What the Moon Saw-First Evening

What the Moon Saw-First Evening

My Apologies. I accidentally skipped over the Moon’s first evening yesterday.

What the Moon Saw-First Evening

Ah, on with the moon and its travels.

The artist was lonely in his apartment, but the moon had promised that he would come and tell the artist the things he had seen so he would not be lonely. On the first evening the moon had been in India shining upon the Ganges. There upon the shore of the Ganges was a young woman. She brought with her a lamp. She set the lamp upon the river and watched it float away. She knew that if it stayed lit her love was alive. If the flame was suddenly extinguished then her love was dead. She watched on. The flame stayed lit. She was happy and overjoyed that her love was still alive, even though there was a snake near her feet.

That was the first night.

What the Moon Saw-First EveningObservations

I’ve never heard of this superstition that the young woman performs. Believe it or not, there is an Indian tradition to set lit lanterns upon the rivers, but it doesn’t quite match up with what the girl does in this story. The festival is called Diwali and it lasts five days in India. How you would practice Diwali is determined by where you’re at in India and what religion you are. The third day of Diwali is known as Lakshmi Puja. One of the things people do on Lakshmi Puja is lights lanterns everywhere, often in rows, but they will also light lanterns, called Diyas, and set them afloat on rivers and other waters. This is the day of Diwali where people think about and celebrate important relationships and friendships.

The girl in this story is performing more of a fortune-telling superstition. It sounds very similar to the practice by which a young woman would look over her shoulder into a mirror down into a well to see her future husband. This ritual she performs sounds more like a silly superstition rather than any actual cultural or religious ritual, but I could be wrong. India is a big place; it’s known as a sub-continent after all. People in India have all kinds of traditions depending on where in the country they live. This may actually be a little backwoodsy tradition that people practice in India, but it honestly sounds more like a European import, much like looking down a well with a mirror.

You have to remember that India is a country that largely practiced arranged marriage. There would have been young women who fell in love and hoped for a relationship with their chosen man, but was it common? Was it likely? It probably wasn’t as likely as we would think it would be, but we also have to take into consideration that India was colonized at one point by the British and British ideas and ways of living were carried to India. Things were changing. Was it probable that there was a young woman sneaking out at night to set a lantern upon the water to see if her love was alive? No, it wasn’t probable, but it wasn’t impossible.

What the Moon Saw-First EveningThemes

I think the moon showed the artist that he wasn’t alone in his loneliness when he told him of the first night. There were people other places who were just as lonely as he was. This young woman was alone waiting for her love to return. She didn’t know whether he was alive or dead. She just waited. She hung onto a silly superstition in hopes that he might still be alive. The world around, no matter your race or country of origin, you can be lonely; you can feel the same emotions everywhere else feels. In the fact that others are lonely as well, you’re not quite as lonely as you originally thought.

Overall

Why mention the snake?

Weigh In

What other superstitions akin to the superstition the girl performs in this story do you know?

Do you think the artist felt less lonely after hearing this story?

What the Moon Saw-Introduction

Moon by Ashe ArterberryWhat the Moon Saw-Introduction

I have always enjoyed the moon. There is something mysterious and beautiful about this silvery disk that comes out at night. In addition to being the ruling light of the night, the moon changes and transforms. Sometimes it’s orange. Sometimes it’s a crescent. Sometimes there’s only half of it there. The sun can’t do nearly as many interesting things as the moon can.

Once upon a time there was a man who was lonely because he had moved to a new town. The man is an artist and was used to seeing green hill and trees outside of his window, but now he sees only chimneys and soot. There was not a familiar face there, but the artist was surprised to find the moon. A familiar face at last!

The moon and the artist spoke. The Moon told the artist that he would come and visit the artist. If the artist painted the scenes the moon told to him, he would have a wonderful book full of paintings. The moon did not come every night, sometimes it was obscured by the clouds, but on the nights the moon did come it told the man of wonderful things. The artist will relay the things the moon saw in following tales.

Observations

I honestly really like the moon. It’s a very neat piece of our existence. It’s there at night. It shines silver. It may change colors. It may loom large and heavy in the Autumn. It may disappear all together. Because I like the moon, I like stories about the moon.

This man, this artist, is an example of a person moving to an unfamiliar place. Think of his scenario, which is still common today. He’s a gifted person, a talented artist, in order to make a living doing what he’s talented at he has to leave his home in the country and move to the city. Any artist living in the country will tell you that it’s difficult to make a living in a small town. People just don’t appreciate art in the same manner and to the same dollar extent that people in the city would appreciate it. He’s left his home with everything familiar and moved to a city. He’s not used to the crowds. He’s not used to people being so close. It’s hard to imagine how someone could be lonely surrounded by so many people, but it’s entirely possible, especially considering someone who is an artist. Artists generally fall more on the introverted side than the extroverted side. Being around so many people is probably exhausting for him. He’s probably really lonely. Seeing the moon was probably just what he needed.

Themes

Even though this artist may not realize it at the beginning of the story, there are familiar things wherever you go. The moon will always be the same moon. The sun will always be the same sun. It will still rain. It will still get light and get dark. There will be people there with two legs and two arms. There will still be kindness. There will still be smiles. There will still be meanness. There will still be evil. No matter where you go, some things are always going to be the same.

It can still be tough though when you go to a new place. This artist found that out. He wasn’t familiar with much of anything, but he finally saw the moon, which was something he knew. He will recognize more familiar things as his life in the city goes on, but at first it’s overwhelming. It would be this way for any of us.

There is a universal truth in this story. We feel strange when we go to a new place, until we recognize things that seem familiar to us.

Overall

I’m looking forward to reading about what the moon saw. Probably nothing to salacious as this is a fairy tale, but you never know.

Weigh In

Do you like the moon?

Do you think you would feel equally as overwhelmed by moving to an unfamiliar place?