فصل 04

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فصل 04

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CHAPTER FOUR

A Dead King and a Competition

Then Manjusri said a spell, the magician returned to his tiger shape, and the God rode him away over the clouds.

Tripitaka sat in the Great Hall of the Wood Temple reciting the True Scriptures. It was midnight and he was tired. Soon he lay across his reading desk and slept. Although his eyes were closed, he seemed to know what was happening. He heard a voice outside the Hall whispering ‘Master.’

Tripitaka lifted his head. In his dream he saw a man who was wet from head to foot. When he looked more closely, he saw that the man was a king. The King told Tripitaka his story: ‘Five years ago, the rain stopped falling, the grass stopped growing and all my people were dying of hunger. I prayed to the Gods, but still the rivers were empty. But then a magician came who could call the wind and the rain. I asked him to pray for rain and he did. The rain came pouring down. For the next two years I was very kind to this magician. Then, in spring, when the two of us were walking by the great water hole in my palace, I suddenly saw a white light and he pushed me into the hole. He covered the top of it and then made a tree grow over it. Pity me! I have been dead for three years and nobody knows.’

Tripitaka was white with fear, but at last he said, ‘Why did nobody look for you?’

‘Ah, with his great power the magician transformed himself into a man who looked like me. Now he is the king of my people. But the Night Spirit blew me to you and gave me hope with talk of a great Monkey King who can kill demons with his cudgel.’

‘But everybody in your country thinks that the magician is you. My follower would be attacked if he tried to help,’ said Tripitaka.

‘I have a son, the Prince, who spends most of his time in the Palace of Golden Bells. He is not allowed to see his mother, the Queen, because she might say something. He knows nothing about his true father except that I had this piece of white jade.’

‘But how can a poor priest like me get to the Palace of Golden Bells?’

‘Tomorrow my son will hunt with three thousand followers, and when you give him the jade he will know what to do. But now I must tell my Queen everything in a dream.’

As he turned to go, the dead king hit his head on the floor and Tripitaka woke up. ‘Followers!’ he called. ‘Where are my followers?’

‘Now what?’ said Pigsy. ‘I was happier with my old life, although the food was bad. Now I am woken up in the middle of the night to look after a priest.’

‘I had a strange dream,’ said Tripitaka, uncertainly.

Monkey then came in and said, ‘Master, your dreams come from your waking thoughts because you worry all the time. I think only of seeing Buddha in the West, and no dream comes near me.’

But Tripitaka made Monkey listen to the dead king’s story.

‘Say no more,’ said Monkey. ‘This is work for me!’

‘The King left this,’ said Tripitaka, remembering, and he gave Monkey the piece of jade.

Dear Monkey! He pulled a hair from his tail, blew on it, and said a magic spell. When a beautiful small box appeared, he put the piece of jade in it.

‘In the early morning,’ he told Tripitaka, ‘read the Scriptures in the Great Hall. I shall transform myself into a little priest, five centimetres high, and I shall jump into the box with the jade. When the Prince opens the box, I shall jump out, show him the jade and tell him the dream.’

Both the follower and his teacher were too excited to sleep that night. At last, the first light of morning came in the East. After giving whispered orders to Pigsy and Sandy to wait quietly for him, Monkey leapt into the air and flew.

At once, his red eyes found a walled city to the West. The sadness of its people hung in clouds over the city. But as Monkey was watching this sad sight, the gates opened and the huntsmen came out. It was clear from his fine clothes which huntsman was the Prince.

‘Let me play a trick on him,’ said Monkey to himself.

Dear Monkey! Coming down from his cloud, he transformed himself into a small woodland animal and ran in front of the Prince’s horse. The Prince chased it and the huntsmen followed the Prince. Soon, Monkey had led all of them to the Wood Temple.

‘Of course, I have known of this place,’ said the Prince, ‘although I have never visited it. I will go in.’

As the Prince and his followers went into the Great Hall, everybody welcomed him and bowed, except Tripitaka. The angry Prince told his followers to take the priest and tie him up. But Monkey, now five centimetres high and in the box, told the Gods to protect Tripitaka, so the huntsmen could not touch him.

‘What magic are you using,’ asked the Prince, ‘to protect yourself?’

‘I have no magic,’ replied Tripitaka. ‘I am only a priest from China, on the way to India to fetch the Scriptures. But in this box there is someone who knows something very important.’

As he spoke, Tripitaka opened the box and out leapt a very small Monkey.

The Prince laughed and said, ‘What can that little creature know!’

But Monkey, to the great surprise of everybody, used his magic to return to his full size. ‘Prince,’ he said, ‘please listen to me. Five years ago your country had no food because no rain fell, but then a magician came and he brought rain. Is this true?’

‘Yes, yes, yes. Go on!’

‘And what happened to the magician?’

‘Three years ago, when he and my father were walking in the garden, a magic wind blew a piece of jade out of the King’s hand and the magician went back to his mountains with it. But the King, my father, still misses the magician and he has locked the garden.’

Monkey laughed, but he asked the huntsmen to move away so he could speak privately to the Prince. ‘Sir, it was your father who disappeared. The man in the palace is the magician who brought rain.’

‘That is not true!’ said the Prince.

‘Here is the piece of jade,’ said Monkey.

‘You stole the jade!’ shouted the Prince to the priest. ‘Take him away!’

Tripitaka shouted fearfully to Monkey, ‘Oh Monkey, you fool. What have you done?’

‘Wait!’ cried Monkey. ‘I am the Monkey King and a follower of Tripitaka. Last night in this temple your father came to my Master in a dream. He told him that the magician had pushed him into a great water hole in the palace and changed into a man who looked like him. He could then pretend to be the king.

I changed into a hunted animal to lead you here because I wanted to tell you this. Will you believe my story or not?’ The young Prince did not know what to believe. ‘Ride home,’ suggested Monkey. ‘Take this piece of jade with you and ask your mother, the Queen, if the present king is her husband.’

The young Prince agreed and went back to the palace. He found his mother, the Queen, still worried about a dream she had had the night before.

‘Mother,’ said the Prince, ‘forgive my words before I speak them. Compare your life with my father in the last three years with the years before that, and tell me if his love is as warm today.’

In answer the Queen recited:

‘Three years ago something warm and kind. These last three years has been as cold as ice.’

The Prince told his mother everything that he had heard that day. Then he showed her the piece of jade.

‘Oh, my son,’ said the Queen, ‘when you came I was crying because of a dream I had last night. I dreamt I saw your father. His head was under water and he was dead. But his soul had visited a priest of T’ang and asked him to destroy the magician. He also asked him to save his own body from where it had been thrown. Go quickly and ask that priest to help us.’

The young prince ran out, jumped on his horse, rode back to the Wood Temple and asked the pilgrims to find his father. So the next night Monkey and Pigsy were at the gates of the locked Flower Garden. But Monkey had told Pigsy that there was gold at the bottom of the water hole. He had said nothing about the dead king.

Pigsy brought his fork down on the lock of the gates and broke it. Inside the garden, Monkey could not stop himself jumping and shouting happily.

‘Brother,’ said Pigsy, ‘you will ruin us, making all that noise!’

‘Why are you trying to make me nervous?’ said Monkey.

They found the tree that the magician had planted on top of the hole. ‘Now, Pigsy, the gold is hidden under this tree,’ said Monkey.

At once, the fool Pigsy hit the tree with his fork until it fell down. Then he used his nose to dig under it until, about a metre down, he found a big stone. ‘Brother!’ he cried. ‘This is luck. The gold will be under this.’

Pigsy used his nose again and lifted the big stone. Below it something was shining. ‘That is the gold!’ cried Pigsy. But looking closer, they saw it was the light of the stars and the moon in the water.

Monkey made his cudgel grow until it was ten metres long, and Pigsy climbed down it. When he was in the water, he began to swim. Monkey called down to him, ‘The gold is at the bottom.’

So Pigsy dived down and, opening his eyes again, saw a door with a sign on it that said The Palace at the Bottom of the Water Hole. Pigsy went in and a servant called out, ‘Great King, something awful has happened - a priest with a long nose has come in.

The Dragon King of the Water Hole was not surprised. ‘That must be Pigsy,’ he explained. ‘He has come with the Monkey King to find the dishonest magician. Please come in and sit down,’ he called to Pigsy.

Pigsy, happy and wet, sat in the best seat and asked, ‘Where is the gold?’

‘I am sorry,’ said the Dragon King, ‘but I live down here in this hole and never see the sky above. Where would I get gold from?’

‘Oh, please!’ said Pigsy. ‘I know it is here somewhere, so you had better bring it out.’

‘I have one thing that is of value. You can look,’ said the Dragon King. He led Pigsy to the body of the dead king. Pigsy went back up to Monkey. Monkey told him that the body was better than gold. So Pigsy dived back down again and brought the body up.

Monkey looked closely at the body, which had been dead for three years. He asked Pigsy, ‘After three years, how can it still look so fresh?’

‘The Dragon King used a magic stone to keep it like that,’ Pigsy answered. ‘That was a bit of luck,’ said Monkey. ‘But we must still get his enemy and make him pay for this terrible murder. And we will be thanked for our good work. Quickly, Pigsy, carry the King away.’

‘Where to?’ asked Pigsy.

‘To the temple,’ said Monkey, ‘to show him to Tripitaka.’

‘What an idea!’ Pigsy complained to himself. ‘I was tricked into doing this job. I do not want to carry this dead body.’

‘Hurry, Pigsy,’ said Monkey impatiently.

‘I am not going to carry it,’ said Pigsy.

‘If you do not want to be beaten, you will carry it away now,’ said Monkey.

Pigsy feared the cudgel, so he lifted up the dead body and put it on his back.

‘This Monkey,’ he said to himself, ‘has played a dirty trick on me, but he will be sorry. When we get back to the temple, I will tell Tripitaka that Monkey can bring the dead to life. Monkey will say that he cannot. And I will tell Tripitaka to recite the spell. Monkey’s head will hurt, but I will not be happy until his brains shoot out of his head.’

They took the body back to the temple and showed it to Tripitaka. He told Monkey to bring it back to life.

‘Only Yama, King of Death, can do that,’ said Monkey.

‘Don’t believe him!’ cried Pigsy. ‘Just tighten that cap on his head.’

Poor Monkey! He was soon holding his head in great pain as Tripitaka recited the spell. The cap became tighter and tighter.

‘But Master,’ said Monkey, ‘what will happen if I fail?’

‘If someone puts a good breath into him, he will be himself again, even after three years under water,’ said Tripitaka.

Pigsy at once offered his breath, but Tripitaka knew that it was not pure. Pigsy had eaten the bodies of humans. So he asked for Monkey, whose food had been only apples and food from the forest. Monkey blew hard into the King’s mouth and his soul returned.

Then they all went back to the city to find the magician who had taken the appearance of the King. When they were led to him, they refused to bow.

‘And who are you?’ asked the false king, surprised.

‘My Master,’ said Monkey, ‘is called Tripitaka and he is like a younger brother to the Emperor of China. I am his main follower.’ Then he told the false king about Pigsy and Sandy, but he introduced the true king as a temple servant.

The false king wanted to know more about this ‘temple servant’. He looked at the true king, who was afraid of him, but Monkey whispered, ‘It is all right! I will speak for you.’

Dear Monkey! He stepped forwards and cried to the magician in a loud, clear voice. ‘Oh, King, this old man has had some hard times in his life. Five years ago, disaster came to his family when Heaven sent no rain and people died because there was no water. Then from the mountains came a magician who helped the people. But he then destroyed this man’s life. He pushed him into a great water hole in the palace and became a false king of the people. But I have returned life to the dead man and he should be king again - not this magician.’

The magician felt fear deep in his heart. Taking a sword from a soldier, he jumped on a cloud and disappeared.

Both Sandy and Pigsy were very angry. ‘Now we will never be able to find him,’ they shouted.

Dear Monkey! Telling Pigsy and Sandy to take good care of the Prince, the King, his ministers, the Queen and Tripitaka, he suddenly leapt into the clouds. Looking down, he saw the magician running to the North-east. He shouted, ‘Where do you think you are going? Monkey has come!’

‘Keep out of my way,’ shouted the magician.

Monkey fought a terrible fight with his cudgel against the magician and his sword, but suddenly the magician escaped back to the city. He transformed himself into someone who looked like Tripitaka. Monkey followed him but did not dare use his cudgel.

‘Which is the real Tripitaka?’ he shouted to Pigsy and Sandy.

‘We do not know,’ they answered. ‘We have no idea.’

‘Master, recite your spell,’ called Monkey.

The real Tripitaka at once recited. Pigsy lifted up his fork as the magician flew up into the air. Dear Pigsy! He chased the magician, with Sandy and Monkey close behind him.

What a fight there was then, with three wild priests hitting and kicking at one terrible ugly creature again and again. In the end, Monkey leapt above the creature, and he was going to cut him in half with his cudgel when a voice said, ‘Monkey, stop the fight.’

It was the God Manjusri. He had come down from Heaven with a magic mirror which showed demons in their true form.

‘But I do not understand,’ said Monkey. ‘In this mirror, the magician is a tiger.’

‘Yes,’ said Manjusri. ‘As a magician, he was acting under Buddha’s orders.’

‘What!’ cried Monkey. ‘The magician is protected by Buddha! How can that be?’

‘Let me explain,’ said Manjusri. ‘In the beginning, the true king pleased Buddha so much that he sent me to fetch him to the Western Heaven. But I said something to the King that offended him. He told his soldiers to throw me into the river. Then Buddha sent this magician to throw the King into the water hole for three years. But now, with your help, he has been forgiven.’

‘Yes, but the people of the city?’ asked Monkey.

‘Nothing has happened to them. During these three years, rain has fallen and there has been peace.’

‘And the Queen, who has slept with him as his wife?’

‘He has not been a husband to her,’ was the answer. ‘He is not a whole man.’

‘Then take him away,’ said Monkey. ‘He can thank you for saving him.’ Manjusri said a spell, the magician returned to his tiger shape, and the God rode him away over the clouds.

As the pilgrims travelled further on their journey to the West, they heard a noise that sounded like a thousand voices.

Dear Monkey! He leapt high into the clouds, looked down, and at a little distance he saw a hill outside a city. There, a great crowd of Buddhist priests were carrying bricks and wood for building. They were hot and tired and crying out to the God of Power to give them strength.

‘They are going to build a temple,’ thought Monkey. But suddenly the gates of the city opened and two Taoist priests came out. Monkey saw at once that the Buddhists were afraid of them. He thought, ‘This must be the city I have heard about. The religion of Buddha has been destroyed here.’

Monkey transformed himself into a Taoist magician, walked towards the two young Taoist priests and bowed low.

‘Can a poor Taoist find food in this city?’

‘Oh, yes,’ said the priests. ‘Even the King is pleased to give food to Taoists. Twenty years ago there was not enough food in this place and it was saved by three Taoist Immortals who came out of the sky. They can bring wind or rain or turn stones into gold.’

‘Your king is lucky to have these Immortals here. I would like to meet him.’

‘That is no problem,’ said the priests. ‘But first we must count those Buddhists and check that they are working well.’

‘But they are priests, like us! We should not make them work.’

‘Well, when we had no food, the Buddhists prayed to Buddha with no success at all. We Taoists prayed to our gods and we were successful. So they are not really priests and we should really destroy their temples. But now they work for us as builders and cleaners.’

‘Then I cannot meet your masters,’ Monkey said, ‘because I am looking for an uncle who became a Buddhist priest.’

‘That is no problem,’ they replied. ‘Take our list and check while we wait here. See if your uncle is among our priests.’

As Monkey walked towards the priests with the list, they all went down on their knees in front of him.

‘Please don’t harm us, Father!’ they said. ‘We have all worked hard and we have never been ill or missed work.’

Monkey told them to get up. He said that they did not need to fear him - he was only looking for his uncle.

Hearing this, they all crowded near him. ‘Which of us do you want?’ they asked.

Monkey laughed. ‘You are priests!’ he said. ‘Why do you work as servants instead of reading the Scriptures?’

‘Ah, don’t laugh at us,’ cried the priests. ‘Our King has chosen other masters and we do what they tell us. The three Immortals are very powerful and can perform a lot of magic. Now they are using magic to keep the King young. That is why he obeys them.’

‘Why do you not run away?’ asked Monkey.

‘There are pictures of us in every part of the country and there are police everywhere. Many of us have taken our own lives. But the spirits tell us that one day a pilgrim will come and with him is a follower called the Monkey King. He will use his great powers to right wrongs, and he will free us.’

Monkey went back to the two Taoist priests. They asked him if he had found his relative.

‘They are all relatives of mine,’ replied Monkey. ‘Two hundred on my father’s side and three hundred on my mother’s. I would like you to free them.’

‘We cannot do that!’ said the priests. ‘One or two of them can stop work if they are ill, but all of them? Impossible! You must be mad!’

‘Really?’ said Monkey and, taking his cudgel, he killed them where they stood.

The Buddhists came running. ‘Oh, what have you done!’ they said. ‘The people will say that we killed the priests! You must come to the King at once and explain that you are responsible.’

‘I am not what you think I am,’ said Monkey. ‘I am the one who has come to free you.’

‘But you are a murderer!’ said the Buddhist priests. ‘The spirits described the one who will free us. He has a flat head, bright red eyes, a hairy face and no chin.’

Monkey transformed himself back from a Taoist priest into himself, and the Buddhists bowed in front of him.

‘Now go away from here!’ cried Monkey. ‘But first I shall give you some protecting magic.’

Dear Monkey! He pulled out a handful of his hairs, bit them into pieces and gave a small piece to each of the Buddhists.

‘Put this behind your ear. If you are in any danger, press your ear and call out “Monkey King!” I will come at once to help you, even if I am thousands of kilometres away.’

Some of the braver priests tested the hairs and called out ‘Monkey King!’ At once a thunder god with a great cudgel appeared. ‘If you say “Quiet”, he will disappear,’ Monkey told them. And at the word ‘Quiet’, he disappeared.

‘Don’t go far from this place and there will be news for you soon,’ Monkey called as the priests departed. He left to tell Tripitaka what had happened.

As the pilgrims entered the city, some people were afraid of them. But an old Buddhist priest recognised Monkey and shouted, ‘I have dreamt of you, Monkey King. Thanks to you, we are not ghosts - we are living men.’

That night, Monkey’s head was so full of plans for the next day that he could not sleep. He got up, looked down into the street and saw that the Taoists were all celebrating in the temple. They were led by the three Immortals.

At once, Monkey went to find Pigsy and Sandy. ‘Come and have some fun,’ he whispered in Sandy’s ear.

‘Who wants fun in the middle of the night?’ said Sandy, sleepily.

‘The Taoist Temple has plenty of food in it,’ said Monkey. ‘Bread, cake, fruit, sweets…’

Pigsy woke up at the sound of a list of food. ‘Brother, I am coming too,’ he cried.

When they arrived at the temple, Pigsy could not wait. ‘They are all still praying!’ he complained.

‘I will soon stop that,’ said Monkey, and he blew hard. A great wind passed through the temple, blowing everything on to the ground and putting all the lights out. Frightened in the dark, all the Taoists ran away.

The three pilgrims went inside and the three of them finished all the food.

But a little Taoist remembered that he had left his hand-bell in the temple and went back for it. He opened the door and saw that all the food was gone. He ran away to fetch the three Immortals.

When they came, one of them thought that their gods had eaten the food.

‘Let’s pray to them,’ the Immortal said, ‘for long life for the King.’

Then Monkey jumped out and called to them. ‘How could you be such fools?’ he said. ‘We are not gods, we are priests from China. We have eaten all your food and your king will have to go somewhere else for a long life.’

The Taoist Immortals attacked the pilgrims, but Monkey took Sandy in one hand and Pigsy in the other and leapt on to a cloud with them. In no time, they were back in their beds, in the hotel where they were staying with Tripitaka.

Next day, the King was very angry when he heard that three Buddhist pilgrims wanted to see him. But one of his ministers stepped forward.

‘The country of T’ang is fifty thousand kilometres away,’ he said. ‘If they really come from there, they must have magic powers. Let’s hear them.’

So the King allowed the pilgrims to come in, but before they could speak, three important Taoists came in and made a report to the King.

‘Yesterday,’ they said, ‘these three killed two of our followers and helped five hundred Buddhist priests to escape. That night, they went into our temple and ate all the food.’

The angry King ordered the immediate death of the three pilgrims. But before anyone could do anything about the order, some men arrived asking urgently for rain. The King thought about the pilgrims’ magic powers.

‘There will be a rain-making competition between you and the Immortals,’ he said to the pilgrims. ‘If you win, you will go free. If you lose, you will die!’

A tower was quickly built and the King, the pilgrims and the Immortals went outside.

‘You must say what you are going to pray for,’ said Monkey to an Immortal. ‘How else will we know if you are successful?’

When the King heard Monkey’s words, he said, ‘This little priest is a sensible Monkey.’

‘There is no need to tell you,’ said the Immortal. ‘The King knows what I am going to do.’

‘That is not what I mean. We must each have our programme. If we do not, we will get confused.’

‘Yes, fine. I shall cry out four times,’ said the Immortal. ‘At the first cry, wind will come; at the second, clouds will appear in the sky; at the third, you will hear thunder; at the fourth, rain will fall. But I shall cry out once more and the rain will stop.’

‘Please begin,’ said Monkey. ‘This will be very entertaining for us.’

The tower was ten metres high. On each side there were the twenty-eight flags of the Great House of the Moon. There was a long table with burners on it, which gave a sweet-smelling smoke. There was a metal plate with the name of the thunder-spirit written on it next to each burner. At the foot of the table there were five great bowls of clear water with flowers in them. Behind the tower were some Taoists writing down religious teachings.

The Immortal went to the tower and climbed to the top. With his sword in his hand, he recited spells, and a strong wind was heard and felt in the air above.

‘That is bad,’ whispered Pigsy. ‘He is winning.’

‘Quiet, Brother,’ whispered Monkey, ‘and leave it to me.’

Dear Monkey! He leapt into the air and cried, ‘Who is in charge of the wind?’

At once, the Old Woman of the Wind appeared.

‘I am protecting Tripitaka on his way to India,’ said Monkey. ‘We are having a rain-making competition with the Immortals here. Why are you helping them instead of us? Stop that wind!’ cried Monkey, and immediately the wind stopped.

The Immortal now hit the tower hard and the sky filled with clouds.

‘Who is in charge of the clouds?’ cried Monkey, and the Cloud Boy appeared in front of him. ‘Stop the clouds!’ he commanded, and again the sky became clear.

The Immortal loosened his hair and then knocked again on the tower. The Thunder God and the Mother of Lightning appeared in the sky, but they bowed towards Monkey.

‘The Jade Emperor in Heaven,’ they said, ‘ordered us to make a storm.’

‘You are allowed to do that,’ said Monkey, ‘but not yet.’

As there was no thunder and no lightning, the Immortal was confused as well as angry.

‘Listen well,’ said Monkey, up in the sky. ‘Here are my orders. When I point my cudgel upwards once, you will give me wind. Twice, and you will give me clouds. Three times, thunder and lightning. And four times, rain. ‘And when I point it a fifth time, you will stop the storm.’

The Immortal sadly left the tower and went to speak to the King.

‘I have been watching,’ said the King. ‘You have not produced either wind or rain. What is wrong?’

‘The rain-dragons are not at home today,’ said the Immortal.

‘Don’t believe him!’ cried Monkey. ‘They are all at home. That Immortal has no real power over them. We, the followers of Buddha, will soon put them to work. You will see!’

‘Go to the tower,’ said the King to Monkey. ‘I will wait here and see if there is any rain.’

‘I need your help too,’ said Monkey to Tripitaka. ‘Go quietly to the tower and start reciting your Scriptures.’

‘My dear friend,’ said Tripitaka, ‘I do not know anything about making rain!’

‘Don’t let him pull you into this,’ whispered Pigsy to Tripitaka. ‘He will blame you if no rain comes.’

‘It is true that you do not know how to make rain,’ said Monkey to Tripitaka. ‘But you know how to recite the Scriptures. If you do that, I will do the rest.’

Tripitaka went up the tower, sat down and began silently reciting. Then Monkey took his cudgel from behind his ear, and made it bigger until it was nearly a metre long. He pointed it towards the sky.

The Old Woman of the Wind brought out her bag and when she opened it, a great wind rushed out of it. It blew through the city, lifting stones and rocks high into the air. Monkey pointed again and a black cloud covered the sky, so the people of the city could not even see their palace. He pointed again and loud thunder shook the Earth. When he pointed a fourth time, rain fell down until it seemed that the Yellow River had fallen out of the sky. In seconds, the whole city was under water.

The people of the city were filled with terror and they all began saying their prayers. The rain fell from early morning until midday.

‘Enough!’ cried the King. ‘Stop the rain or nothing will grow this year!’

Monkey at once pointed a fifth time with his cudgel and the storm stopped. There was not even a cloud in the sky.

‘Wonderful priests!’ cried the happy King. ‘So it is true! There is always a stronger magic than the strongest! In the past we have seen our Immortals bring rain successfully. But even they could not stop it suddenly. Light rain always continued for the rest of the day. But these priests stopped the rain completely!’

The Immortal began making excuses.

‘You said that the rain-dragons were not at home,’ the King said, ‘and that made it impossible to get rain. But look! The Buddhists, in their quiet way, made the rain fall. They were successful, not you.’

Again, the Immortal tried to change the King’s mind, but Monkey jumped in front of him and spoke to the King.

‘Sir, the Dragon Kings made the wind, the clouds and the rain. They are still in the sky, so would you like to see them?’

‘Of course!’ cried the King. ‘I have been king for a long time, but I have never seen a dragon. I will reward anyone who can show me one. But if you do not produce a dragon, you will be punished.’

The Taoists knew quite well that this was beyond their powers. They tried, but no dragon answered their call. Then it was Monkey’s turn.

‘Are you there?’ Monkey called up into the sky. ‘Let’s have a look at you and your brothers.’

When the four Dragon Kings immediately appeared through the clouds, the King began to burn sweet-smelling sticks. His ministers went down on their knees in front of them.

‘I feel ashamed,’ said the King. ‘I have troubled them for no reason. Tell them that I do not want to trouble them anymore. I will find an opportunity to repay them soon with offerings.’

‘Spirits, you can leave us now,’ said Monkey. ‘The King will repay you with offerings at the earliest opportunity.’

The Dragons flew off, each to his own ocean, and again the sky was clear.

The King gave orders for a banquet the next day, to thank the pilgrims. All the Buddhists were invited to return to the city, and they were welcomed to the banquet by the King himself.

After the banquet, the Buddhist priests took the pilgrims to the gates of the city, and they gave Monkey back the hairs he had given them. Then Monkey said, ‘Now you can see that Buddhism is the True Way, but you must obey all priests - Taoist priests too - and become better men. Then these hills and streams will be safe forever.’

The King himself rode out with the pilgrims far beyond the city’s walls, where they said goodbye.

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