The Weaver and the Cow Herder
Submitted by: Susanna
A Chinese and Japanese folk story that explains the celebration of Tanabata celebrated on July 7.
There once was star, Tentei, who was King of the night sky. He had a beautiful daughter, Orihime, who was incredibly skilled at weaving beautiful cloth. Her father loved her cloth. She wove cloth of silk and of wool; of reds, purples, yellows, and of all the colors of the rainbow. Every day, she wove her beautiful cloth in her shop that was on the shore of the Amano River, also known as the Milky Way.
One day, the beautiful star princess Orihime went on a walk. She crossed the bridge over the Milky Way River and met a lowly cow herder star, Hikoboshi. He was very handsome. The moment that Orihime met eyes with Hikoboshi, they fell in love. The two young star lovers got married and were incredibly happy. They were so happy gazing into each others' eyes every day that they forgot about their work. Orihime didn't even think about weaving cloth, and Hikoboshi's cows began to wander all across the sky because their herder no longer kept them together.
Tentei, the Sky King, was extremely angry. Orihime was no longer making the beautiful cloth that he needed for his royal clothing. Hikoboshi's irresponsibility caused the cows to roam all over. Tentei decided to punish the young couple. He brought Orihime back to her shop and destroyed the bridge so that the couple could no longer meet. The wide Milky Way River separated them.
Orihime was so sad that she couldn't weave beautiful cloth any longer. Tentei felt bad about his punishment, so he promised Orihime that she could see Hikoboshi on the seventh day of the seventh month but only if she worked really hard.
Orihime worked hard all year because she loved Hikoboshi so much. On the seventh day of the seventh month, Orihime and Hikoboshi ran to the Milky Way River to meet. But the bridge wasn't fixed. Orhime cried and cried. She cried so much that a flock of magpies heard her cries and came to see what was wrong. When they heard Orihime's story, the flock made a bridge over the Milky Way River. Orihime and Hikoboshi walked on the wings of the magpies to meet in the middle and be with their one true love.
At the end of the day, Orihime and Hikoboshi went back to their homes. Orihime went back to weaving beautiful cloth and Hikoboshi went back to herding his cows. And the magpies promised that they would return on the same day next year so that the young star couple could meet again.
China and Japan
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