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Hello Panda Cubs! Welcome back to Panda Cub Stories!
Today, we are going to begin telling one of the greatest stories from Chinese history! This story is called Xi-You-Ji, or Journey to the West. So Panda Cubs, ready to begin? Here we go！
Once upon a time, there was a deep blue sea. And in that big blue sea, there was a small island! A very beautiful island, with white sandy beaches that glittered under the sun. On that island, there was a mountain. On that mountain, flowers bloomed and sweet fruit grew…This mountain - was called “Hua-Guo-Shan”: Flower-Fruit-Mountain. Now it is on Hua-Guo-Shan that our story begins…
On the highest peak of Hua Guo Shan, that mountain of flower and fruit, there was… a stone. A strange stone it was: thirty six feet tall and twenty-four feet wide! At first glance, it was a gray stone. Yet, under warm sunshine it shimmered purple, and under moonlight it shone a jade green…
Some say that the stone dropped from the hands of the goddess Nüwa, when she had repaired the sky. But all that happened a long, long time ago. Now, almost all had forgotten from whence the stone came. All we know, is that it was very, very old…
One day, something strange happened: the stone, it began to move! First, it wiggled. And then... a hop! And then…lighting flashed, and thunder roared! And with an almighty CRACK, the stone… split into two! And from inside the stone, do you know what came leaping out? Why, something with two fuzzy arms and two fuzzy legs; one long tail, and a pair of curious eyes!
Can you guess who this someone was?
If you guessed a Monkey , then congratulations! You guessed right! However, this was a Stone Monkey - a shi-hou! The Stone Monkey scratched its head, and blinked curious eyes… and from those eyes shone two beams of brilliant light! That light shone so brightly that it shot straight through the clouds and into the celestial palace in the sky!
And high in the sky, the Jade Emperor stirred in his sleep. “Did you feel that?” He asked the Heavenly Queen. “Pay it no mind”, came the Queen’s reply, “for what are earthly matters to gods?”
And so they shut their eyes and slumbered peacefully in a midnight sky…
So Panda Cubs, this is where we’ll end today’s story! What happened next for this Stone monkey? We will continue this story next time!
Last time, we began the story of Xi-you-ji – Journey to the West! A story which began atop the mountain of flowers and fruit (Hua Guo Shan), where we met a monkey born out of stone!
While the Jade Emperor and Heavenly Queen slept on in their palace in the sky, down on earth, the Shi-hou, Stone Monkey was not sleepy in the slightest! The Stone Monkey raised its head and gazed up into the sky…and saw a night sky full of stars, glittering and twinkling, for the very first time! Stone Monkey watched the deep blue of night change slowly into red, orange, and pink. He watched the yellow sun rise from the east, and shine warm light onto a land coming awake. The golden rays touched upon gray mountain stones, and painted them purple.
As the sun shone upon a large tree, the tree leaves became a brilliant green. And there! Among the green leaves!
A big, red peach!
The Stone Monkey leapt on to the tree, and plucked the peach! He brought it up his nose and sniffed… Ah! A light scent… like blossoming flowers and honey! The Stone Monkey laughed in delight, and opened his mouth wide…and took a BIG bite of peach! It was like a mouthful of sunshine, sweet and refreshing!
One bite...two bites...three bites!
Just like that, the peach was gone! Stone Monkey was licking peach juice from sticky fingers, when he thought he heard something! Was that the wind? No, it was not the sound of wind whistling… Was it the rain? No, that was not the sound of rain, pitter-pattering down onto green leaves…What could it be? The Stone Monkey’s ears wiggled and his tail twitched! He climbed down from the tree and began to follow the sound down the mountain, into the forest below…
Panda Cubs, we end our story here for today. What do you think that sound is? What did Stone Monkey find in the forest? We will continue this story next time!
When we left our story last, the Stone Monkey had just eaten a big, red peach! Ah… how refreshing! How delicious! Just as Stone Monkey was licking peach juice from sticky fingers, he heard a strange sound! How curious! Stone Monkey climbed down from the tree and began to follow the sound down the mountain, into the forest below...
As Stone Monkey walked on, the louder and clearer the sound became! Finally, Stone Monkey pushed past a thicket of branches and leaves … and this is what he saw:
Lots and lots of monkeys! There were big monkeys, and small monkeys. Tall monkeys, and short monkeys! They frolicked and played in the mountain stream, laughing merrily! Before long, the Monkeys saw Stone Monkey standing by the river bank. They waved at Stone Monkey! Stone Monkey waved at them too!
“ Come over, come over!
Let’s play together! ”
Stone Monkey smiled a BIG smile…and JUMPED into water to play with his newfound friends! From then on, Stone Monkey called Flower Fruit Mountain his home. During cool evenings, the monkeys slumbered under the stars. In the morning, after waking, Stone Monkey and the other monkeys gathered wild flowers and climbed mountain peaks. When they were hungry, they picked and ate apples, peaches and pears. When they were thirsty, they drank cool sweet water from the mountain stream…
One day, it was boiling hot! So the monkeys decided to go play in the river. As the monkeys played, a small monkey suddenly asked: “Hey, where does this water come from?” Nobody knew! An old white haired monkey squinted, looked upstream, and said :
“We don’t know where this water comes from
and since we’ve nothing to do today,
let’s follow the stream up the mountain
and see what’s at the end! ”
So the monkeys began following the stream up the mountain. They hopped and they ran, chittering with excitement! Finally, the they reached the river’s source… Panda Cubs, can you guess what they saw?
The river flowed from a crystalline pool: clear, blue, and ever so deep! And on the other side of that pool, a mountain peak reached straight into the clouds. From the mountain peak rushed a mighty surge of water, which fell in great sheets and curtains, tumbling into the clear pool below! Tens of thousands of water droplets splashed and glittered like diamonds under the sun…
The monkeys gazed at the water in wonder. Stone Monkey looked on with the rest of the monkeys. At the same time, he perked up his ears, listening hard! For from the waterfall there seemed to come a faint, but beautiful melody!
What could it be?
So Panda Cubs, we end our story here for today! We will continue this story next time!
When we left our story last, the Monkeys had just found a huge waterfall! A mighty surge of water rushed downward, falling like a huge curtain into the clear pool below. And what’s more, from behind the waterfall there seemed to come a faint, but beautiful melody! What could it be?
Panda cubs, let me tell you something! Monkeys are extremely curious creatures! If there is a secret, monkeys have to know the answer! They cannot sit still until they know! A little monkey pulled at a big monkey’s tail, and asked: “What is this sound? What is it? Do you know? ” And that big monkey turned and asked an old monkey: “What could it be? Elder, please tell us!” However, not even the old monkey knew what lay behind the waterfall! No matter how the monkeys guessed, they just could not figure it out!
The monkeys sighed, “ If only there was someone who could leap to the other side and then come back safe and sound…they could tell us all about it! Why, we would honor them as King! “ But, the waterfall was so far away, and the water rushed so powerfully, who would dare to go?
During this, Stone Monkey was thinking! Because he came from a magical stone, he could speak with nature! So he asked the wind:
“Wind, if I leap, will you carry me over?”
And the wind replied:
“Yes, yes I will!” “Jump and I will carry you over!”
Then, Stone Monkey asked the waterfall:
“Waterfall, will you let me pass through?”
“Yes, brother monkey, I will let you pass through,” replied the waterfall.
Hearing this, Stone Monkey turned back to the other monkeys and asked: “You mean what you say? If I can go to the other side and come back unharmed, you will really crown me King?”
the monkeys chorused.
“If you can do this, we will make you our King!”
Thus assured, the Stone Monkey walked towards the crystal pool. He faced the waterfall and squeezed his eyes shut. He crouched low…
and gave a mighty leap!
Panda Cubs, we end our story here for today! What do YOU think happened after stone monkey jumped over? We will continue this story next time!
When we left our story last, Stone Monkey was walking towards the crystal pool! He faced the waterfall, squeezed his eyes shut, crouched low…and gave a mighty leap! Up and up the Stone Monkey went! The wind caught him and carried him through the waterfall!
When Stone Monkey landed, he looked to the left and he looked to the right, with eyes open wide! For behind the waterfall, there was no water － none at all! Stone Monkey found himself standing in a huge cave! And there in front of him was a gleaming bridge! Under the bridge a little silver river flowed. When the water flowed past the bridge, It made the loveliest of music. Ah！So this is where the music came from!
Stone Monkey walked closer to the bridge, and realized the light came from thousands of fireflies! He stepped onto the bridge, and found a stone tablet there. The tablet read:
The Blessed Land of Flower-Fruit Mountain,
The Cave of Heaven, Water-Curtain Cave
What a place!
Stone Monkey continued across the bridge, walking deeper into the cave. As Stone Monkey walked he looked around, and saw that the cave was even bigger than he had thought! Why, it was so big that all the Monkeys on Flower Fruit Mountain could fit inside! And the cave was not empty! Strange and beautiful flowers grew here: the blossoms glowed softly and sent fragrant perfume into the air. There were also stone tables and stone chairs, stone dishes and stone plates!
And look, there! Little beds just perfect for sleeping! This place was just like a home! Laughing, Stone Monkey leapt onto one of these beds, and found the blankets were actually soft fluffy clouds！Stone Monkey wrapped himself in the fluffy clouds, Oh, how comfortable!
This would be a perfect home for all us Monkeys,
Stone Monkey thought to himself! And so he returned to the entrance of Water Curtain Cave. The water curtain parted and Stone Monkey leapt back to the other side, landing in the middle of the other monkeys.
The monkeys rushed forth, and gathered around the Stone Monkey:
“How deep is the water? “ They asked,
"What is it like inside?"
"There’s no water inside at all!" Stone Monkey laughed, "There is a cave inside！This cave is very, very large! We can all live in there, the young and the old! From now on, we no longer need fear the summer heat, or the winter cold!"
The other monkeys were very happy and cheered in delight!
“ 太好了， 太好了！
Wonderful! How wonderful! “
So the Stone Monkey asked again for the wind and the waterfall’s help.. .And the wind carried all the monkeys toward the water curtain cave, every single one! And the waterfall parted to let all the monkeys through! Once in the cave, the monkeys ran across the bridge, each more excited than the last! They grabbed the stone bowls and plates, and jumped up and down on the cloud beds,
And through the chaos, there came a voice. It was Stone Monkey! “Monkeys!", He said, "Do we monkeys keep our word? “
The monkeys looked at him surprised。
And the Stone Monkey continued on : "You all said before, that if someone could leap to the other side of the waterfall, and then come back unharmed...You would honor him as King! Today, I have gone in and I have come out, and have even found us this wonderful home...Why do you not Honor me as King? ”
Hearing this，the monkeys finally remembered. “He’s right!” they said，"we should be true to our word! We monkeys may be naughty, but we are honorable and truthful!" And so the monkeys gathered fresh flowers and green grass, and wove the Stone Monkey a colorful crown. The fireflies came, too, and shone their golden light upon the Stone Monkey. The effect was so mesmerizing that the other monkeys exclaimed:
How beautiful is our king! Long live the Monkey King!
The Monkey King smiled. Monkey King, he thought, sounds so much better than “Stone Monkey”. From now on, I shall be known as the Monkey King!
Panda Cubs, this is how Stone Monkey became the “mei-hou-wang” – the Monkey King ! So, is this the end of our story? Not at all! It is only the beginning! We will continue this story soon!
Goodbye for now, Panda Cubs!