Friday, June 20, 2014

Sun Wu Kung: Notscha, Son of Li Dsing

You will meet more Chinese celestials in this episode, including  Li Dsing (Wikipedia: Li Jing), who carries a magical pagoda, and his son Notscha (Wikipedia: Nezha).

[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).

Notscha, Son of Li Dsing

When the Lord of the Heavens learned of the flight of the ape, he ordered Li Dsing, the pagoda-bearing god, and his third son, Notscha, to take the Ape King prisoner. They sallied forth at the head of a heavenly warrior host, laid out a camp before his cave, and sent a brave warrior to challenge him to single combat. But he was easily beaten by Sun Wu Kung and obliged to flee, and Sun Wu Kung even shouted after him, laughing: “What a bag of wind! And he calls himself a heavenly warrior! I’ll not slay you. Run along quickly and send me a better man!”

When Notscha saw this he himself hurried up to do battle.

Said Sun Wu Kung to him: “To whom do you belong, little one? You must not play around here, for something might happen to you!”

But Notscha cried out in a loud voice: “Accursed ape! I am Prince Notscha and have been ordered to take you prisoner!” And with that he swung his sword in the direction of Sun Wu Kung.

“Very well,” said the latter, “I will stand here and never move.”

Then Notscha grew very angry and turned into a three-headed god with six arms, in which he held six different weapons. Thus he rushed on to the attack.

Sun Wu Kung laughed. “The little fellow knows the trick of it! But easy, wait a bit! I will change shape, too!”

And he also turned himself into a figure with three heads and with six arms, and swung three gold-clamp rods. And thus they began to fight. Their blows rained down with such rapidity that it seemed as though thousands of weapons were flying through the air. After thirty rounds the combat had not yet been decided.

Then Sun Wu Kung hit upon an idea. He secretly pulled out one of his hairs, turned it into his own shape, and let it continue the fight with Notscha. He himself, however, slipped behind Notscha, and gave him such a blow on the left arm with his rod that his knees gave way beneath him with pain, and he had to withdraw in defeat.

So Notscha told his father Li Dsing: “This devil-ape is altogether too powerful! I cannot get the better of him!” There was nothing left to do but to return to the Heavens and admit their overthrow. The Lord of the Heavens bowed his head and tried to think of some other hero whom he might send out.

Then the Evening Star once more came forward and said: “This ape is so strong and so courageous that probably not one of us here is a match for him. He revolted because the office of stablemaster appeared too lowly for him. The best thing would be to temper justice with mercy, let him have his way, and appoint him Great Saint Who Is Heaven’s Equal. It will only be necessary to give him the empty title, without combining a charge with it, and then the matter would be settled.”

The Lord of the Heavens was satisfied with this suggestion and once more sent the Evening Star to summon the new saint. When Sun Wu Kung heard that he had arrived, he said: “The old Evening Star is a good fellow!” and he had his army draw up in line to give him a festive reception. He himself donned his robes of ceremony and politely went out to meet him.

Then the Evening Star told him what had taken place in the Heavens and that he had his appointment as Great Saint Who Is Heaven’s Equal with him.

Thereupon the Great Saint laughed and said: “You also spoke in my behalf before, Old Star! And now you have again taken my part. Many thanks! Many thanks!”

Then when they appeared together in the presence of the Lord of the Heavens, the latter said: “The rank of Great Saint Who Is Heaven’s Equal is very high. But now you must not cut any further capers.”




(700 words)






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