one somersault after another, so that he flew along like a whirlwind. And while he was flying along he saw five tall, reddish columns towering to the skies. Then he thought: “That is the end of the world! Now I will turn back and become Lord of the Heavens. But first I will write down my name to prove that I was there.” He pulled out a hair, turned it into a brush, and wrote with great letters on the middle column: “The Great Saint Who Is Heaven’s Equal.” Then he turned his somersaults again until he had reached the place whence he had come. He leaped down from the Buddha’s hand laughing and cried: “Now hurry, and see to it that the Lord of the Heavens clears his heavenly castle for me! I have been at the end of the world and have left a sign there!”

Buddha scolded: “Infamous ape! How dare you claim that you have left my hand? Take a look and see whether or not ‘The Great Saint Who Is Heaven’s Equal,’ is written on my middle finger!”

Sun Wu Kung was terribly frightened, for at the first glance he saw that this was the truth. Yet outwardly he pretended that he was not convinced, said he would take another look, and tried to make use of the opportunity to escape. But Buddha covered him with his hand, shoved him out of the gate of Heaven, and formed a mountain of water, fire, wood, earth and metal, which he softly set down on him to hold him fast. A magic incantation pasted on the mountain prevented his escape.

Here he was obliged to lie for hundreds of years, until he finally reformed and was released, in order to help the Monk of the Yangtze-kiang fetch the holy writings from out of the West. He honored the Monk as his master, and thenceforward was known as the Wanderer. Guan Yin, who had released him, gave the Monk a golden circlet.

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