A Fable for the Moon

by Anna Babin

La Luna hizo esto
Fue culpa de la Luna…
(The moon did this, it is the fault of the moon)
-Il Volo

Once upon a time, in the beginning of the world, the moon did not wane and wax as it does now. This waning and waxing was not needed in the early days because people back then faced such hardships they needed the constant consolation of a full moon. They would sit for hours and worship, admiring the moon as a symbol of the love of the sky god. However, over time, many of the people grew prideful and forgot the moon. Night by night, they took less notice of it, until there was only one girl who still loved the moon.
Miriam would wait for the moon each night and gaze at it, accepting its consolation. She would sing to it each night. Because of her careful attention, she was the first to notice when it began to get smaller. She was alarmed and knew that it was disappearing because the people took no notice of it. She watched each night as pieces of it faded. She tried to warn the others, but no one seemed to care. She was devastated, watching it get smaller and smaller. Even the bag she carried when she worked in the fields seemed to grow heavier.
Soon the moon disappeared completely from the sky, and it was only then that others took notice. They searched for it night after night. They held rituals and wept for the absent moon. Miriam sat one night atop a high hill watching the others wander over the land, calling for the moon. She pulled her bag close to her, sharing in the people’s sorrow and felt something inside.
She opened it to find the moon nestled within, gone from the sky. She knew at once the moon was a gift to her from the sky god.
For days, she held the moon and treasured it and received all of its consolation. One day, however, Miriam sat on the high hill loving the moon, and she watched the people mourning and searching for it in the black night sky. She knew then she could not keep the moon in her possession.
She climbed a high mountain with her beloved moon in her arms and called for the sky god. She thanked him for her gift, and he was pleased with her gratitude.
“But,” she said, holding out the moon, “I cannot keep it for myself. The people may have lost respect for the moon, but they still need its consolation. They need the symbol of love in the dark sky. I beg you to return it. I will continue to love it despite the distance, and I hope that the others have learned their lesson and will learn again to love it too.”
The sky god proposed a plan to which she agreed. The moon would slowly return to the night sky, piece by piece, allowing the people to watch its growth and anticipate its fullness. Then, for three days, the moon would be full, giving the people its consolation and revealing its full beauty. After this time, the moon would get smaller each night until, for three days, the sky would have no moon. During this time, it would reside with Miriam, so that she could have it to herself again. While it was gone, the people would reflect on the absence of the moon, its beauty, and they would learn to be grateful. In this way, the moon would be a symbol of the rhythms of love that exist in our world.
This is why, today, the moon wanes and waxes.