[Notes by LKG]
This story is part of the The Monkey King unit. Story source: "The Ape Sun Wu Kung" in The Chinese Fairy Book, ed. by R. Wilhelm and translated by Frederick H. Martens (1921).
Sun Wu Kung said: “I have now found the way to eternal life and need fear Death the Ancient no longer.” Then all the apes were overjoyed and competed with each other in bringing flowers and fruits, peaches and wine, to welcome him. And again they honored Sun Wu Kung as the Handsome Ape King.
Sun Wu Kung now gathered the apes about him and questioned them as to how they had fared during his absence.
Said they: “It is well that you have come back again, great king! Not long ago a devil came here who wanted to take possession of our cave by force. We fought with him, but he dragged away many of your children and will probably soon return.”
Sun Wu Kung grew very angry and said: “What sort of a devil is this who dares be so impudent?”
The apes answered: “He is the Devil-King of Chaos. He lives in the North, who knows how many miles away. We only saw him come and go amid clouds and mist.”
Sun Wu Kung said: “Wait, and I will see to him!” With that he turned a somersault and disappeared without a trace.
In the furthest North rises a high mountain upon whose slope is a cave above which is the inscription: “The Cave of the Kidneys.” Before the door little devils were dancing.
Sun Wu Kung called harshly to them: “Tell your Devil-King quickly that he had better give me my children back again!”
The little devils were frightened and delivered the message in the cave. Then the Devil-King reached for his sword and came out. But he was so large and broad that he could not even see Sun Wu Kung. He was clad from head to foot in black armor, and his face was as black as the bottom of a kettle.
Sun Wu Kung shouted at him: “Accursed devil, where are your eyes, that you cannot see the venerable Sun?”
Then the devil looked to the ground and saw a stone ape standing before him, bare-headed, dressed in red, with a yellow girdle and black boots. So the Devil-King laughed and said: “You are not even four feet high, less than thirty years of age, and weaponless, and yet you venture to make such a commotion.”
Said Sun Wu Kung: “I am not too small for you, and I can make myself large at will. You scorn me because I am without a weapon, but my two fists can thresh to the very skies.” With that he stooped, clenched his fists and began to give the devil a beating.
The devil was large and clumsy, but Sun Wu Kung leaped about nimbly. He struck him between the ribs, and between the wind and his blows fell ever more fast and furious. In his despair the devil raised his great knife and aimed a blow at Sun Wu Kung’s head. But the latter avoided the blow and fell back on his magic powers of transformation. He pulled out a hair, put it in his mouth, chewed it, spat it out into the air and said: “Transform yourself!” And at once it turned into many hundreds of little apes who began to attack the devil.
Sun Wu Kung, be it said, had eighty-four thousand hairs on his body, every single one of which he could transform.
The little apes with their sharp eyes, leaped around with the greatest rapidity. They surrounded the Devil-King on all sides, tore at his clothes, and pulled at his legs, until he finally measured his length on the ground. Then Sun Wu Kung stepped up, tore his knife from his hand, and put an end to him.
After that he entered the cave and released his captive children, the apes. The transformed hairs he drew to him again and, making a fire, he burned the evil cave to the ground. Then he gathered up those he had released and flew back with them like a storm-wind to his cavern on the Mountain of Flowers and Fruits, joyfully greeted by all the apes.
Next: The Dragon-King