Monk, you’re throwing your life away. Your master’s mine now, and I’m going to steam him for a feast. Come here and see if you can beat me. If you can hold out for three rounds I’ll give you your master back; but if you can’t I’ll cook you with him and you can forget all about going to the Western Heaven.
~ Tuolong to Sha Wujing.
The Tuolong (in Chinese: 鼉龍; literally "Water Lizard Dragon") is an antagonist of the 1592 classic Chinese novel Journey to the West by the late Wu Cheng'en. He is the ninth son of the Dragon King of the Jing River (in Chinese: 涇河龍王) and was placed in Black River (in Chinese: 黑水河) in Hengyang Valley (in Chinese: 衡陽峪).
That awful boy is my younger sister’s ninth son. My brother-in-law, her husband, sent the wrong amount of wind and cut down on the rain. A heavenly edict was sent to the human prime minister Wei Zheng, who beheaded him in a dream. I brought my sister here because she had nowhere else to live and bring the boy up. Two years ago a disease killed her, and as the boy was then homeless I sent him to nourish his nature and cultivate the truth in the Black River.
~ The Western Dragon King about Tuolong's origins.
Tuolong is the ninth son of the Dragon King of the Jing River. When his father was beheaded for violating the Heaven's rules, his uncle, the Western Dragon King placed him in the Black River until when he learns to be a person. Unfortunately, Tuolong didn't listen to his uncle's teachings: He usurped the home of the river's deity, and waited for Xuanzang's arrival, knowing that eating the monk would grant him immortality.
Tuolong first appeared posed as a boatman, pretends to ferry Xuanzang across the river, and captured Xuanzang and Zhu Bajie when they are unaware. Sun Wukong, recognized the boatman to be the culprit, told Sha Wujing, who then went into the river to see the truth, and learned that Tuolong intended to use Xuanzang for his uncle's birthday, wanted to invite his uncle to eat the monk so they can achieve immortality together. After Wujing destroy the gate of Tuolong's cave, the two fought. Wujing lost the fight, and retreated back, told Wukong everything happened. At the same time, the river's deity appeared, revealed to Wukong and Wujing that Tuolong had usurped his home and is the Western Dragon King's nephew.
Tuolong later ordered a minion to carry the inviting letter to his uncle's home. Wukong met and killed the minion, then took the letter and met the Western Dragon King. Upon learning this, the Dragon King ordered his eldest son, the Crown Prince Mo'ang (in Chinese: 摩昂太子), to bring an army and arrest Tuolong.
When Mo'ang and his army arrived to Tuolong's lair and told him to return Xuanzang and Bajie, Tuolong angrily refused and the two and their armies fought. Tuolong lost the fight, and was captured. After a brief discussion with Wukong, Mo'ang took Tuolong back to the West Sea, where the latter would receive a punishment for his crimes. Therefore, the Black River's deity also had his home back.
Much later, when Wukong met the Western Dragon King again, the latter mentioned that Tuolong is still imprisoned under the sea, and they hadn't yet decide his fate, but Wukong stated that they can decide it whatever they want.
Powers and Abilities
Bamboo Linked Bronze Club: Tuolong is armed with a Bamboo Linked Bronze Club (in Chinese: 竹節鋼鞭).
Live underwater: Being a Water Dragon, Tuolong can live underwater, just like his relatives.
Shapeshifting: Tuolong had disguised as a boatman to capture Xuanzang and Zhu Bajie.
It’s been hard work getting him, but this priest is a holy man who has cultivated his conduct for ten lives. One piece of his flesh is enough to make you immortal. I’ve waited for him long enough, and now my ambition has been fulfilled.
~ Tuolong after successfully captured Xuanzang and Zhu Bajie.
Little ones, fetch the metal steamer at once, cook those two monks whole, then write an invitation and deliver it to my second uncle asking him over to eat them as a birthday feast.
~ Tuolong wanting to invite his uncle to eat Xuanzang.
Your Excellency Second Uncle Ao. Your nephew Tuo Jie bows in greeting and is deeply grateful for your kind regards. Today I have captured two priests from the East who are great rarities. Not daring to consume them myself, and remembering that your birthday is imminent, I have arranged a simple banquet to wish you eternal life. I beg that you honour me with your illustrious presence.
~ Tuolong's letter to the Dragon King.
My own cousin taking their side! You’d have me hand the Tang Priest over, but nothing comes that easy in this world. Just because you’re scared of him it doesn’t mean that I am. If he’s really got such powers and he has the guts to go three rounds with me in front of my palace gates I’ll give him his master back. If he’s no match for me I’ll capture him too and cook him with the others. And this time there’ll be no guests or relations; I’ll fasten the doors, my little ones will sing and dance for me, and I’ll sit in the place of honour and have a fine old time bloody well eating them myself.
~ Tuolong's villainous breakdown, as he angered to the fact that his cousin Mo'ang is on Wukong's side.
In the novel, Tuolong is the first underwater villain to be introduced, with the Nine Headed Bug as the last one. However, in the 1986 TV series, he is the last one to be introduced, with the Nine Headed Bug as the first one.
Tuolong is actually an alligator, as his name is just another word for Chinese people to call alligators. In the Eastern culture, alligators are often considered to be associated with dragons, and are even named "muddy dragons".