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The Cowherd and the Girl Weaver

The Cowherd and the Girl WeaverOnce upon a time, there was a young man named Cowherd whose parents died. He lived with his older brother and sister-in-law. They treated him very unfair and unkind, he was only given an old buffalo and a staggering oxcart when he was requested to break up the family and live apart.

From then on the Cowherd and the buffalo began to depend on each other for survival. They planted crops on the field and built their house at the foot of the hill. The Cowherd felt very lonely because nobody could talk with him besides the dumb animal friend. But one day, the buffalo make a sudden speak to him:

"Master, there is a band of fairy ladies from the heaven will swim in the lake near the mountain, if you take a red from the clothes, its owner will become your wife." Hearing this, the Cowherd felt surprised and happy, and asked his friend: "Oh, my god! Buddy, you can speak? What you said will come true?" The old buffalo nodded and smiled. Then the young man ran quickly to the lake and hide quietly in the reeds.  

Presently the fairy ladies came and took off their clothes and jumped into the lake. The Cowherd came out and picked up the red clothes. When the fairy ladies found somebody approached, they dressed themselves hastily and flew to the heaven like the birds. There was only a girl who could not find her clothes, stayed in the lake, was left ashamed and wretched and do not know which way to look. By this time, the young man came up and said to the girl: "Dear lady, my name is Cowherd would you like to be my wife and lead a happy life?" The girl agreed without hesitation and told the young man she was the Girl Weaver in the heaven. Then they fell in love and became husband and wife.

The Cowherd and the Girl WeaverSince then the Cowherd and the Girl Weaver led a very happy life, the husband tilled the land and the wife wove cloth. And after some years, they had a lovely son and a daughter and they hoped their happy life can go on until they had hoary hair. But one day a mischance happened. The buffalo said to the Cowherd: "Master, I will die soon, please peel my skin and keep it for emergency." then the buffalo dead. The Cowherd felt very sad, he peeled off the buffalo's skin and buried his old friend.

Some day after the buffalo's death, another mischance happened to the family. The marriage of the Cowherd and the Girl Weaver was known by the girl's grandmother, the queen of the heaven emperor. She went wroth and sent the gods and soldiers to catch the Girl Weaver back to the heaven. It was at noon, the Girl Weaver was preparing food for the family in the house. Blustering in the sky, she was caught at once. At that time, the Cowherd just came back from the field. Seeing this, he quickly put his children into the baskets and put on the buffalo's skin flew up to catch the gods and soldiers.

Gradually when the father and children caught closed to the mother in the sky, the queen of the heaven emperor appeared and used her gold hairpin drew a line between the Cowherd and the Girl Weaver. Suddenly, the line became the wide Milky Way and the family was apart. The children cried, the mother cried, and the husband cried. This scene really drew people's tears. The gods, the soldiers and even the Girl Weaver's grandmother were touched by the family.

The Cowherd and the Girl WeaverThey promised the Cowherd and his children lived in the heaven, but they were only allowed to reunite one time with the mother in the July 7th of the lunar calendar. It is said that at this time of the year, the magpies cannot be found on earth because they fly heavenwards to build a bridge between the Milky Way for the reunion of the family. It's more interesting that if you sit under the grape vines in that night you can hear the harmonious music and sweet nothings from the heaven! And the day has been considered the Chinese Valentine's day since the ancient times. At this day, the young women in some China's area pray to the Milky Way for the Girl Weaver's super needlework and a happy marriage.

If you look up into the sky in a night of fall, you will find the Cowherd star is separated from the Girl Weaver by the Milky Way. Around the Cowherd star, there are two small shining stars, which are considered the children of the Cowherd and the Girl Weaver.


Note: the Cowherd and the Girl Weaver is considered one of the four greatest ancient love stories in China.

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