Myth-Folklore Unit: The Monkey King Sun Wu Kung

Overview. Sun Wu Kung, the "Monkey King," is one of the most famous characters in Chinese folklore and literature. In the first part of this unit (taken from Wilhelm's Chinese Fairy Book), you will read about the Monkey King's miraculous birth, his training as a magician and warrior, and then his audacious rebellion against heaven — so audacious that only the intervention of the Buddha himself is able to put a stop to Sun's antics. Then, at the end of the unit, there is a synopsis of the classic Chinese novel known in English as "The Journey to the West" (from Wikipedia and Werner's Myths and Legends of China) which provides a quick summary of Sun's later adventures, culminating in a well-earned enlightenment when Sun himself becomes a Buddha at last.

Language. This book consists of a retelling of the story of the Monkey King, not a direct translations of the ancient Chinese text, so the language used should not cause any difficulties.

Story Length. This is a single continuous story about the Monkey King, so make sure you will be able to do both parts of the reading to get the full story.

Navigation. You will find the table of contents below, and you can also use this link to see the story posts displayed on two pages total: The Monkey King. Click "Older Posts" at the bottom of that page to see the second page.

  1. Handsome King of the Apes
  2. The Great Sea
  3. Sun Wu Kung Gets His Name
  4. The Master
  5. Learning the Art
  6. Sun Wu Kung Departs
  7. The Devil-King
  8. The Dragon-King
  9. The Dragon-Queen
  10. The Nether World
  1. The Lord of the Heavens
  2. The Great Saint
  3. Notscha, Son of Li Dsing
  4. The Queen-Mother of the West
  5. Laotzse
  6. Guan Yin
  7. Yang Oerlang
  8. Buddha
  9. The Destiny of Sun Wu Kung
  10. Journey to the West (synopsis)
  11. Journey to the West (conclusion)