Episode 90: Journey To The West 1- The Birth Of The Monkey King

Click here to listen

We will the start talking about the stories from the book Journey to the West 西游记.We already talked about one of the main characters in the book the monkey king in episode 75. The book started with the monkey king. Today we will talk about the birth of the monkey king.

There is mountain called Mountain of Flowers and Fruits 花果山 in the sea next to the Kingdom AoLai 傲来国. On the mountain, there was a rock that since the creation of the world had been worked upon “by the pure essences of Heaven and Earth ,the vigor of sunshine and the grace of moonlight”, till one day it split open. A monkey jumped out of the rock egg. The light darted from this monkey’s eyes flashed as far as the palace in the heaven and astonished the Jade Emperor 玉皇大帝. He ordered his two generals Thousand-league Eye 千里眼 and Down-the-wind Ears to open the gate of the Southern Heaven 南天门 to check what was going on and was not surprised to find out the magical monkey.


The monkey walked, jumped in the mountain, and was fed on grass, he drank from streams and springs, gathered flowers and fruits. He had wolfs and bugs as his partners and joined tigers and leopards. He was friends with deer and civet and baboons and apes were his families. At nigh he lodged under the cliffs and during the day he wandered among the caves and peaks.

One day, a group of monkeys took a shower in the streams after hanging out together for a while. The monkeys, “none of us knows where the water is from. Since we have nothing to do today, how about we follow it up to the source and have fun! ” Dragging boys and girls, calling the elder and younger brothers, the whole troupe rushed along the stream and climbed up to the source of the stream. In front of them was the curtain of a waterfall.


All the monkeys clapped hands and cried, “lovely water! Lovely water!” If any of us were capable to pierce that curtain to get to source and return unharmed, we would make him our king!” After three calls, the stone monkey jumped from the crowd and answered, “I will go! I will go!” He screws up his eyes and crouches, then jumped straight into the waterfall. When he opened his eyes, he found there was no water where he was but a bridge in front of him. He looked closely, the bridge was made of iron and the water under it flowed through a hole in the rock. He walked through the bridge and looked around, it seems liked a village and there were people living here. There were stone seats, stone beds, stone cups and stone bowls.


On the cliff, there was a in inscription in large square writing saying “The Cave of the Water Curtain 水帘洞 in the blessed land of the Mountain of Flowers and Fruits 花果山 leads to the Heaven.” The stone monkey delighted and jumped out of the waterfall.

“A great stroke of luck! A great stroke of luck!” He could’n wait to share everything with all the monkeys. “A heaven place for all of us to live.” “Bring us in! In!” All the monkeys got excited after hearing this. Soon after the monkeys jumped through the waterfall, they started to fight for possessions and shifting things around. The stone monkey sat on the top and said, “everyone! Nothing can be done with one whose word cannot be trusted. We agreed on earlier that whoever jumped in first and returned unharmed would be the king. Now I accomplished it and found this heaven place for everyone, why do you not bow down to me as your king?”


All the monkeys got together and bowed humbly “Great king, a thousand years!” After that, the stone monkey had the title “Handsome Monkey King 美猴王”.

The Handsome Monkey King lived in the heavenly Cave of the Water curtain for several hundreds of years. One day, at a feast with other monkeys, the king suddenly felt melancholy and burst into tears. Other moneys bowed down, “what makes your Majesty so sad?” The monkey king said, “At present I have no cause for unhappiness. But I have a misgiving about the future.” “Your Majesty is hard to please. We have fun in this blessed place every day. We are not subject to the unicorn or phoenix or any human kings. Such freedom is an enormous blessing. What can it e that causes you this sad misgiving? ” The king said, “It is true. However, the time will come when I grow old and weak. King YanLuo 阎罗王 , king of the death is waiting. ” When the monkeys heard this, they all covered their faces and cry thinking about the destiny.

A monkey cried, “If that is what worries your Majesty, there are three kinds of creatures that are not subject to King YanLuo. Buddhas, Immortals and Sages are eternal as Heaven and Earth, mountains and streams.” The monkey king asked, “where can they be found?” “Here on the common earth in ancient caves among the enchanted hills.”

The Monkey King was delighted “tomorrow, I shall say goodbye to you and go down the mountain, wander around to the end of the world to visit these three kinds and learn to be immortal to escape the doom of death.”


西游记 Journey to the West

玉皇大帝 Jade Emperor

阎罗王 King YanLuo

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s