The Cowherd and The Weaving Maid

The Cowherd and The Weaving Maid is a popular Chinese story that is also used within Chinese Opera. The story is of a servant who is in the service of the Queen Mother of the West and a mortal orphan cowherd, with whom celestial servants ought not to fall in love.
This is partially a myth within China, as it is unclear as to how the cowherd and the weaving maid met. The story is that the weaving maid and her sisters came to Earth that bathe in a refreshing stream, whereupon the cowherd picked up some of the clothes on the bank. The women seeing this, ran to grab their clothes, but the cowherd was holding the weaving maids’, and thus negotiations began to get her clothes back, and by the end, the weaving maid was completely in love with the cowherd. Instead of returning to the Queen Mother, the weaving maid decided to stay on earth, marrying the cowherd and having two children. The Queen Mother found out about this, and abducted the weaving maid back to the celestial realm, where the cowherd and his children tried to follow. The Queen Mother took no chances and blew a heavenly fire, also known as the Milky Way, between them both, separating them forever, until begging from the family was met with a flock of magpies. The Queen Mother then chose to let the weaving maid, the cowherd and their children to meet on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month,when a flock of magpies appear to form a bridge over the Milky Way.
I found this story to be very touching as I would hate to be in the same position as these lovers, even if they do eventually get to see each other. For myself, it adds an extra sense of romance to the stars, and even magpies, as I wasn’t expecting these elements within the story.

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