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Pilgrimage to the West: Monkey King makes three attempts to borrow the plantain fan


The Tang Priest and his three disciples, Monkey King (Wukong), Pig and Friar Sand, were heading towards the Western Heaven. Gradually they began to feel hotter and hotter in the warm air. It was very strange, because it was autumn. Later they learnt that the Fiery Mountains were just ahead of them. The mountains had a circumference of 800 li, on which not a blade of grass could grow.

A young man selling cakes told them that it was not possible to cross the mountains without a special plantain fan which could only be borrowed from Princess Iron Fan.

After having made arrangements for his master, Monkey King left for the Plantain Cave to see Princess Iron Fan. The princess was the wife of the Bull Demon King and the Red Boy's mother. Some time ago, Red Boy had tried to eat the Tang Priest and Monkey King had subdued him. Hence Princess Iron Fan hated Monkey King and refused to lend the fan to him. Instead she blew Monkey King right out of sight with a single wave of her plantain fan.

Bodhisattva Lingji heard about this and gave Monkey King a Wind-Fixing Pill.

Monkey King came to borrow the magic fan for the second time. With the Wind-Fixing Pill in his mouth, Monkey King could not be moved no matter how hard the princess waved the fan. The princess hurried back to the cave and had the doors closed tightly. However, Monkey King turned himself into an insect and got into the princess belly when she was drinking tea. The princess could not stand the pain, so that she agreed to lend the fan to Monkey, but she actually gave him a false one.

The third time Monkey King came for the fan he decided to turn himself into the Bull Demon King. He got the fan. Upon hearing of this trickery, the Bull Demon King came hurriedly chasing after Monkey. They engaged in a fierce struggle. Soon Pig and Friar Sand came to Monkey's help and forced the Bull Demon King to show his true colors. With the plantain fan, Monkey King put out the fire. The master and his three disciples continued their journey to the West to fetch scriptures.