The Monkey King
is one of the four classic works of Chinese literature, standing alongside Dream of the Red Chamber
, the Water Margin and Three Kingdoms as foundational pillars in Chinese civilization. As such, we are pleased to present this unabridged and manually annotated transcript of the story for advanced students of Chinese literature. If you are starting from scratch, we suggest beginning with part one
, which outlines the Chinese creation myth and discusses the mysterious origins of a stone monkey of apparently divine provenance living on a remote Pacific island.
As our story settles into straightforward narrative, our attention turns today from this mystic stone monkey to a pack of wild monkeys who live and play further down the mountain on this mysterious Pacific isle. On discovering a wild stream whose waters "gush out like melons", the pack determines to track down the source of the stream and set off up the mountain until they discover a mysterious waterfall set into the face of a cliff. But what curious secret is hidden in this waterfall, and how will . All is revealed in this passage.
As with all of our annotated Chinese short stories, we encourage premium subscribers to click through to our text page and read this 16th century classic in the original Chinese. Simply hover your mouse (or tap your touch-sensitive screen) over any character for a popup containing an exact definition of the word in its proper context, along with supplementary notes explaining particularly antiquated turns of phrase. And if you have questions or requests for other short stories you would like to see us annotate in this fashion, please send them by email to firstname.lastname@example.org