Hieroglyphic Graffiti » Journey to the West Breadbox: Book 1, Chapter 1

Friday November, 11 2005

Journey to the West Breadbox: Book 1, Chapter 1

Filed under: General, Journey to the West: HandBasket — makani @ 2:24 pm

I said I was going to do it, and here it is. Book 1, Chapter 1. The idea is stolen with permission from the lovely and talented, Evadne_noel.

Consider this a preview of sorts, it will be going up on the Monkey Shrine sooner or later.

Journey to the West, all the fun you can fit in a handbasket

Book 1, Chapter 1

WU’CHENG EN
Here, have some information about how the world was created. It’ll give me a chance to show off my knowledge of the Tao, Buddhism and throw around vague alchemical symbolism at the same time. Aren’t I clever and smart? Oh, I’ll also throw in lots of old poetry. Did I mention that I Iike poetry? There’s this one poem…

STONE MONKEY
Hello? Can we get to me here?

WU’CHENG EN
Right. Right, I’ll tell you about that poem later. I’m going to give you the precise measurements of a stone that was created at the beginning of time. Please ignore the fact that there wouldn’t have been anyone around at the time to measure it. Are you sure you don’t want a poem? There’s a poem about how the stone egg gave birth to a monkey.

STONE MONKEY
Cool! I’m alive, and made out of stone. Rock on! That pun is very much intended.

STONE MONKEY bows to the FOUR QUARTERS because at this point he is still polite, opens his eyes and flashes beams of golden light at HEAVEN.

JADE EMPEROR
We have a really long title. No really, it’s long. Anyway, what is that golden light that reaches us as we sit in our Cloud Palace of the Golden Arches, in the Treasure Hall of the Divine Mists? Think about it, if the name of our Throne Room is that long you probably don’t want our title.

THOUSAND MILE EYE and FAIR WIND EAR
Over at Flower Fruit Mountain an immortal stone has given birth to an egg that in turn gave birth to a stone monkey who bowed to the four quarters and then opened his eyes. That caused the golden light.

JADE EMPEROR
Oh, well that’s nothing to worry about then.

The JADE EMPEROR and other IMMORTALS go about their business as if NOTHING is wrong. THEY will regret this later. STONE MONKEY wanders all over the mountain and makes friends with everybody, including lots of other MONKEYS.

WU’CHENG EN
Here’s another poem about what the Stone Monkey and his new friends did. I’m so clever! I’ll also imply that these monkeys are Buddhists! It’ll be important later, why I’ve got a poem about that too!

MONKEYS
You know, if we don’t do something there’s bound to be way too much poetry. So we’ve been hanging around this stream, let’s see where it goes.

The MONKEYS follow the stream and find more POETRY, as well as a WATERFALL which they think is grand.

MONKEYS
We’re easily amused. So who wants to jump into it and see where all the water is coming from? Whoever does can be king!

STONE MONKEY
Now that’s right up my alley. I’ll do it.

STONE MONKEY jumps through the waterfall and discovers a bridge that leads to a strange CAVE, which turns out to be “The Blessed Land of Flower-Fruit Mountain, the Cave Heaven of Water-Curtain Cave,” which is a fully furnished house-like place. STONE MONKEY calls for the other MONKEYS and no one thinks a fully furnished cave is strange.

STONE MONKEY
You all said I could be king, so I’m king. I’m now Handsome Monkey King.

MONKEYS
Whatever you say, king.

The MONKEYS enjoy a peaceful existence of about FOUR HUNDRED YEARS until one day MONKEY KING sheds a few TEARS.

MONKEY KING
Someday we’ll all die.

MONKEYS
Gee, it only took you four hundred years to figure that out? Immortals, Buddhas, and Holy Sages don’t die though.

WU’CHENG EN
See! See! Buddhas! There it is again! I’ve got this poem…

MONKEY KING
Ack! No, no poetry. Ok, tomorrow I’m going to go off and find these people and I’ll learn how to be young forever!

MONKEYS
Ok, we’ll give you a party. Any excuse for a party!

The MONKEYS give MONKEY KING a party.

WU’CHEN EN
I’ve got a poem about this too! You want to hear it?

MONKEY KING
Ok, enough of that! I’ve got my raft, bamboo pole and some fruit! Off I go!

And so MONKEY KING sets sail for the Lands of the Immortals. He gets a good tail wind and makes to land in record time. He finds humans on the shore going about their lives.

HUMANS
AHHH! It’s a short monster… thing… RUN AWAY!

MONKEY KING manages to catch one and steals his clothes. He then wanders around trying to find IMMORTALS. There is a lot more POETRY.

MONKEY KING
Hmm, no Immortals here, just greedy humans, but look here’s another ocean. I’ve already crossed one under improbible circunstances, what’s one more?

And so MONKEY crossed the ocean and came to a new land. He finds beautiful mountains there and because it’d be a really short story if he were afraid of heights, he climbed right up to search for IMMORTALS.

MONKEY KING
Greetings, Immortal.

WOODCUTTER
Huh? WTF?

MONKEY KING
You were singing, and that means you’re either an Immortal or the author who has this strange fixation with poetry and since you can’t be the author, you must be an Immortal.

WOODCUTTER
I’m not an immortal but my neighbor is, because here ordinary people have Immortals for their next door neighbors. This is the Mountain of the Heart and Mind, my neighbor lives on the Cave of Slanting Moon and Three Stars just in case you wanted the long name.

MONKEY KING
What’s the short name?

WOODCUTTER
Mountain number 3,472.

MONKEY KING
I see why you go with the long form.

WOODCUTTER
Anyway, follow this path south, you can’t miss it.

MONKEY KING
Thanks!

MONKEY KING follows the WOODCUTTER’S directions and encounters more poetry and a CAVE.

MONKEY KING
Ahh, this must be the place but the door is shut, I’ll just sit up in this tree and wait, someone will come out eventually, otherwise this will be a really short book.

MONKEY KING sits up in a pine tree until a YOUNG BOY, who appears to be an IMMORTAL, opens the door.

YOUNG BOY
Who’s raising a ruckus out here?

MONKEY KING
That would be me. I’m seeking the way of immortality, got any of that around here?

YOUNG BOY
Boatloads. Come on in, we’ve got a fresh pot of the stuff brewing.

MONKEY follows the YOUNG BOY into a GREAT BIG CAVE with lots of rooms and windows. They finally reach a platform made out of GREEN JADE and the IMMORTAL SUBODHI and of course, some more poetry.

MONKEY KING
I shall now bow, which shows I really respect you. I came all the way from the Water-Curtain Cave on the Flower-Fruit Mountain in the Ao-lai Country of the East Purvavideha Continent, if you want the long name.

SUBODHI
What’s the short name?

MONKEY KING
Way the hell far away in the east.

SUBODHI
You came a long way then. Do you have surname?

MONKEY KING
No, and I have no parents. I was born from an immortal stone.

SUBODHI
Well, that’s certainly special. Since you look like the kind of monkey called hu-sun I’ll give you the surname Sun. As well as explain a very deep meaning to this name by breaking down the character that forms Sun into…

MONKEY KING
Don’t get started or we’ll get more poetry. Since you’ve given me a surname, how about a personal name too?

SUBODHI
Ok, let me explain the division of my students, in a rather long winded manor.
(He does so)
Now, for reasons I shan’t reveal, or perhaps because the author is just clever, you belong to the tenth generation, blah blah blah, so your name will be Wu K’ung “Awakened to Emptiness,”

WU CHEN’EN
Which is perfect for Buddhism!

MONKEY KING
Great, I have a name. Let’s get down to some serious studying of the Tao, baby.

WU CHENG’EN
And so the Handsome Monkey King was born, secured a kingdom and got a name and I was clever with poetry and allusions to Buddhism and alchemy. If you want to know anything else, you’ll have to read the next chapter. I plan to end every chapter that way; it’s a pretty standard ending in Chinese writing. Get used to it.

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