Journey to the West is a mythological novel based on many centuries of popular tradition. It was probably put into its present form in the 15708 by Wu Cheng’en (1500-82). This lively fantasy relates the amazing adventures of the priest San-zang as he travels west in search of Buddhist sutras with his three disciples,the irreverent and capable Monkey,greedy Pig,and Friar Sand. The opening chapters recount the earlier exploits of Monkey,culminating in his rebellion against Heaven.We then learn how Sanzang became a monk and was sent on his pilgrimage by the Tang emperor who had escaped death with the help of an Underworld official. The main story,the journey,takes the priest through all kinds of entertaining trials and tribulations,mainly at the hands of monsters and spirits who want to eat him.Only the courage and powers of his disciples,especially Monkey,save him from death.Monkey is the hero of the fantasy,and the reader will soon learn why he has long been so loved in China.Will the pilgrims reach the Vulture Peak and obtain the Scriptures?The answer will only be found at the end of the 100-chapter novel. The story is as full of imagination as Monkey is of magic,and packed with incident and down-to-earth humour.The illustrations are from 19th-century Chinese edition.This is the first of the three volumes of the novel.
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