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From Various Sources
Compiled & Edited by
Published byAbela Publishing, London
The Second Book of Moon Stories
Typographical arrangement of this edition
© Abela Publishing 2018
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The Man In The Moon
The Boy Who Had A Moon On His Forehead And A Star On
The Stones Of Five Colors And The Empress Jokwa
The Buried Moon
The Moon And The Great Snake
The Mouse And The Moonbeam
A Capful Of Moonshine
The Lady Of The Moon
Sun And Moon - American Indian, Yaqui
The Blue Moon
The Lassie And Her Godmother
The Bamboo-Cutter And The Moon-Child
The Stones Of Five Colors And The Empress Jokwa
The Moon And The Thunders
Rabbit And The Moon-Man
The Sun And The Moon - Turkish
The Story Of Argilius And The Flame-King
The Man in the Moon came tumbling down,
And enquired the way to Norwich;
He went by the south and burned his mouth
With eating cold pease porridge!
WHAT! have you never heard the story of the Man in the Moon? Then I must surely tell it, for it is very amusing, and there is not a word of truth in it.
The Man in the Moon was rather lonesome, and often he peeked over the edge of the moon and looked down upon the earth and envied all the people who lived together, for he thought it must be vastly more pleasant to have companions to talk to than to be shut up in a big planet all by himself, where he had to whistle to keep himself company.
One day he looked down and saw an alderman sailing up through the air towards him. This alderman was being translated (instead of being transported, owing to a misprint in the law) and as he came near the Man in the Moon called to him and said,
"How is everything down on the earth?"
"Everything is lovely," replied the alderman, "and I wouldn't leave it if I was not obliged to."
"What's a good place to visit down there? enquired the Man in the Moon.
"Oh, Norwich is a mighty fine place," returned the alderman, "and it's famous for its pease porridge;" and then he sailed out of sight and left the Man in the Moon to reflect upon what he had said.
The words of the alderman made him more anxious than ever to visit the earth, and so he walked thoughtfully home, and put a few lumps of ice in the stove to keep him warm, and sat down to think how he should manage the trip.
You see, everything went by contraries in the Moon, and when the Man wished to keep warm he knocked off a few chunks of ice and put them in his stove; and he cooled his drinking water by throwing red-hot coals of fire into the pitcher. Likewise, when he became chilly he took off his hat and coat, and even his shoes, and so became warm; and in the hot days of summer he put on his overcoat to cool off.
All of which seems very queer to you, no doubt; but it wasn't at all queer to the Man in the Moon, for he was accustomed to it.
Well, he sat by his ice-cool fire and thought about his journey to the earth, and finally he decided the only way he could get there was to slide down a moonbeam.
So he left the house and locked the door and put the key in his pocket, for he was uncertain how long he should be gone; and then he went to the edge of the moon and began to search for a good strong moonbeam.
At last he found one that seemed rather substantial and reached right down to a pleasant-looking spot on the earth; and so he swung himself over the edge of the moon, and put both arms tight around the moonbeam and started to slide down. But he found it rather slippery, and in spite of all his efforts to hold on he found himself going faster and faster, so that just before he reached the earth he lost his hold and came tumbling down head over heels and fell plump into a river.
The cool water nearly scalded him before he could swim out, but fortunately he was near the bank and he quickly scrambled upon the land and sat down to catch his breath.
By that time it was morning, and as the sun rose its hot rays cooled him off somewhat, so that he began looking about curiously at all the strange sights and wondering where on earth he was.
By and by a farmer came along the road by the river with a team of horses drawing a load of hay, and the horses looked so odd to the Man in the Moon that at first he was greatly frightened, never before having seen horses except from his home in the moon, from whence they looked a good deal smaller. But he plucked up courage and said to the farmer,
"Can you tell me the way to Norwich, sir?"
"Norwich?" repeated the farmer musingly; "I don't know exactly where it be, sir, but it's somewhere away to the south."
"Thank you," said the Man in the Moon.—But stop! I must not call him the Man in the Moon any longer, for of course he was now out of the moon; so I'll simply call him the Man, and you'll know by that which man I mean.
The Man in the Moon
Well, the Man in the—I mean the Man (but I nearly forgot what I have just said)—the Man turned to the south and began walking briskly along the road, for he had made up his mind to do as the alderman had advised and travel to Norwich, that he might eat some of the famous pease porridge that was made there. And finally, after a long and tiresome journey, he reached the town and stopped at one of the first houses he came to, for by this time he was very hungry indeed.
A good-looking woman answered his knock at the door, and he asked politely,
"Is this the town of Norwich, madam?"
"Surely this is the town of Norwich," returned the woman.
"I came here to see if I could get some pease porridge," continued the Man, "for I hear you make the nicest porridge in the world in this town."
"That we do, sir," answered the woman, "and if you'll step inside I'll give you a bowl, for I have plenty in the house that is newly made."
So he thanked her and entered the house, and she asked,
"Will you have it hot or cold, sir?"
"Oh, cold, by all means," replied the Man, "for I detest anything hot to eat."
She soon brought him a bowl of cold pease porridge, and the Man was so hungry that he took a big spoonful at once.
But no sooner had he put it into his mouth than he uttered a great yell, and began dancing frantically about the room, for of course the porridge that was cold to earth folk was hot to him, and the big spoonful of cold pease porridge had burned his mouth to a blister!
"What's the matter?" asked the woman.
"Matter!" screamed the Man; "why, your porridge is so hot it has burned me."
"Fiddlesticks!" she replied, "the porridge is quite cold."
"Try it yourself!" he cried. So she tried it and found it very cold and pleasant. But the Man was so astonished to see her eat the porridge that had blistered his own mouth that he became frightened and ran out of the house and down the street as fast as he could go.
The policeman on the first corner saw him running, and promptly arrested him, and he was marched off to the magistrate for trial.
"What is your name?" asked the magistrate.
"I haven't any," replied the Man; for of course as he was the only Man in the Moon it wasn't necessary he should have a name.
"Come, come, no nonsense!" said the magistrate, "you must have some name. Who are you?"
"Why, I'm the Man in the Moon."
"That's rubbish!" said the magistrate, eyeing the prisoner severely, "you may be a man, but you're not in the moon—you're in Norwich."
"That is true," answered the Man, who was quite bewildered by this idea.
"And of course you must be called something," continued the magistrate.
"Well, then," said the prisoner, "if I'm not the Man in the Moon I must be the Man out of the Moon; so call me that."
"Very good," replied the judge; "now, then, where did you come from?"
"Oh, you did, eh? How did you get here?"
"I slid down a moonbeam."
"Indeed! Well, what were you running for?"
"A woman gave me some cold pease porridge, and it burned my mouth."
The magistrate looked at him a moment in surprise, and then he said,
"This person is evidently crazy; so take him to the lunatic asylum and keep him there."
This would surely have been the fate of the Man had there not been present an old astronomer who had often looked at the moon through his telescope, and so had discovered that what was hot on earth was cold in the moon, and what was cold here was hot there; so he began to think the Man had told the truth. Therefore he begged the magistrate to wait a few minutes while he looked through his telescope to see if the Man in the Moon was there. So, as it was now night, he fetched his telescope and looked at the Moon,—and found there was no man in it at all!
"It seems to be true," said the astronomer, "that the Man has got out of the Moon somehow or other. Let me look at your mouth, sir, and see if it is really burned."
Then the Man opened his mouth, and everyone saw plainly it was burned to a blister! Thereupon the magistrate begged his pardon for doubting his word, and asked him what he would like to do next.
"I'd like to get back to the Moon," said the Man, "for I don't like this earth of yours at all. The nights are too hot."
"Why, it's quite cool this evening!" said the magistrate.
"I'll tell you what we can do," remarked the astronomer; "there's a big balloon in town which belongs to the circus that came here last summer, and was pawned for a board bill. We can inflate this balloon and send the Man out of the Moon home in it."
"That's a good idea," replied the judge. So the balloon was brought and inflated, and the Man got into the basket and gave the word to let go, and then the balloon mounted up into the sky in the direction of the moon.
The good people of Norwich stood on the earth and tipped back their heads, and watched the balloon go higher and higher, until finally the Man reached out and caught hold of the edge of the moon, and behold! the next minute he was the Man in the Moon again!
After this adventure he was well contented to stay at home; and I've no doubt if you look through a telescope you will see him there to this day.
a country were seven daughters of poor parents, who used to come daily to play under the shady trees in the King's garden with the gardener's daughter; and daily she used to say to them, "When I am married I shall have a son. Such a beautiful boy as he will be has never been seen. He will have a moon on his forehead and a star on his chin." Then her playfellows used to laugh at her and mock her.
But one day the King heard her telling them about the beautiful boy she would have when she was married, and he said to himself he should like very much to have such a son; the more so that though he had already four Queens he had no child. He went, therefore, to the gardener and told him he wished to marry his daughter. This delighted the gardener and his wife, who thought it would indeed be grand for their daughter to become a princess. So they said "Yes" to the King, and invited all their friends to the wedding. The King invited all his, and he gave the gardener as much money as he wanted. Then the wedding was held with great feasting and rejoicing.
A year later the day drew near on which the gardener's daughter was to have her son; and the King's four other Queens came constantly to see her. One day they said to her, "The King hunts every day; and the time is soon coming when you will have your child. Suppose you fell ill whilst he was out hunting and could therefore know nothing of your illness, what would you do then?"
When the King came home that evening, the gardener's daughter said to him, "Every day you go out hunting. Should I ever be in trouble or sick while you are away, how could I send for you?" The King gave her a kettle-drum which he placed near the door for her, and he said to her, "Whenever you want me, beat this kettle-drum. No matter how far away I may be, I shall hear it, and will come at once to you."
Next morning when the King had gone out to hunt, his four other Queens came to see the gardener's daughter. She told them all about her kettle-drum. "Oh," they said, "do drum on it just to see if the King really will come to you."
"No, I will not," she said; "for why should I call him from his hunting when I do not want him?"
"Don't mind interrupting his hunting," they answered. "Do try if he really will come to you when you beat your kettle-drum." So at last, just to please them, she beat it, and the King stood before her.
"Why have you called me?" he said. "See, I have left my hunting to come to you."
"I want nothing," she answered; "I only wished to know if you really would come to me when I beat my drum."
"Very well," answered the King; "but do not call me again unless you really need me." Then he returned to his hunting.
The next day, when the King had gone out hunting as usual, the four Queens again came to see the gardener's daughter. They begged and begged her to beat her drum once more, "just to see if the King will really come to see you this time." At first she refused, but at last she consented. So she beat her drum, and the King came to her. But when he found she was neither ill nor in trouble, he was angry, and said to her, "Twice I have left my hunting and lost my game to come to you when you did not need me. Now you may call me as much as you like, but I will not come to you," and then he went away in a rage.
The third day the gardener's daughter fell ill, and she beat and beat her kettle-drum; but the King never came. He heard her kettle-drum, but he thought, "She does not really want me; she is only trying to see if I will go to her."
Meanwhile the four other Queens came to her, and they said, "Here it is the custom before a child is born to bind its mother's eyes with a handkerchief that she may not see it just at first. So let us bind your eyes." She answered, "Very well, bind my eyes." The four wives then tied a handkerchief over them.
Soon after, the gardener's daughter had a beautiful little son, with a moon on his forehead and a star on his chin, and before the poor mother had seen him, the four wicked Queens took the boy to the nurse and said to her, "Now you must not let this child make the least sound for fear his mother should hear him; and in the night you must either kill him, or else take him away, so that his mother may never see him. If you obey our orders, we will give you a great many rupees." All this they did out of spite. The nurse took the little child and put him into a box, and the four Queens went back to the gardener's daughter.
First they put a stone into her boy's little bed, and then they took the handkerchief off her eyes and showed it her, saying, "Look! this is your son!" The poor girl cried bitterly, and thought, "What will the King say when he finds no child?" But she could do nothing.
When the King came home, he was furious at hearing his youngest wife, the gardener's daughter, had given him a stone instead of the beautiful little son she had promised him. He made her one of the palace servants, and never spoke to her.
In the middle of the night the nurse took the box in which was the beautiful little prince, and went out to a broad plain in the jungle. There she dug a hole, made the fastenings of the box sure, and put the box into the hole, although the child in it was still alive. The King's dog, whose name was Shankar, had followed her to see what she did with the box. As soon as she had gone back to the four Queens (who gave her a great many rupees), the dog went to the hole in which she had put the box, took the box out, and opened it. When he saw the beautiful little boy, he was very much delighted and said, "If it pleases Khuda that this child should live, I will not hurt him; I will not eat him, but I will swallow him whole and hide him in my stomach." This he did.
After six months had passed, the dog went by night to the jungle, and thought, "I wonder whether the boy is alive or dead." Then he brought the child out of his stomach and rejoiced over his beauty. The boy was now six months old. When Shankar had caressed and loved him, he swallowed him again for another six months. At the end of that time he went once more by night to the broad jungle-plain. There he brought up the child out of his stomach (the child was now a year old), and caressed and petted him a great deal, and was made very happy by his great beauty.
But this time the dog's keeper had followed and watched the dog; and he saw all that Shankar did, and the beautiful little child, so he ran to the four Queens and said to them, "Inside the King's dog there is a child! the loveliest child! He has a moon on his forehead and a star on his chin. Such a child has never been seen!" At this the four wives were very much frightened, and as soon as the King came home from hunting they said to him, "While you were away your dog came to our rooms, and tore our clothes and knocked about all our things. We are afraid he will kill us." "Do not be afraid," said the King. "Eat your dinner and be happy. I will have the dog shot to-morrow morning."
Then he ordered his servants to shoot the dog at dawn, but the dog heard him, and said to himself, "What shall I do? The King intends to kill me. I don't care about that, but what will become of the child if I am killed? He will die. But I will see if I cannot save him."
So when it was night, the dog ran to the King's cow, who was called Suri, and said to her, "Suri, I want to give you something, for the King has ordered me to be shot to-morrow. Will you take great care of whatever I give you?"
"Let me see what it is," said Suri, "I will take care of it if I can." Then they both went together to the wide plain, and there the dog brought up the boy. Suri was enchanted with him. "I never saw such a beautiful child in this country," she said. "See, he has a moon on his forehead and a star on his chin. I will take the greatest care of him." So saying she swallowed the little prince. The dog made her a great many salaams, and said, "To-morrow I shall die;" and the cow then went back to her stable.
Next morning at dawn the dog was taken to the jungle and shot.
The child now lived in Suri's stomach; and when one whole year had passed, and he was two years old, the cow went out to the plain, and said to herself, "I do not know whether the child is alive or dead. But I have never hurt it, so I will see." Then she brought up the boy; and he played about, and Suri was delighted; she loved him and caressed him, and talked to him. Then she swallowed him, and returned to her stable.
At the end of another year she went again to the plain and brought up the child. He played and ran about for an hour to her great delight, and she talked to him and caressed him. His great beauty made her very happy. Then she swallowed him once more and returned to her stable. The child was now three years old.
But this time the cowherd had followed Suri, and had seen the wonderful child and all she did to it. So he ran and told the four Queens, "The King's cow has a beautiful boy inside her. He has a moon on his forehead and a star on his chin. Such a child has never been seen before!"
At this the Queens were terrified. They tore their clothes and their hair and cried. When the King came home at evening, he asked them why they were so agitated. "Oh," they said, "your cow came and tried to kill us; but we ran away. She tore our hair and our clothes." "Never mind," said the King. "Eat your dinner and be happy. The cow shall be killed to-morrow morning."
Now Suri heard the King give this order to the servants, so she said to herself, "What shall I do to save the child?" When it was midnight, she went to the King's horse called Katar, who was very wicked, and quite untameable. No one had ever been able to ride him; indeed no one could go near him with safety, he was so savage. Suri said to this horse, "Katar, will you take care of something that I want to give you, because the King has ordered me to be killed to-morrow?"
"Good," said Katar; "show me what it is." Then Suri brought up the child, and the horse was delighted with him. "Yes," he said, "I will take the greatest care of him. Till now no one has been able to ride me, but this child shall ride me." Then he swallowed the boy, and when he had done so, the cow made him many salaams, saying, "It is for this boy's sake that I am to die." The next morning she was taken to the jungle and there killed.
The beautiful boy now lived in the horse's stomach, and he stayed in it for one whole year. At the end of that time the horse thought, "I will see if this child is alive or dead." So he brought him up; and then he loved him, and petted him, and the little prince played all about the stable, out of which the horse was never allowed to go. Katar was very glad to see the child, who was now four years old. After he had played for some time, the horse swallowed him again. At the end of another year, when the boy was five years old, Katar brought him up again, caressed him, loved him, and let him play about the stable as he had done a year before. Then the horse swallowed him again.