Monkey says:

Better sit in one house than run to three.

Two in hand is better than three in bond.

A household cannot have two masters.

Sandy says:

In a thousand days, one eats up a thousand measures of rice.

Pigsy says:

Better bury a priest alive than stop him getting his fill.


I loved the TV series ‘Monkey’ that was on the ABC during the early 80s. I have found most of the first series on DVD, and just recently found a copy of an English translation of some of the original stories.

Wu Ch’êng-ên was born in Huai-an, Kiangsu, China around 1505, and died in about 1580. He was known at the time as a poet, and is believed to have been a District Magistrate.

He based the fables of Monkey on the life of a buddhist monk, Hsüan-tsang. Living in the 7th Century, Hsüan-tsang was also known as Tripitaka, and there are several contemporary accounts of his journey to India, and by the time of Wu Ch’êng-ên, these had transformed into legend.

The bureaucracy that is in Heaven is a direct reflection of the Chinese government of the time. The stories of Monkey are part satire, part poetry and part allegory. Tripitaka is the everyman, Monkey the genius and Pigsy the appetite. Sandy is said to be the sincerity or whole-heartedness.

The TV series is probably more based on one of the Japanese translations, although if the two (book & series) are from seperate translations, they match well.

The thing I like best are the proverbs - most of them just crack me up. I’ll post a whole heap of them as I come across them.

Monkey says:

A single strand does not make a thread, nor can one hand clap. Even a chicken must work for it’s food. Sit tight for ten days, and in one day you’ll shoot nine rapids.

Tripitaka says:

Heaven favours, where virtue rules. And what would this be but to paint the tiger and carve the swan? To save one life is better than to build a seven-story pagoda.

Monkey! Remake

[BBC NEWS World Asia-Pacific Monkey magic casts spell in Asia]1 Hot on the heels of the news of the Dark Crystal remake, comes this, an announcement that a Japanese company is redoing Monkey!, the tale of a priest and his companions, Monkey, Pigsy and Sandy as they travel across China to India in search of the Buddha’s Scrolls. It’s one of my all-time favourite shows (I now have the complete set, including the dozen or so that were never shown on Australian TV). I’ve read the original book, or rather a translation, written by Wu-chèn Eng, and can sagely say (that was supposed to be safely, but I like the typo) that the original TV series was true to the story. I hope the new one is.