July 14, 2008

Rabbit in the Moon?

Watercolor, July 2008

In East Asian Folklore there isn't a man in the moon, but a rabbit.

In the traditional story of the Moon Festival (which is in the fall) In this legend, three fairy sages transformed themselves into pitiful old men and begged for something to eat from a fox, a monkey and a rabbit. The fox and the monkey both had food to give to the old men, but the rabbit, empty-handed, offered his own flesh instead, jumping into a blazing fire to cook himself. The sages were so touched by the rabbit's sacrifice that they let him live in the Moon Palace where he became the "Jade Rabbit."

From chinesefortunecalendar.com

In some stories I've read the Moon Rabbit is busy making a special elixir for the Moon Goddess, in others he is making moon cakes.

Since it isn't time for the Fall Moon Festival I imagined Moon Rabbit could take a break and go for a walk cloaked in moonbeams.

I think I'll be revisiting this folk tale, I have a special place in my heart for bunnies and the moon.