“One folk tale I know is a Chinese one– about the lady and rabbit on the moon. I don’t remember it that well.” The informant racked their brain for the information. “There was an immortal lady who was in love with a human man. Because of this, they weren’t meant to be together, though. So she was banished to live on the moon with the rabbit to keep her company. There, she waits for the man to come to her, but since he’s mortal, he died on earth. This is why you’re able to see a woman and a rabbit on the moon.”
“I don’t have much of a relationship with these pieces. It’s cool, but it was something I had to study. Everyone I knew, knew the story. It’s very much a Chinese folk tale that a lot of people here [in the U.S.] don’t tend to know or study.”
WHERE THEY HEARD IT –
“I had to study a lot of folk tales in Chinese school. They teach it everywhere. I had to read it a bunch then.”
“It’s just a cute fairy tale that people tell children. I don’t really think there’s a lesson, or says much about morals. It’s just an origin story explaining a part of the world people back then weren’t able to explain. Worldbuilding.”
This folk tale seems very similar to one that I know about a woman named Chang’e and the love of her life named Houyi; and I think that they either are the same story, but my informant didn’t remember all the details, or they are different stories that derive from one another. While this story seems to serve primarily as the reasoning for why people can “see” the image of a woman and rabbit on the moon, it also works as a lesson. I think that an important part of this story is the fact that the woman stays, waiting on the moon for the man even though he has died long ago. She seems to be trapped in a denial stage of grief, refusing to move on. Because of this, she’s perpetually stuck, waiting both physically and emotionally.