Episode 6D – Who Framed Sun Wukong?

Episode 6D Show Notes

Source: Chinese Mythology

This week on MYTH, we’ll continue Monkey’s epic journey to the west to retrieve Indian magic.  This is the fourth episode on the epic tale of Sun Wukong, the Monkey King.  If you haven’t heard the first three parts, I’d recommend going back and listening.  The first episode provides a lot of back story on the Monkey King and on the Chinese cosmology, the second tells how this whole quest thing got started, and the third tells why Monkey is currently sulking.  To summarize, Monkey was trapped by Buddha and could only be released if he served the monk Sanzang on his journey to the west to retrieve the magic sutras from India.  Along the way, getting into a stupid amount of trouble and getting out mostly through literal deus ex machina, they acquire two more disciples: Ogre and Piggy.  Monkey managed to become even more immortal, but it didn’t help him against a scheming demon that convinced the kind of dumb monk that Monkey had killed a few people for shits and giggles.  Given how many demons have shown up already, you’d think he’d be more open to the idea.  In this episode, you’ll learn that constellations can’t be trusted, that the it’s totally possible for a man to get pregnant, and that if a pretty woman tries to seduce you, she’s definitely a demon in disguise.  Then, in Gods and Monsters, it’s a banana ghost who can give you the winning lottery numbers, but might just kill you for it.  This is the Myths Your Teacher Hated podcast, where I tell the stories of cultures around the world in all of their original, bloody, uncensored glory.  Modern tellings of these stories have become dry and dusty, but I’ll be trying to breathe new life into them.  This is Episode 6D, “Who Framed Sun Wukong?”  As always, this episode is not safe for work.

  • Piggy hears the rumor about Sanzang being a demon and realizes he’s in trouble.  He can’t handle this, and neither can Ogre, so he decides to go ask Monkey for help.  Piggy doesn’t tell Monkey that the priest is in trouble.  Instead, he just asks him to come back on the journey.  Monkey refuses, and Piggy, worried that Monkey will lose his temper and beat Piggy’s ass, goes “Well, okay then.  Nice seeing you, I guess” and shuffles off. 
  • Monkey Suspects that something is up and sends two of him monkey ninjas to follow and listen.  Piggy walks down the road and as soon as he is out of earshot, he says to himself “That fucking ape!  That lazy sonuvabitch!  I asked him nicely and he spat in my face.  Fuck that guy.  Fuck him sideways with all of his monkeys!”
  • The two ninjas return and report, and Monkey orders Piggy arrested for speaking ill of him (he’s kind of a tyrant).  The monkey horde charges after him and drags his ass back, beating him the whole way.  When he’s dragged before Monkey, he finally admits why he was really there.  Anger forgotten, Monkey grabs Piggy, leaps out the window onto his cloud, and soars off.
  • Monkey flies off to the demon’s cave and tells the Princess who he is.  He has a plan.  Monkey transforms himself into the princess and waits.  Yellow Robe returns, but sees that his wife now has a tail and draw his weapon.  They fight for a long time before Monkey finally feints and smack the demon when he takes the bait.  Monkey whacks him so hard, he disappears. 
  • Monkey goes to the Jade Emperor and asks for help.  It turns out that one of the 28 constellations, the Strider, is missing.  The emperor sends the other 27 constellations to jump the 28th, who has become the demon, and return him to the sky.
  • The demon thus captured, Monkey takes the princess to the King and tells him what happened.  He says his own spell and turns Sanzang back into a human and they are off once more.
  • On the way, they meet a woodcutter who travels with them and warns the group that there are demons in the mountain and to be careful.  Piggy turns to say something, but the fucker is gone.  “What the fuck, seriously?  Didn’t we already do this?”  Monkey turns on his magic eyes, looks around and sees the Duty God of the Day hiding in the clouds on top of the mountain.  “Seriously, asshole?  Why not just tell me who you were?  This mysterious stranger schtick is getting fucking old.”
  • The god wrung his hands sheepishly.  “Sorry Monkey.  There are a lot of really powerful demons ahead, and I meant to warn you earlier.  I hoped you wouldn’t notice.”
  • Annoyed, Monkey sends Piggy to investigate.  After walking a few miles, Piggy gets tired.  “Those selfish bastards.  Why the hell am I walking around looking for demons while they sit at camp relaxing and laughing at me?  Fuck it, I’m going to take a nap and pretend that I looked around.”
  • As soon as he falls asleep, he is grabbed by two demons, Silver Horn and Golden Horn.  “If the pig is here, brother, then the priest is close.  Let’s get him!”  says Golden Horn.  “Don’t be a dumbass, brother,” says Silver Horn.  “Let’s be sneaky.”  He changes into a monk with a broken leg and sits down beside the path.
  • Sanzang sees the monk and, in spite of having been just warned by a god about this, offers him a ride.  He tells Monkey to carry him, and the demon promptly casts a spell burying the surprised Monkey under the weight of three mountains.  He grabs the priest and Ogre and uses magic to transport them to Lotus Flower Cave.
  • Golden Horn is impressed, but says “Idiot!  We can’t eat the priest before we eat the Monkey, for some reason that is never made clear so don’t think about it too hard!”  Silver Horn claims to be able to fetch him by sending two devils with some magic items (a red and gold gourd and a jade vase of mutton fat) to get him.  The minor demons Dextrous Ghost and Skillful Beast are sent.  “Take these treasures and put them upside down on the mountain top.  The call out to Sun Wukong.  If he responds, he’ll be trapped inside.  Then, slap this label on that says ‘Supreme Lord Lao: To Be Dealt With Immediately per the Law’”.
  • Some local spirits have worked to free Monkey, who changes himself into an old Taoist and meets the two devils.  Monkey tricks the two stupid demons into handing over their treasures by promising to catch Monkey so they won’t have to risk themselves, then follows them back to the demon cave.
  • He learns that the demons have invited their mother to feast with them on the priest, so Monkey does what any hero would do.  He waits outside and kills the bitch from ambush, taking her treasure and assuming her form.  He visits the cave and nearly gets close enough to kill them, but Piggy blurts out that he can recognize Monkey by the tail the lady demon has and they all fight.  The two demons are too much, and Monkey is captured in a magic rope spell.
  • While the two demons decide what to do, Monkey frees himself and leaves a shadow clone of himself in the rope.  He then announces that he, Wukong Sun wants to see the demons.  The two are confused because they already caught Sun Wukong, so who the fuck is Wukong Sun?  Deciding the hell with it, the demon holds up his person capturing jar and calls for Wukong Sun.  Monkey knows from the small demons that if he responds to his name, he’ll get caught, so he says nothing.  The demon calls out a few more times and finally Monkey can’t help it.  He’s like Roger Rabbit when you play shave and a haircut.  Monkey figures that since he gave a fake name, he’ll be safe, so he replies.  It turns out, his stupid fake name wasn’t good enough, and he gets sucked inside.
  • Monkey escapes again, steals the jar, and captures Silver Horn in it.  Then, fighting only one demon, he holds his own.  The demon pulls out a magic fan that creates flames and fans at Monkey, setting multiple forest fires.  Monkey jumps into the clouds to escape.
  • Realizing that maybe he can’t just go in swinging this time, he goes back to the cave and snoops.  The demon is asleep, using the magical fire fan to cover his eyes.  Monkey steals the fan, but accidentally starts a small fire, which wakes the demon.  He grabs a magic sword and they fight again, but this time the demon loses and runs away.  Monkey frees the party and they leave.
  • They soon meet a blind man on the path who demands that they return his treasure.  Piggy draws his rake, reasonably assuming that it’s the demon, but Monkey sees that it is Supreme Lord Lao Zi.  “What’s up, bro?  What treasures?”  “The ones from the demons, stupid ape.  I use the gourd to store herbs and the vase to store water.  I use the fan to start my fire and the rope to tie my robe.  The sword’s just a bitching sword.  The two demons looked after my golden forge and my silver forge, and they stole my shit and came here.  Give it back.”
  • “Sorry, dude, this is your punishment for letting your servants steal your shit and try to fucking eat us.”  “Hey, it’s not my fault.  Kuan-Yin asked for the items and turned my servants into monsters to test you.  She’s kind of a bitch that way.”  They give him his shit back and leave.
  • One night, the soul of a king from a nearby town visits Sanzang in a dream and tells him a Taoist wizard threw him in a well and assumed his form.  He asks the priest to tell his son about it and gives him a gold-edged jade scepter as proof.  Sanzang tells Monkey, who makes a plan.
  • The Monkey King plucks a hair and turns it into a box of red and gold lacquer, which he hides the scepter in.  Then he turns himself into a 2” tall monk and and hides inside also.  Sanzang meets the prince and tells him that he has a magic treasure called the King-maker that he wants him to see.  The prince opens the box, and Monkey tells him the story.  The prince isn’t convinced that his obvious demon isn’t lying.
  • Monkey says to the prince “I have an idea.  Instead of sitting here with your thumb up your ass, how about you go back to the capital and ask your mother the Queen how the love and fucking with the king is now compared to three years ago.”  The prince is grossed out a little, but agrees.
  • He goes to his mother and asks as delicately as he can, and she responds that he’s been distant for the last three years.  Any time she tries to get him turned on, he pleads old age.  The prince is now convinced.
  • They go to the well and pull the king’s body out which is well preserved because, and I shit you not, the king used a magic spell as he was dying to preserve his body.  Part vanity, and part hoping his body would be easier to identify.
  • Monkey goes to heaven and asks Lao if he has any of those nine-cycle soul-returning pills.  He does, and so the king is brought back to life.  The resurrected king puts on a monk’s habit and they go to confront the fiend-monarch.  He escapes on a cloud with Monkey behind him in a high speed police chase, but with magic clouds.  Monkey is faster, and they fight a little before the fiend breaks it off and runs away again.
  • The demon dives into the city where civil and military officers have gathered for work.  He find the Tang priest and turns himself into Sanzang and waits.  Monkey is close behind and raises his staff.  “Disciple, don’t hit me.  I’m the real priest.”  Monkey shift to the actual priest.  “No, Monkey, I’M the real priest, hit him!”  So yes, this is the first incident of the old tv trope of “shoot him, he’s the evil twin”. 
  • Monkey, being clever, asks the two priests to recite the magic band-tightening spell on Monkey’s headband.  The fake priest, realizing that he doesn’t know the spell, jumps into the clouds and runs off, Monkey in pursuit.  He catches up quickly and is about to beat his brains out, when a voice calls “Don’t hit him, Sun Wukong!”  It is the Bodhisattva Manjusri, a servant of the Buddha.  The demon is the blue-haired lion from under my throne.  He was sent here by Lord Buddha.  The King was a benevolent man, so Buddha wanted him brought to the west as reward.  I came to him in the form of an ordinary monk and asked for vegetarian food.  He couldn’t some questions I asked, so he took me for an evildoer (for some reason), and had me tied up in the moat for three days.  Buddha ordered the king thrown in the well to soak for three years in punishment.”  And so that was the anticlimactic end to that particular encounter.
  • In a different mountain, a demon sees him coming and changes into a boy of six tied hand and foot, stark naked, to the top of a pine tree.  Sanzang hears him shouting for help, and sends Monkey to get him down.
  • After carrying him for a little while, he realizes the boy is a demon and decides to kill him, but the Red Boy demon changes into a tornado and captures Sanzang, the Daphne of this particular group.  Monkey talks to the local god and learn that the demon is the son of the Bull Demon King and possesses True Samadhi Fire.
  • Monkey fights the demon, but the Samadhi fire is too strong.  He asks the Dragon of the Four Seas for rain to put out the fire, but the water only makes it burn stronger because magic.  Monkey keeps fighting since he is immune to fire.  But not, as it turns out, to smoke.  The demon pours clouds of smoke at Monkey, blinding him.  He dives into a nearby stream to escape, but the fire has made him so hot that the shock of the cold water knocks him unconscious. 
  • Piggy and Ogre haul his body from the water, and Piggy decides to ask Kuan-Yin for help.  Being an idiot, he is fooled by the demon transforming himself into the goddess and is captured.  Monkey finally comes to his senses, and turns into a fly to enter the demon’s cave.  he overhears that the demon has invited his daddy, the Bull Demon King, to share in eating the priest together.  Fuck, thinks Monkey.  Not again.
  • Monkey turns himself into the Bull Demon King and visits.  The demon sees through the ruse (just like last time, you silly Monkey) and Monkey flees.  He goes to Kuan-Yin for help.  She agrees, and Monkey lures the demon out to Kuan-Yin, where she tricks him into sitting on a thousand-petaled throne.  The throne hides swords made from the north star, which slice into the demon, trapping him.
  • Leaving the demon to the goddess, the party marches on.  They reach a vast black river, and the boatman who agrees to take them across the river is, big fucking surprise, a demon.  The alligator demon captures Sanzang and Piggy, like always.  The demon is the nephew of the Dragon King of the Western Sea, so Monkey goes to the dragon to ask him to arrest his nephew.
  • The King tells his son, Mo’ang to do so.  Mo’ang goes to the demon and announces himself.  Alligator comes out and sees a platoon of ocean soldiers.  “Fuck you, Uncle.  I thought blood meant something!”  He fights for his freedom, but is grossly outnumbered and loses.  Having lost, he is tied up and has a god-damned chain drilled through his collarbone to drag him home.  These guys are not fucking around.
  • Since the group is still on the wrong side of the river, Mo’ang uses his powers to hold back the water, Moses and the Red Sea style.  They walk across the river bed and continue on their way.
  • They reach a city where Buddhist monks are working for three Taoist monks.  They have the king’s favor since they can make it rain, which means they can lord it over the Buddhists like the assholes they are and make them work like slaves to build a new monastery.  Monkey, being a buddhist even though he was kind of tricked into it, frees the monks and smashes the new monastery.  Then he goes to the old monastery and, with a spell and a great big breath, makes a storm that fucks shit up inside the building.  Since they didn’t see Monkey, the three taoists thought a divine wind had blow everything around and decide to call it a day.
  • Since the temple is empty, Monkey, Piggy and Ogre decide to eat all of the offerings to the Three Pure Ones worshiped by the Taoists.  A young monk sneaks into the temple because he forgot his ceremonial handbell.  He hears the three laughing and drinking and freaks out, thinking that it is the gods come to life (to be fair, he’s not far wrong).  He tells the senior priests, who come back to the temple in the morning. 
  • Monkey has changed the party into statues of the Three Pure Ones (and got rid of the real ones), so when the priests come in and find the offerings gone, they asks the statues for holy water.  They are only a little terrified to hear the statues reply.  “Water?  Sure, we can get you holy water.  But you’ll have to wait outside because, uh, heaven secrets and shit.”  Once they leave, the three each fill a container with piss to offer the priests (and again, that’s not an exaggeration on my part).
  • The next day, Sanzang visits the king with his group, but the monks accuse the party of killing some monks (bullshit), destroying the temple (true), and tricking the monks into drinking piss (true and hilarious).  The king decrees that they can only continue through his land if they win a rainmaking competition with his favorite monks.
  • Monkey decides that there’s no reason to fight fair, so he leaves a shadow clone to hear the rules and goes to ask the Dragon King for help.  Since the rain god is a personal friend of his (or at least a frenemy), he wins the contest easily.
  • The monks demand another contest, which the king agrees to for some reason.  This time, it’s a meditation contest.  50 tables are stacked up for each priest, who has to ascend to the top on a cloud without using his hands and then sit for several hours without falling off.  Monkey again leaves a shadow clone behind and turns himself into a cloud to carry Sanzang up to the platform.  That taoist in turn creates a bedbug to bite the priest and make him fall.  Monkey sees this and flicks the bug off, the creates his own centipede (hey, they cheated first, sort of) inside the Taoist’s nose.  He’s surprised to be bit inside his nose, and tumbles off the platform, losing the contest.
  • The monk’s demand a third competition, despite having already lost twice so they can’t even claim two out of three or some stupid bullshit like that.  The king, for some reason, agrees.  This time it is a game of decapitation.  Seriously, they propose this.  Monkey’s head is cut off first, but since he is immune to weapons, it keeps growing back.  When it’s the taoist’s turn, he casts a spell to try an reattach it after it is cut off, but Monkey creates a brown dog to run across the field and steal the head.  The spell doesn’t work without a head, so he dies a messy death.  The other two quickly die the same way, then all three bodies turn into yellow tigers because, of course, they’re actually demons.  Seriously, it seems like there are more demons than humans in ancient china.
  • They are finally allowed to keep going and soon reach a river with a sign saying “River of Heaven – 250 miles across, few travelers have ever been here”.  They reasonably decide to take a break at the nearby village first.  They see a funeral procession going by for two children of Mr. Chen, who are going to be sacrificed to the Demon King of Miraculous Response in exchange for rain.
  • Monkey suggests that instead of helpless children, they send Monkey and Piggy in their forms.  Piggy struts forward proudly and cries CHANGE!  He turns into the little girl, but way too big and way too fat.  “You dumbass, you can’t even do a simple transformation?  Try again lard ass.”  “Fuck you, shit for brains.  I can’t change any more, so this will have to do.”  “Don’t be an idiot” says Monkey, and he transforms Piggy the rest of the way, then himself.
  • The two are served up with pork, mutton, beef, and wine and taken to the temple.  After an hour, a creature comes into the temple and sees the two supposed children.  “About time.  Who’s making the sacrifice this year, eh?”
  • “Mr. Chen is, thanks for asking” replies Monkey.  This strikes the monster as odd.  “The little brats are usually screaming and pissing themselves by now.  Brave kid.”  The monster doesn’t like this, so he stalls.  “Custom says I should eat you first boy.”  “Sounds good.  Enjoy your meal.”  “Shit”, thinks the monster.  “Something is wrong.”  He looks to the girl.  “Fuck tradition, I’m gonna eat her first.” 
  • Piggy doesn’t love this idea, which makes the monster more confident.  He reaches for Piggy and is struck by the rake he pulled from god knows where.  Food shouldn’t be this feisty, so the monster runs.  Monkey figures he’s a river monster, and plans to catch him tomorrow instead of chasing him.
  • The monster, scared and angry, also devises a plan.  He casts a spell to cause a snow storm to freeze the river.  Sanzang hears that the river is now passable, and walks across.  As you probably already guessed, the demon was hiding under the ice.  He shatters the ice above him, caring the ever-loving shit out of the horses.  In the panic, Sanzang is monk-napped.
  • Monkey doesn’t like the water much, so he sends Ogre and Piggy to fight instead.  Full of confidence in their abilities, he says “You kill him. When that doesn’t work, pretend to be beaten and lure him up here for me to kill.”  Ogre and Piggy dive into the water and pretty quickly realize that they can’t be a river monster in the river, and lure him to the surface.  Monkey whacks him as soon as he comes up, but he is able to dive again to safety.
  • Since he already has the priest, he decides to just wait things out.  Once they leave, he can murder the priest in peace.  Monkey, still refusing to go in the water in spite of having started this whole story by barging into the Dragon King’s undersea palace, asks Kuan-Yin for help. 
  • With a sigh that she seems to be doing most of the work on the quest she assigned, she goes to the river and throws a fishing net in.  She quickly pulls it out again to reveal a large goldfish.  “Alright, cowards, go get the priest now.  I caught the monster.”  “Seriously, that fucking goldfish was the problem?”  “Yeah, he’s from my lotus pool.  The bastard learned magic by watching me.”
  • They go into the water and retrieve the priest, then reasonably ask Mr. Chen to provide a boat to cross the river that unfroze when the monster left.  A giant, magic turtle crawls out of the lake and offers to take them across for absolutely no reason.  Where this fucker was during the fighting or the long reign of the monster isn’t addressed.  I’m guessing he just decided not to worry about it.
  • After more walking, they get hungry, so Monkey decides to look for food.  Having already been through this a couple times, he draws a circle in the dirt around the party.  “This is a magic circle.  Nothing can get in, so please just stay fucking put, okay?  Don’t leave, don’t wander off, don’t be a dumbass.  I’ll be back with food.”
  • After about an hour, Piggy is cold and suggests they all leave the circle to find someplace warm, and Sanzang like a moron agrees.  They leave the only goddamned thing keeping them safe and wander to the magic house of an evil demon Rhinoceros King and get caught.  Monkey comes back to find them gone again.  This would roughly be when the face palm was invented.
  • Monkey tracks them to the magic house and fights the demon, but has his staff stolen by the Rhino King’s magic.  Monkey immediately leaps to the idea that this must be a star lured to the world by love of earthly things, because a common mortal monster couldn’t be this tough.  He travels to the heavens to see, but all of the stars are in their proper place.  He asks the Star Lord of Fire for help, and he sends an onslaught of fire monsters and fire weapons, but the Rhino King beats all of them.
  • He then asks the Star Lord of Water for help, and he launches the entire Yellow River at the demon, who seals his house up against the water with a magic ring.  Monkey decides to go with the old standby and turns himself into a fly.  He sneaks into the house to steal the magic ring, but he sees his staff and can’t resist taking it back.  He didn’t feel whole without his magical phallic symbol,
  • Monkey goes back in swinging, backed by several gods, but the Rhino King again beats everyone and takes their weapons.  Sick of this shit, Monkey goes to the Buddha and asks for help.  He sends his 18 lesser gods to throw a sandstorm at the Rhino, who again captures everything with his magic ring.
  • Now worried, Monkey goes to ask Lao Chun for advice, and discovers that his sacred bull is missing, and that he stole a magic ring.  Lao Chun, happy to finally know where his bull is, quickly captures the rhino king and returns him home.  Don’t think about this too much.  The strength of the various members of the chinese pantheon is very uneven and can shift wildly from story to story.  It being his bull also helped.
  • They continue on and find another river.  This time, there is a ferry there, and the ferryman agrees to take them across.  She tells them that the water is clean, but they shouldn’t drink it.  The typical idiots Sanzang and Piggy do so anyway and are soon groaning in pain from their stomachs.  They get to the village on the other side, and find out that they are now in Womanland of Western Liang.   They just crossed the pregnancy-revealing river, which only women over the age of 20 are supposed to drink from, so they’re now pregnant.  Being male, this is causing some problems.  They need to go to the Miscarriage Spring ing Child Free Cave (again, I’m not making this shit up) to abort the pregnancy. Unfortunately, a Taoist (can you tell that the people telling this story didn’t like the Taoists?) has taken the cave and changed it to the Hermitage of Immortals.  He demands rich gifts for access to the water.
  • Monkey fights the taoist, who is of course, actually a demon.  While he’s distracted, Ogre sneaks in an fills a bucket with water.  Monkey breaks off the fight and leaves.  Sanzang and Piggy are given the water, and take massive, bloody shits, but feel better.
  • Continuing into Western Liang, they enter the city of women.  They go to the male welcoming center to get their passports inspected.  Their arrival is reported to the Queen, who is apparently desperate for a dick, because she immediately insists that they be married.  Monkey, being the surprisingly consistent voice of reason in the later stories, tells Sanzang to pretend to agree.  The rest will continue west, and Sanzang can sneak off and catch up later.
  • Sanzang agrees, and they all eat the wedding feast.  He accompanies his friends to the border to see them off and then, completely forgetting the plan, he tells the Queen to return home so he can continue his quest. 
  • She is naturally hurt and confused.  “You already got engaged.  You already ate the wedding feast.  Tonight, we’re going to fuck like rabbits.  You dan’t go back on your fucking word!”  Piggy gets pissed.  “You slut, do you really think a monk would want to marry a dried up skeleton like you?  Let him go!”  She is so surprised and scared that she faints.  She is not exactly a powerful female character.  Another woman runs from the crowd and screams “Come back, priest!  Fuck me!”  Ogre slaps her for being horny and she summons a whirlwind to carry her and the priest off in retaliation.
  • Sighing, Monkey tracks the woman to a cave, changes into a bee this time, just for variety, and enters.  Inside, he sees the wanton woman trying to seduce Sanzang.  Monkey weighs letting the priest get lucky, but figures he’d rather stick to his vows, so he barges in.  The woman is, of course, a demon, and grows a scorpion tail.  “Why can’t it ever be simple?” thinks monkey as he charges in.  They fight, and Monkey is getting the upper hand when he feels a sharp pain in his side, followed by unbearable burning.  The scorpion demon stung him, and her venom makes him flee.
  • She goes back to continue her seduction. “Why not just try it, priest?  I’ll show you how to use your dick, and you can stick it anywhere.”  “Are you nuts?  I just saw you grow a scorpion tail? Hell no, I’m sticking with my monk vows.”
  • They argue back and forth all night, and Monkey doesn’t know what to do, so he asks Kuan-Yin.  She tells him to ask the Star Officer of the Pleiades (a constellation) for help.  Monkey gets the star, and they wait outside until she drags the monk out onto the porch to try a different seductions.  The star cries out once, and she turns into her scorpion form.  He cries out again, and her body crumbles to dust.
  • They head out, with Sanzang still trying to shake off the image of a beautiful, willing woman turning into a scorpion demon and then to dust.  They continue traveling until it is once again summer.  Monkey is impatient and scouting ahead when a group of bandits falls on Sanzang.  The rob him and tie him up, hanging from a tree.
  • And with the priest stuck dangling from a tree, it’s the perfect time for this installment of Gods and Monsters.  This is a segment where I get into a little more detail about the personalities and history of one of the gods or monsters from this week’s pantheon that was not discussed in the main story.  This week’s monster is the Ba Jiao Gui, or Banana Ghost.  It’s not exactly what you’re thinking, but it’s close.  The Ba Jiao Gui, also known as the Nang Thai in Thailand, is a spirit of the wild banana tree, similar to a Greek nymph. 
  • The ghost appear under the tree at night, especially on full moon nights.  She is often seen wailing in despair and may be holding a baby.  You’ll know it’s her and not just a random lost mother because her feet won’t touch the ground.  The banana ghost sometimes has a greenish complexion, causing her to blend in with the tree, though he may also pass through or into the tree if she wants.
  • Despite her somewhat ominous appearance, she is generally considered to be benevolent, and will sometimes give food to passing Buddhist monks.  She has also been known to attack men who have beaten or raped women, so assholes are justifiably afraid of her.
  • Given that the wild banana tree is often haunted, and that it is considered very bad luck to cut down a tree haunted by a Ba Jiao Gui, the trees are usually not allowed to grow inside the villages, but often grow up at the edges of cultivated fields or on roadsides. 
  • The ghost also, for some reason, knows the lucky number for the lottery.  How isn’t really explained.  Maybe the baby that also isn’t explained tells her.  If you’re greedy or desperate enough, you can tie a red string around the spirit’s tree, fasten the string to the tree with lots of sharp needles or nails, and tie the other end to you bedpost.  That night, the ghost will appear and beg to be set free from the torment of the nails.  You can bargain with her for the winning numbers in exchange for her freedom.  Of course, this can be risky, because if you don’t free her quickly enough after you make the bargain, she’ll fucking murder you.  Honestly, I can’t say I blame her.
  • So if you’re out in the forests of China or Thailand and you see red string attached to a banana tree with nails, take the time to remove them.  Ba Jiao Gui might just let you get lucky.

That’s it for this episode of Myth Your Teacher Hated.  Keep up with new episodes on our Facebook page, on iTunes, on Stitcher or on TuneIn, or you can follow us on Twitter as @HardcoreMyth.  You can also find news and episodes on our website at myths your teacher hated dot com.  If you like what you’ve heard, I’d appreciate a review on iTunes, since it helps increase the show’s standing and let more people know it exists.  If you have any questions, any gods or monsters you’d want to learn about, or any ideas for future stories that you’d like to hear, feel free to drop me a line.  I’m trying to pull as much material from as many different cultures as possible, but there are all sorts of stories I’ve never heard, so suggestions are appreciated.  The theme music is by Tiny Cheese Puff, whom you can find on fiverr.com.

Next time, we’ll be taking a break from the story of the Monkey King for a special Valentine’s Day episode.  We’ll be going back to ancient Greece for one of the first great love stories, the tale of Psyche and Eros.  It’s got all of the elements of your classic chick flick: love at first sight, a vindictive mother trying to keep the lovers apart, and a woman going to unbelievable lengths to be with a guy she barely knows.  We’ll pick back up and finish the Monkey king afterwards.  That’s all for now.  Thanks for listening.