[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).
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.”
Then the baboons said: “The water at our cave here flows into the Great Sea, to the castle of the Dragon-King of the Eastern Sea. If your magic power makes it possible, you could go to the Dragon-King and let him give you a weapon.”
This suited the Ape King. He leaped on the iron bridge and murmured an incantation. Then he flung himself into the waves, which parted before him and ran on till he came to the palace of water-crystal.
There he met a Triton who asked who he was. He mentioned his name and said: “I am the Dragon-King’s nearest neighbor, and have come to visit him.” The Triton took the message to the castle, and the Dragon-King of the Eastern Sea came out hastily to receive him. He bade him be seated and served him with tea.
Sun Wu Kung said: “I have learned the hidden knowledge and gained the powers of immortality. I have drilled my apes in the art of warfare in order to protect our mountain, but I have no weapon I can use, and have therefore come to you to borrow one.”
The Dragon-King now had General Flounder bring him a great spear. But Sun Wu Kung was not satisfied with it.
Then he ordered Field-Marshal Eel to fetch in a nine-tined fork, which weighed three thousand six hundred pounds.
But Sun Wu Kung balanced it in his hand and said: “Too light! Too light! Too light!”
Then the Dragon-King was frightened and had the heaviest weapon in his armory brought in. It weighed seven thousand two hundred pounds. But this was still too light for Sun Wu Kung.
Next: The Dragon-Queen