Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Moon-Maiden

The Moon-Maiden: A Japanese Fairy Tale

Once there lived a bamboo cutter and his wife who longed for children. One night the woman asked the great Mountain Fujiyama to send a little child to comfort her. And from the top of the mountain, there was a gleam of light. The woman called her husband, who went to the top of the mountain and found a "tiny moon-child, fragile, dainty, radiant, clad in flimsy, filmy moonshine, more beautiful than anything he had ever seen before." The child told the bamboo cutter than she was Princess Moonbeam, daughter of the Moon Lady, sent to Earth to comfort the couple. The man took her home and the Moon-child gave them comfort and joy for many years.
Warwick Goble

As she grew, she became more and more beautiful. "About her, too, there was a strange, earthly charm that made all who saw her love her." One day as the Mikado himself drove by, he saw the Princess and fell in love with her. He wanted to marry her, but as her duty as child was over, the time had come for the Princess to go back to her true mother. The Mikado and her adopted parents begged for her to stay with them on earth, but when the moon rose, the Lady of the Moon came down to take back her daughter. The Princess was glad to go home, but wept for those she left behind. Her bright tears took wings and floated away to carry her love to the Mikado, and the bamboo cutter and his wife. Those same gleaming tears are still visible. As children chase the beautiful fireflies over Japan's marshes and groves each summer, their parents tell them the story of the Moon Princess and her messages of love.

Matt BenDaniel

Note: this summary and quotations were taken from "My Bookhouse Through Fairy Halls", first published in 1920. The details of the story vary from other versions, like this online version.

Fun fact (from wikipedia): In The Neverending Story by Michael Ende, "Moonchild" is the new name that Bastian gives to the Childlike Empress, thus saving the world of Fantastica. It drove me crazy that you could never understand what he says at the end!

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