After the Monkey King learned flying and self-transformation from a Taoist master, he returned to his mountain. He had a new problem, though: he had no weapon that would match his abilities. He tried a big rock, a big tree, even a big banana, but nothing worked. Then, an old monkey told him of the Dragon King, and his treasure-filled palace at the bottom of the Eastern Sea.
The Monkey King was thrilled. He went down to the Eastern Sea, descended to the bottom, kicked open the palace gate, walked in and plopped himself down. “Yo, King. I need a proper weapon for my stature. You have lots of weapons, so you’re going to give me one.”
The Dragon King was in a quandary. On one hand, this guy just waltzed into his palace and demanded a weapon – who the heck does he think he is? On the other hand, if a 4,000-pound gorilla can sit anywhere it likes, where does the King of 4,000-pound gorillas sit? So, not wanting any trouble, he ordered his subjects to bring out some weapons for the Monkey King to inspect.
They brought out spears, swords, maces, halberds, but all of them were too light and flimsy for the Monkey King. The Dragon King was growing desperate when his wife sidled up to him and suggested the giant iron pillar sitting in the back of the treasury.
The Dragon’s subjects dragged out the pillar, which was wide as a barrel and 20 feet tall. Monkey tried it, and found that he could lift it, but it was too cumbersome to use. “Hmm,” said the Monkey King. “I like it, but I wish it could be smaller…”
As soon as he said that, the pillar glowed and shrank to the size of a shepherd’s staff. The Monkey King was delighted. He began whirling and twirling it, causing huge currents in the palace and almost sweeping the Dragon King and his subjects away.
Happy with having found the perfect weapon, Monkey magically shrunk the rod again—this time to the size of a needle. He tucked it behind his ear, where he could carry it for future use in battle. He quickly thanked the Dragon King and set off for his next adventure: he had Heaven to invade and some Peaches of Immortality to steal.