The Lady in the Moon

Franciska Bosnjak/Flickr

My college students in China told me this tale of the lady who lives in the moon:

Her husband was a great archer. The villagers begged him to slay the dark monster that had been swallowing the sun at New Year. With his bow and seven arrows, the huntsman slew the dragon of darkness. The gods rewarded him with a medicine that would make him immortal. But his wife stole his stash and ate most of it herself.

When he learned of her betrayal, he angrily asked the gods to punish her.

The gods banished the lady to the moon, doomed to live alone…forever.

Eventually, her husband forgave her, and the gods took pity on the lonely lady. They flew her beloved pet rabbit to the moon to share her solitude.

When the moon is full, we can see the lady and her rabbit.

Once a year, in early autumn, when the moon is full and closest to the earth, the archer walks along the Milky Way to visit his lonely wife and her pet rabbit.

This is the autumn moon festival of China, when we too visit our loved ones who are far away.

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