Myths and Legends of China
Grand Master of the Heavenly Stables
In order to keep him occupied, Sun was appointed Grand Master of the Heavenly Stables, and was entrusted with the feeding of Yü Huang’s horses; his official celestial title being Pi-ma Wên. Later on, learning the object of the creation of this derisory appointment, he overturned the Master’s throne, seized his staff, broke down the South Gate of Heaven, and descended on a cloud to Hua-kuo Shan.
Grand Superintendent of the Heavenly Peach-garden
Yü Huang in great indignation organized a siege of Hua-kuo Shan, but the Kings of Heaven and the generals with their celestial armies were repulsed several times. Sun now arrogated to himself the pompous title of Grand Saint, Governor of Heaven. He had this emblazoned on his banners, and threatened Yü Huang that he would carry destruction into his kingdom if he refused to Page 330recognize his new dignity. Yü Huang, alarmed at the result of the military operations, agreed to the condition laid down by Sun. The latter was then appointed Grand Superintendent of the Heavenly Peach-garden, the fruit of which conferred immortality, and a new palace was built for him.
Having made minute observations on the secret properties of the peaches, Sun ate of them and was thus assured against death. The time was ripe for him to indulge in his tricks without restraint, and an opportunity soon presented itself. Deeply hurt at not having been invited to the feast of the Peach Festival, P’an-t’ao Hui, given periodically to the Immortals by Wang-mu Niang-niang, the Goddess of the Immortals, he resolved upon revenge. When the preparations for the feast were complete he cast a spell over the servants, causing them to fall into a deep sleep, and then ate up all the most juicy meats and drank the fine wines provided for the heavenly guests. Sun had, however, indulged himself too liberally; with heavy head and bleary eye he missed the road back to his heavenly abode, and came unaware to the gate of Lao Chün, who was, however, absent from his palace. It was only a matter of a few minutes for Sun to enter and swallow the pills of immortality which Lao Chün kept in five gourds. Thus Sun, doubly immortal, riding on the mist, again descended to Hua-kuo Shan.