"Mothers" (Season 2, Episode 12)

[Contributed by Nick McCarthy (nm@deakin.edu.au)]


The pilgrims are travelling through rural countryside when Pigsy stops suddenly and says he can hear a woman crying. Monkey can't hear anything but sure enough, after listening for several seconds, he too can hear the faint sound of a woman's anguish. Monkey and Pigsy go off to investigate, followed closely by Tripitaka and Sandy. In a clearing, Pigsy discovers a young village girl attempting to hang herself with a piece of rope. He tries to stop her but he she pushes him away. Monkey immediately slaps the woman savegly in the face.

"She's hysterical, I'm supposed to hit her!" [Monkey]

He then slaps Pigsy for the fun of it! Tripitaka is shocked by the woman's suicidal tendancies and begs her to explain why she is so upset. The woman says that she can no longer live with herself because she accidentally killed her own daughter, Qui-Ye. Tripitaka is certain that it was an accident because a mother's love would prevent her from deliberately killing her own child.

In a nearby village, the pilgrims return the distraught young woman to her family. An elderly Grandma thanks them for their kindness and concern and tells them how the mother killed her own baby.

In a flashback, the Grandma explains that a witch with a magic whip came to the village. The witch flies down from a mountain on her horse drawn chariot cloud, in search of young children to kidnap and kill. After overpowering a frightened group of villagers, the witch stalks the village streets, listening for the tell tale signs of young sobbing. A group of mothers are hiding in a house nearby, terrified of being discovered by the witch. Qui-Ye, the baby of the now suicidal woman, begins to cry and the others beg the woman to keep her quiet. In an act of desperation, the mother covers the mouth of her child firmly to stop her sobbing. Luckily, the witch does not discover the group and leaves. All the mothers are relieved, except the young woman who painfully discovers that she has accidentally killed her own child by suffocating her.

The Grandma goes on to explain that the witch has kidnapped 100 or more babies and she lives in a remote moutain hideaway called Kijo which is too steep to climb. She says that only someone who is magic could hope to fight the witch.

The pilgrims are lead into a courtyard by the Grandma, who shows them a well which is apparently dry. Monkey disputes this, saying that he can see water gleaming at the bottom. Monkey, Pigsy and Sandy lift up a bucket from the well. Sandy choses this moment to make a quip:

Sandy: "Pigsy was telling me of his latest invention- dehydrated water"
Pigsy: "How does it work?"
Sandy: "You just add water"

Monkey tastes the water which is salty. He finds this strange because the well is 1000 miles from the sea. The grandma reveals that many years ago, the spring that filled the well dried up. A woman who's child was stolen by the witch became mad with despair and her tears were so great, that they filled the well and eventually, she threw herself down the well. Tripitaka is appalled by such a sad story and begins to pray to try and help the situation. The sad moment causes Pigsy and Sandy to reminisce about their own mothers. Pigsy says that when he fought with his pig brothers for every mouthful of food, his mother always took his side. Monkey is unmoved and slightly sickened by Pigsy's sentimental memories.

"She petted her dear little Pigsy I dare say, mother's darling! What would I know though? The only mother I ever had was a cold hard rock!" [Monkey]

Back at the village home where the pilgrims are staying, Monkey feels slightly saddened about not having a mother. Tripitaka thinks that he is sulking in self pity and tries to console Monkey by saying that he is special and unique because his mother is the whole world.

"Only you, who were born out of the four elements, could hope to understand many things that others never will. Be happy that your mother is earth, fire, water" [Tripitaka]

Monkey takes heart in this thought and begins to think about what it would be like if Mother Earth was a real person.

"I wonder if she minds me walking all over her? Of course you don't, you're glad you can support me, aren't you mother dearest?" [Monkey]

Monkey is then amazed to see the image of a beautiful and distinguised woman appear before his very eyes, only to fade seconds afterwards. He believes that the image is the manifestation of Mother Earth.

The next morning, Pigsy and Sandy raise village support and build a series of traps in the hope of catching the witch, who they are expecting to arrive later that day. Pigsy has taken on a leadership role and gets all the village men to line up so that he can inspect them. Being exceptionally lazy, Pigsy gets a group of villagers to dig a large hole in order to trap the witch. Whilst they are digging Pigsy jokes:

"Let me know if you strike oil. We need jokes to keep spirits high"

Whilst another group of villagers build steaks and weapons to fight the witch, Sandy paces around giving a long and hypocritial lecture on the importance of everyone working to drive the witch away. He says that nobody should be standing around and talking, despite the fact that he is doing just that!

Monkey summons his cloud in order to fly to the witch's hideaway. He discovers the witch mountain, Kijo: a giant purple, serpent-like structure surrounded by a misty lake. Upon his arrival, Monkey turns into a horse-fly so that he can enter Kijo undetected. Once inside, he is surprised to see children playing happily. He deduces that these must be the witch's own children because she is playing affectionately with them. The witch's youngest daughter, Ido, sees the horse-fly and picks "Monkey" up. She asks if she can play with it but the witch says no because horse-flies bite. She tells Ido to take the horse-fly outside and stand on it! The child does so. Once outside, an injured and dazed Monkey returns to his normal form, complaining of a severe backache. He is shocked to see a basket filled with the skulls of dead children, which he prays over before returning to the village.

Monkey reports the news to Tripitaka, saying that the witch has children of her own and yet she murders other people's. The Grandma believes that the witch is a wasp spirit who needs children to lay her eggs in. Monkey wants to fight the witch but Tripitaka doesn't want him to resort to violence.

Tripitaka: "No violence Monkey!"
Monkey: "Oh, okay Master, no violence. I'll kill that witch as gently as possible"

In the village streets Pigsy is still preparing his traps for the witch. A big hole has been dug and filled with spears. Monkey and Sandy then arrive and Pigsy is worried that Monkey will fall into the hole, so he runs to stop him. However, Pigsy falls in himself! Monkey and Sandy are very amused and make jokes, much to Pigsy's annoyance.

"We could have some crackling or a pork kebab perhaps?, ready skewered!" [Monkey]

A villager alerts Monkey that the witch has arrived and Monkey and Sandy run off to confront her. Pigsy is left in the hole to holler cowardly. The wasp witch kicks down a baricade and fights off a horde of villagers, whipping them with her magic whip. Monkey and Sandy fight her and they are soon joined by Pigsy, but the witch manages to overpower the three pilgrims. She flies off in her chariot cloud and is pursued by Monkey. The wasp spirit breaks into a nearby house and steals a child from it's mother. Monkey tries to stop her but she threatens the child so he is powerless to act.

The mother is taken into care by Tripitaka and The Grandma but she quickly goes insane at the thought of losing her baby and parades up and down the street in a fit of mad psychosis.

Monkey and Sandy try to formulate a plan to effectively fight off the wasp witch and Sandy reveals that Pigsy has gone into the witch's mountain disguised as a pig. Monkey believes that he'll be caught for sure.

In the moutain, Pigsy is taunted by the witch's children who wish to have roast pork for dinner. The witch agrees and tells the children to tie the piglet up. Pigsy, still in disguise, is tied up in a room with all the kidnapped children from the village. However, the rope securing him is not fastened properly and he escapes.

Pigsy reports back to the others and tells them that the witch's eggs turn into grubs which then turn into her own children. Tripitaka asks the others to leave whilst he meditates. Whilst he prays, Buddha appears in the sky above and asks Tripitaka what his problem is. The priest says he is facing a dilemma over whether or not to use violence against the witch. Buddha says that "she" will deal with the problem.

Buddha appears in Kijo and takes the witch's youngest child, Ido. "She" gives the child to the pilgrims and asks them to guard her. When the witch cannot find her Ido, she becomes worried and angry and believes that Monkey has kidnapped her. She flies to the village in a fit of nervous rage.

Monkey, Pigsy and Sandy are waiting to fight the wasp witch once more. She reveals two large swords, labelling them as her "sting", which she uses to fight off the three pilgrims.

"With the strength of a mother's love, the wasp witch fought free" [The Narrator]

The witch discovers her daughter with Tripitaka. Buddha appears again and a dagger materializes on the ground near Ido. Buddha orders Tripitaka to to kill the child with the dagger but he refuses. The wasp witch begs for her child's safety but Buddha then uses a hypnotic force to make Monkey pick up the dagger and stab the child. Buddha absolves Monkey from any blame. The wasp witch is devastated by the death of the child, knowing now what it is like to grieve over a loved one. She rejects Buddha and stabs herself and dies. Monkey is stunned by Buddha's apparent lack of compassion, however, flower petals then fall from the sky and the witch and her child are brought back to life. The witch is overjoyed that her child is alive once more and thanks Buddha. Buddha cungers up a pomegranite, labelling it as the symbol of fertility and all things that need to live. The witch makes a pact to reform her ways.

That night, Monkey again imagines what it would be like to have a real mother of his own. He contemplates what life would be like having the witch as a mother and decides that it would be better than nothing. Tripitaka asks Monkey to go and tell the others that they are ready to leave. The Grandma remarks to Tripitaka about how kind and polite Monkey is. Tripitaka tells the Grandma that Monkey is feeling lonely because he doesn't have a mother. The Grandma says that in her heart, she will think of Monkey as her own son.

The pilgrims leave the village and set off on their journey once more. They are farewelled by the witch and her children who wave from high on a nearby mountain top.

"Buddha does not judge. We judge ourselves" [The Narrator]

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