The myth of the Weaving Maiden


Caroline Young, artwork and text

QFWF, August 1th 2019 © Source: The art of Caroline R. Young (2002), Heritage Immortals
Weaver of Destiny

Once upon a time there was a beautiful Weaving Maiden who was the youngest of the seven daughters of the Queen of Heaven.
She wove the most sublime and elegant silks from which the gods and goddesses made their exquisite clothing.

One day her sisters, deciding she was working too hard, took her down to earth for some fun.
There, the Weaving Maiden met a handsome cowherd, and they both fell immediately in love. So deep and true was her love that she decided to stay on earth to be with her beloved, leaving her sisters and her mother the Queen behind in the heavens.

Soon, the Queen realized that no-one was doing the weaving, and hunted high and low for her missing daughter.

Finding her on earth with the handsome Cowherd, the Queen dragged the unwilling Weaving Maiden back to heaven to resume her duties.
When the Cowherd tried to follow, the Queen of Heaven waved her jade comb across the sky, forming the Milky Way to separate the lovers.

Graceful perfection

Everyday afterward, the Weaving Maiden cried and pined for her Cowherd as she wove her beautiful silken bolts.

Finally, her father the King, feeling sorry for her, decreed that hereafter, on the seventh day of the seventh month of the Chinese year, the lovers would be allowed to meet on that day.

So every year on that day, the magpies fly down from heaven and form a bridge across the Milky Way, and the Cowherd and the Weaving Maiden go across the bridge to meet again.

And those of us on earth looking up on that day will see the bridge of magpies and the two lovers embracing in the night sky.


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As an adopted child of Chinese-American expatriates, I have always been intrigued by how the Chinese culture explained the mysteries of the universe.