Sun Wu Kung: Guan Yin

Guan Yin, the goddess of compassion, decides that Yang Oerlang might be able to subdue the monkey-king. You can find out more about Yang Oerland (Erlang Shen), the greatest of the celestial warriors, at Wikipedia.

[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).


Guan Yin

In the meantime the seven fairies whom the Great Saint had banned to the spot had regained their freedom after a night and a day. They picked up their baskets and told the Queen-Mother what had happened to them. And the cup-bearers, too, came hurrying up and reported the destruction which some one unknown had caused among the eatables and drinkables.

The Queen-Mother went to the Lord of the Heavens to complain. Shortly afterward, Laotzse also came to him to tell about the theft of the pills of life. And the Bare-Foot God came along and reported that he had been deceived by the Great Saint Who Is Heaven’s Equal, and from the Great Saint’s palace the servants came running and said that the Saint had disappeared and was nowhere to be found.

Then the Lord of the Heavens was frightened, and said: “This whole mess is undoubtedly the work of that devilish ape!”

Now the whole host of Heaven, together with all the star-gods, the time-gods and the mountain-gods was called out in order to catch the ape. Li Dsing once more was its commander-in-chief. He invested the entire Mountain, and spread out the sky-net and the earth-net, so that no one could escape. Then he sent his bravest heroes into battle.

Courageously the ape withstood all attacks from early morn till sundown. But by that time, his most faithful followers had been captured. That was too much for him. He pulled out a hair and turned it into thousands of Ape-Kings who all hewed about them with golden-clamped iron rods. The heavenly host was vanquished, and the ape withdrew to his cave to rest.

Now it happened that Guan Yin had also gone to the peach banquet in the garden and had found out what Sun Wu Kung had done. When she went to visit the Lord of the Heavens, Li Dsing was just coming in to report the great defeat which he had suffered on the Mountain of Flowers and Fruits.

Then Guan Yin said to the Lord of the Heavens: “I can recommend a hero to you who will surely get the better of the ape. It is your grandson Yang Oerlang. He has conquered all the beast and bird spirits and overthrown the elves in the grass and the brush. He knows what has to be done to get the better of such devils.”

So Yang Oerlang was brought in, and Li Dsing led him to his camp. Li Dsing asked Yang Oerlang how he would go about getting the better of the ape.

Yang Oerlang laughed and said: “I think I will have to go him one better when it comes to changing shapes. It would be best for you to take away the sky-net so that our combat is not disturbed.”

Then he requested Li Dsing to post himself in the upper air with the magic spirit mirror in his hand so that when the ape made himself invisible, he might be found again by means of the mirror. When all this had been arranged, Yang Oerlang went out in front of the cave with his spirits to give battle.

The ape leaped out, and when he saw the powerful hero with the three-tined sword standing before him he asked: “And who may you be?”

The other said: “I am Yang Oerlang, the grandson of the Lord of the Heavens!”

Then the ape laughed and said: “Oh yes, I remember! His daughter ran away with a certain Sir Yang, to whom heaven gave a son. You must be that son!”

Yang Oerlang grew furious and advanced upon him with his spear. Then a hot battle began. For three hundred rounds they fought without decisive results. Then Yang Oerlang turned himself into a giant with a black face and red hair.

“Not bad,” said the ape, “but I can do that too!”


(700 words)








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