Zhang Guangyu’s 張光宇 (1900-1965) overlooked masterpiece, Manhua Journey to the West 西遊漫記 was originally created in the fall of 1945 while Zhang was living in the wartime capital of Chongqing. Deeply critical of the ruling KMT government, it was eventually banned and did not see print for another 13 years. For the sake of introducing Zhang’s out-of-print work to a larger audience, I’ve taken the liberty of translating the entire 60 page comic into English and will be posting it in installments on my blog over the next several weeks.
In part 2 of this 6 part translation, Monkey and Zhu Bajie run into Lady Mengjiang, who husband has been forced to labor on the wall.1 Monkey promises to seek vengeance and with the help of a crow monster, he and Zhu Bajie are able to track down the Crested Falcon. A battle takes place and Monkey handily dispatches his foe, freeing his master and Brother Sand. The four pilgrims continue on the “City of Sweet Dreams” 梦得快乐城2 above which floats the Pharaoh’s spectacular palace of air balloons, the Epang Palace 阿房宫.3 The mayor of the City of Sweet Dreams agrees to take the four pilgrims up into the Epang Palace in an elevator, but Monkey is impatient, so he flies ahead on his magic cloud only to find himself face to face with an army of monsters and, possibly even worse, hairdressers…
21. 孙 悟空朱八戒走在前面，行了一程，只不见师傅与沙和尚随来，心中有些疑惑，孙猴知道有变，一个筋斗云翻上半空，四面一望，并无动静，但见半山腰有一白衣女子 正在哭哭啼啼的喊：“好命苦，我的丈夫，今番又被拉去当壮丁，叫我如何过活呀！……”十分凄切，悟空踏住云脚，翻身落地，上前打问，原来她叫孟姜女，她的 丈夫范杞良是万年老丁，回为没有钱今番又被鸦鸦鸟们奉了毛尖鹰之命强拉去当新丁！孙猴听了，十分愤怒道：“我齐天大圣与你们报仇！”孟姜女拜谢不已。
Sun Wukong and Zhu Bajie went ahead, but they couldn’t find their master or Brother Sand, so they began to feel uneasy. Sun Wukong knew that something was the matter, so he jumped on his magical cloud and sprang up into the sky, looking all around, but no one was out and about. Then all of a sudden halfway up the mountain he saw a woman in white, sobbing and crying out, “Life is so unfair, today my husband was taken away to be conscripted, how can I ever go on!?” Completely at a loss, Sun Wukong stopped his cloud, and turned around to coast to earth. Going up to ask her what was up, he found out she was called Lady Meng Jiang. Her husband, Fan Qiliang, was an old laborer of many years, but because he didn’t have any money he was once again conscripted by the Crow-crow Birds to become a new laborer! Upon hearing this, Sun Wukong was filled with rage and said, “I, the Great Sage Equal of Heaven will take revenge on your behalf!” Whereupon Lady Meng Jiang thanked him profusely.
22. 且说朱八戒在地面上四处探寻师傅的下落，却一无所得，正在纳闷，忽然路边踱来一只鸟鸦小黑精，嘻皮笑脸的，八戒喝住道：“你见到两个和尚否？”小黑精答道： “有的，有的，听说已经陷入地牢。”八戒问道：“有何解救办法？”小黑精打手作势意思要钱，八戒会意，连说：“这有何难，要多少便与你多少！”
Meanwhile, Zhu Bajie was looking all around for their master’s whereabouts, but he had come up empty handed. At his wits end, a little black crow monster came strolling past, laughing and smiling, so Zhu Bajie shouted at him, “Have you seen two monks?” The little black monster replied, “I sure have. I heard that they’ve already been put in the underground prison.” Bajie asked him, “Is there any way that I can rescue them?” The little black monster made a gesture with his hand, indicating he wanted money. Bajie caught his drift right away, saying, “What’s the big deal? However much you want, I’ll give it to you!”
23. 两 个正在谈得合缝，半空中孙悟空懊丧而回，八戒高兴道：“有着落了。”……于是悟空八戒随着小黑精同去辨理“赎丁”手续。行至一处，只见一连串的人，被众鸟 鸦精牵着，绳捆钱锁，郎当而行，正见三藏师傅与沙僧也杂在中间，悟空见了咆哮一声叫：“众小妖们慢走！”举起金箍捧[棒?]见一个黑精便打死一个，打得满地是黑 尸，像打翻了炭篓子一样。
Just as the two of them were finishing their deal, a despondent Sun Wukong suddenly appeared. Bajie happily said, “I know where they are.” Whereupon Sun Wukong, Bajie, and the little black monster all went together to redeem the captives. They arrived in a place where they saw a linked chain of laborers being leady by the Crow-Crow bird monsters. The prisoners were all tied together, making their dispirited way. Upon seeing that Tripitaka and Brother Sand had been mixed in with the rest, as well, Sun Wukong let out a roar and said, “Not so fast you little demons!” Taking up his golden-banded staff, he struck dead every black monster he saw, until the ground was covered with black corpses, exactly as if he had overturned a basket of coal.
24. 悟 空救了三藏沙和尚及众弱丁，一不做，二不休，一路打进毛尖鹰的衙门来，毛尖鹰急披甲带胄，提枪出阵迎战，两个斗了三十余回合，毛尖鹰有些抵挡不住，急摇身 一变，往空中一纵，现出三头六臂，手持各式刑具，扑将过来；这里孙大圣那里肯示弱，也显出本领，现出三头六臂的巨神，手中有一件宝器，叫做“众心铁链正义弹”抛将过去，果然把那恶魔毁灭了。
Wukong saved Tripitaka, Brother Sand, and the many powerless laborers as well. In for a penny, in for a pound, he battled his way into the office of the Crested Falcon who hurriedly put on armor and donned his helmet, picking up a gun to go out and meet his enemy. The two battled for thirty rounds, but the Crested Falcon was outmatched, so he shook his head and grew up into the sky, appearing before them as a giant being with three heads, and six arms. In his hands he held a variety of implements, which he threw at Wukong. Not wanting to appear weak, the Great Sage Su Wukong also showed off his abilities, likewise turning into a giant with three heads and six arms, two of which held a jeweled device called “The Righteous Cannonball of the Iron Chain of the Hearts of the Masses.” With this weapon he was able to destroy the monster Crested Falcon.
25. 却 说自从孙大圣显了神通，灭了毛尖鹰巨魔，威震埃秦古国，他一路进来，老百姓个个欢喜跳跃，焚香祷祝，奉为真神出现，不知不觉又来到一个地方，叫做“梦得快乐”城，这是埃秦的贵州[贵族？]区，生活奢侈，出入山城的人都是王公显臣，大宝巨富，以及名媛闺秀，歌姬舞女等，均荟萃于斯，法老始皇的“阿房行宫”，也建在山 城，更增加山城的价值，阿房行宫的建筑是架在轻汽球上面，表示专供上层阶级人士快乐逍遥，平民不得与焉。
As soon as the Great Sage Sun Wukong revealed his magical powers by destroying the giant monster falcon, it shook the ancient kingdom of Ey-qin, and the whole way in the common people all jumped with joy, all of them burning incense and saying prayers in tribute to appearance of a True God. Without realizing it, they arrived in a place called the City of “Sweet Dreams,” this was the wealthy part of Ey-qin, where everyone lived a life a luxury, and all of the people coming and going from this mountain city were aristocrats and prominent officials, millionaires and billionaires, in addition to the elegant ladies and dancing girls of Ey-qin, all of them were on display in this place. The Pharaoh’s temporary imperial residence, Epang Palace, was also located in this mountain city, increasing the overall value of the place. What is more, Epang Palace was constructed on lightweight air balloons, as a way of expressing that the upper class should be allowed to be happy and unfettered, a moreover separate from the commoners.
26. 梦得快乐城的市长因不敢怠慢东土来得唐三藏等，特名集全城名公开紧急会议，讨论结果，决定招待他们住在“阿房宫”里，并着秘书处 ，赶编“梦得快乐城游览指南”，叫人宣传，当由市长亲送给他们每人一份，朱八戒看了，大声喊道：“师傅！师傅！原来天书即在此地！”
Because the mayor of the City of Sweet Dreams didn’t dare neglect Tripitaka and his companions, he called an emergency meeting of all the residents of the town. The result of their discussion was that they decided to invite them to stay in Epang Palace. Additionally, they contacted the city secretary’s office and had them quickly put together a “Tourist’s Guide to the City of Sweet Dreams” which they had distributed around town. When the mayor personally gave each of the pilgrims a copy, after looking through one Zhu Bajie shouted, “Master! Master! Who would have thought that the Celestial Tome was here all along?”
The mayor led Tripitaka and his disciples toward Epang Palace. When an elevator emerged from the palace gates, and began to slowly draw the guests the guests upwards, Sun Wukong said impatiently, “This way is too slow, let Old Sun go up to the palace first.” In a flash, he somersaulted up to the air balloon on his magic cloud.
Unexpectedly, when Sun Wukong tumbled up the third level of air balloons and rushed inside, he couldn’t help but jump in fright–from all four sides of the room he was surrounded by demon monkeys! Some were tall, others were short; some were skinny, others were fat; some were crooked, others were slanted; some were bent, others were stretched. When he moved they moved too, and when he laughed, they all laughed too.
As Sun Wukong was puzzling over this, he stretched out his hand to touch one of the demon monkeys, only to discover they were mirrors all along. Suddenly, he cried out in surprise as the mirror opened like a door, and a beautiful women emerged from within. Without any rhyme or reason, she immediately dragged him through the doorway.
After being dragged into the room, Sun Wukong was pushed into a chair, where several women were waiting to remove his hat and clothes, completely covering his face in perfume and talcum powder; another woman then appeared with a pair of long, sharp scissors, saying that she wanted to trim his fur, prompting Sun Wukong to shout, “No cutting my fur! No cutting my fur!”
TO BE CONTINUED IN PART 4…
- This is a famous Chinese legend whose origins can be found in the Zuozhuan commentary to the Spring and Autumn Annals, compiled in the third or fourth century BC. See Wilt Idema’s Meng Jiangnü Brings Down the Great Wall : Ten Versions of a Chinese Legend. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2008. [↩]
- In his 1958 introduction to the print version, Zhang comments that the City of Sweet Dreams was meant to be stand-in for the “decadent and dissolute life in the interior during the war.” A somewhat garbled translation is available here. [↩]
- This is the name of a famously grandiose palace which Qin Shihuang began construction on in 212 BC but was never completed. See Lukas Nickel, “The First Emperor and Sculpture in China,” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 76, no. 03 (October 2013): 26. [↩]