How The Moon Become Beautiful


“How the Moon Became Beautiful” is a beautiful folk tale explaining why it is so happy and bright, published in Chinese Fables and Folk Stories (1908), translated by Mary Hayes Davis and Chow-Leung.

How the Moon Became Beautiful

The moon is lovely with its round, bright face, which shines with soft and gentle

light on all the world of man, but once there was a time when he was not so beautiful

as he is now, six thousand years ago, the face of the moon became changed in a single

night, before that time, his face had been so dark and gloomy that no one liked

to look at him, and for this reason, he was always despondent; one day, he complained

to the flowers and the stars, for they were the only things that would ever look in his

face, he said, “I do not like to be the moon; I wish I were a star or a flower,

if I were a star, even the smallest one, some great general would care for me, but alas

I am only the moon, and no one likes me; if I could only be a flower and grow

in a garden where the beautiful earth women come, they would place me in their hair

and praise my fragrance and beauty, or if I could even grow in the wilderness where

no one could see, the birds would surely come and sing sweet songs for me, but I am

only the moon and no one honors me.

The stars answered and said, 

“We cannot help you, we were born here, and we can not leave our places; we never had anyone to help us; we do our duty; we work all the day and a twinkle in the dark night to make the skies more beautiful, but that is all we can do.”

They added as they smiled coldly at the sorrowful moon; then the flowers smiled

sweetly and said, 

“We do not know how we can help you; we always live in one place in a garden near the most beautiful maiden in all the world, as she is kind to everyone in trouble, we will tell her about you; we love her very much, and she loves us, her name is Tsenio”, 

still the moon was sad.

So one evening, he went to see the beautiful maiden Tsenio, and when he saw her,

he loved her at once, and he said, 

“Your face is gorgeous. I wish that you would come to me and that my face would be like your face; your emotions are gentle and full of grace, come with me, and we will be as one and perfect; I know that even the worst people in all the world would have only to look at you, and they would love you, tell me, how did you come to be so beautiful?”,

“I have always lived with gentle and happy people, and I believe that is the cause

of beauty and goodness,” answered Tsenio, and so the moon went every night to see

the maiden; he knocked on her window, and she came. When he saw how gentle

and beautiful she was, his love grew stronger, and he wished more and more to be

with her always, 

one day, Tsenio said to her mother, “I should like to go to the moon and always live

with him. Will you allow me to go?”

her mother thought so little of the question that she made no reply, and Tsenio told

her friends that she would be the moon’s bride.

In a few days, she was gone; her mother searched everywhere but could not find her,

and one of Tsenio‘s friends said, “She has gone with the moon, for he asked her

many times,” a year and a year passed by, and Tsenio the gentle and beautiful earth

maiden did not return. The people said, “She has gone forever; she is with the moon.”

The End