The Girl in the Moon
Many years ago, a sad story took place on the cold tundra in eastern Siberia. On cold Siberian nights, storytellers still tell of a young girl who became an orphan.
The girl lived alone in a small one-room hut with no relatives to care for her. Her father had owned a skinny old horse and a small calf. The calf was slaughtered to give the girl food to eat. The horse was sold to buy other things her needed to live. Soon both the meat and the money were gone.
"What is to be done with the girl?" people asked. We cannot let her starve." Yet, no one offered to take care of her.
Finally, the head man in the village said, "My wife and I will take the girl in. She will work for us. In turn, we will feed her scraps from our table." Everyone was relieved. They thought the girl's problems were over. They also felt better, since none of them had wanted to care for her.
The man sold the girl's father's house. He kept the money for himself as a price for feeding the girl. The girl was made to work hard for every scrap of food. She had to carry heavy skins filled with water. She chopped wood for the fire. She fed and milked the cow. She had to do all the heavy work on the farm. If the girl failed at a job, the head man scolded her. The man's cruel wife beat the girl and did not give her enough food to eat.
One winter night the Siberian wind howled like a pack of wolves. The ground became so cold that it cracked and popped. Branches on the trees froze solid. Some snapped off in the wind and crashed to the ground. On that coldest of nights the head man's wife sent the girl to the lake for an extra load of water. Not even the bravest of men usually dared to go outside in the cold dark of Siberia. But the girl had no choice.
The girl wrapped herself as best she could in the rags the head man's wife gave her to wear. She took a heavy brick with her to break the ice that formed on top of the hole where everyone got their water. She shivered as the ice broke and the splash of the brick caused the water to spash her in the face. The cold stung and hurt.
The girl dipped the skins into the water and filled them as quickly as she could, trying not to get her gloves wet. She lifted the heavy skins to a yoke - a long wooden bar that she held across her shoulders to help carry the heavy load. One skin hung from each side.
The girl balanced her load and began the long walk back to the hut. A gust of wind blew and hit the girl from behind. She stumbled and fell. The water in the skins flew out and froze on the ground. If she went back without the water, she would be beaten. If she went back to the lake, she could die from the cold. What was she to do? Where could she go? She began to cry. The tears froze on her cheeks.
The girl looked up at the moon and cried, "Oh, Moon - come and take me away. Warm me with your light. I have no mother or father. I have no one to love me and on one to care for me. Take me away!"
The moon looked down and saw her tears. He had looked down on her many times before thinking of how beautiful she looked. "How sad that she has to work so hard," he always had thought. The moon came down from the sky and picked her up and took her high into the sky.
At the same time, the sun had heard the girl's words. "Give the girl to me," the sun demanded. "I will take her for myself." For a time, the sun and moon argued in a battle of words about who should get the girl.
The moon said, "You are older and stonger than I. You could easily overpower me and take her for your own. But, consider this. I must roam the cold Siberian nights alone during the winter. I am so lonely. The girl would be a good companion for me. Besides, you are so very hot that you would scorch the girl and hurt her."
The words of the moon convinced the sun to let the moon have the girl. The moon scooped the girl up from the cold earth and took her to live with him.
On some clear nights, people can still look up and see the moon in the sky. The girl looks back and can see all the people on the earth. There are times when the girl sees the good that is found in many people of the earth. On those nights, she smiles brightly, and her companion the moon shines for all to see. There are other times when the girl in the moon sees evil and bad things in some people. On those nights she is sad and hides her face. On those nights, the moon who loves her dearly, grows dark for short times.
Storytellers in cold Siberian villages tell their listeners to look up at the moon. When they do, they tell them the story about how a girl who was once sad on earth now lives happily in the moon.
Dr. Mike Lockett is an educator, storyteller and children's author from Normal, IL. Dr. Lockett has given more than 4000 programs across the USA and as far away as eastern Asia. Contact Mike by writing to Mike@mikelockett.com in order to book him for a storytelling program or young authors program or to inquire about purchasing his books and CDs. More stories and information about storytelling can be found at www.mikelockett.com