Moon Lore
by Timothy Harley
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[Note: the original text had two footnotes 160 and two footnotes 396. I have indicated these by naming them 160a and b, and 396a and b. In the Index, I changed the spelling of "Aglonquins" to "Algonquins". All other spelling remains the same.]

VOYAGING TO THE MOON From Domingo Gonsales [A.D. 1638] See page 46.




"And when the clear moon, with its soothing influences, rises full in my view,—from the wall-like rocks, out of the damp underwood, the silvery forms of past ages hover up to me, and soften the austere pleasure of contemplation."

Goethe's "Faust." Hayward's Translation, London, 1855, p. 100.



"I beheld the moon walking in brightness."—Job xxxi. 26.

"The moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained."—Psalm viii. 3.

"Who is she that looketh forth, fair as the moon?"—Solomon's Song vi. 10.

"The precious things put forth by the moon."—Deuteronomy xxxiii. 14.

"Soon as the evening shades prevail, The moon takes up the wondrous tale."—Addison's Ode.

"In fall-orbed glory, yonder moon Divine Rolls through the dark-blue depths."—Southey's Thalaba.

"Queen of the silver bow! by thy pale beam, Alone and pensive, I delight to stray, And watch thy shadow trembling in the stream, Or mark the floating clouds that cross thy way; And while I gaze, thy mild and placid light Sheds a soft calm upon my troubled breast: And oft I think-fair planet of the night— That in thy orb the wretched may have rest; The sufferers of the earth perhaps may go— Released by death-to thy benignant sphere; And the sad children of despair and woe Forget in thee their cup of sorrow here. Oh that I soon may reach thy world serene, Poor wearied pilgrim in this toiling scene!" —Charlotte Smith.


This work is a contribution to light literature, and to the literature of light. Though a monograph, it is also a medley.

The first part is mythological and mirthsome. It is the original nucleus around which the other parts have gathered. Some years since, the writer was led to investigate the world-wide myth of the Man in the Moon, in its legendary and ludicrous aspects; and one study being a stepping-stone to another, the ball was enlarged as it rolled.

The second part, dealing with moon-worship, is designed to show that anthropomorphism and sexuality have been the principal factors in that idolatry which in all ages has paid homage to the hosts of heaven, as heaved above the aspiring worshipper. Man adores what he regards as higher than he. And if the moon is supposed to affect his tides, that body becomes his water-god.

The third part treats of lunar superstitions, many of which yet live in the vagaries which sour and shade our modern sweetness and light.

The fourth and final part is a literary essay on lunar inhabitation, presenting in nuce the present state of the enigma of "the plurality of worlds."

Of the imperfections of his production the author is partly conscious. Not wholly so; for others see us often more advantageously than we see ourselves. But a hope is cherished that this work—a compendium of lunar literature in its least scientific branches—may win a welcome which shall constitute the worker's richest reward. To the innumerable writers who are quoted, the indebtedness felt is inexpressible.


I MOON SPOTS 1 Introduction 1 2 The Man in the Moon 5 3 The Woman in the Moon 53 4 The Hare in the Moon 60 5 The Toad in the Moon 69 6 Other Moon Myths 71

II MOON WORSHIP 1 Introduction 77 2 The Moon Mostly a Male Deity 82 3 The Moon a World-Wide Deity 87 4 The Moon a Water Deity 132

III MOON SUPERSTITIONS 1 Introduction 145 2 Lunar Fancies 152 3 Lunar Influences 175




1 Voyaging to the Moon Frontispiece From Domingo Gonsales, 1638 2 The Man in the Moon 9 From Hone's Facetiae and Miscellanies, 1821. Drawn by George Cruikshank. 3 "The Man in the Moon Drinks Claret" 12 (From the Bagford Ballads, ii, 119, Brit. Mus.) 4 "Who'll Smoak with the Man in the Moon?" 13 (Banks Collection in Brit. Mus.) 5 The Man in the Moon 22 From Ludwig Richter's Der Familienshatz, Leipzig, p. 25 6 Seal 28 In the Archaeological Journal for March, 1848, p. 68 7 Representation of the Sabbath-Breaker in Gyffyn Church, Near Conway 32 From Baring-Gould's Curious Myths 8 The Hare in the Moon 63 From Colin de Plancy's Dictionnaire Infernal



With the invention of the telescope came an epoch in human history. To Hans Lippershey, a Dutch optician, is accorded the honour of having constructed the first astronomical telescope, which he made so early as the 2nd of October, 1608. Galileo, hearing of this new wonder, set to work, and produced and improved instrument, which he carried in triumph to Venice, where it occasioned the intensest delight. Sir David Brewster tells us that "the interest which the exhibition of the telescope excited at Venice did not soon subside: Sirturi describes it as amounting to frenzy. When he himself had succeeded in making one of these instruments, he ascended the tower of St. Mark, where he might use it without molestation. He was recognised, however, by a crowd in the street, and such was the eagerness of their curiosity, that they took possession of the wondrous tube, and detained the impatient philosopher for several hours till they had successively witnessed its effects." [1] it was in May, 1609, that Galileo turned his telescope on the moon. "The first observations of Galileo," says Flammarion, "did not make less noise than the discovery of America; many saw in them another discovery of a new world much more interesting than America, as it was beyond the earth. It is one of the most curious episodes of history, that of the prodigious excitement which was caused by the unveiling of the world of the moon." [2] Nor are we astonished at their astonishment when they beheld mountains which have since been found to be from 15,000 to 26,000 feet in height—highlands of the moon indeed—far higher in proportion to the moon's diameter than any elevations on the earth; when they saw the surface of the satellite scooped out into deep valleys, or spread over with vast walled plains from 130 to 140 miles across. No wonder that the followers of Aristotle resented the explosion of their preconceived beliefs; for their master had taught that the moon was perfectly spherical and smooth, and that the spots were merely reflections of our own mountains. Other ancient philosophers had said that these patches were shadows of opaque bodies floating between the sun and the moon. But to the credit of Democritus be it remembered that he propounded the opinion that the spots were diversities or inequalities upon the lunar surface; and thus anticipated by twenty centuries the disclosures of the telescope. The invention of this invaluable appliance we have regarded as marking a great modern epoch; and what is usually written on the moon is mainly a summary of results obtained through telescopic observation, aided by other apparatus, and conducted by learned men. We now purpose to go back to the ages when there were neither reflectors nor refractors in existence; and to travel beyond the bounds of ascertained fact into the regions of fiction, where abide the shades of superstition and the dreamy forms of myth. Having promised a contribution to light literature, we shall give to fancy a free rein, and levy taxes upon poets and story-tellers, wits and humorists wherever they may be of service. Much will have to be said, in the first place, of the man in the moon, whom we must view as he has been manifested in the mask of mirth, and also in the mirror of mythology. Then we shall present the woman in the moon, who is less known than the immortal man. Next a hare will be started; afterwards a frog, and other objects; and when we reach the end of our excursion, if we mistake not, it will be confessed that the moon has created more merriment, more marvel, and more mystery, than all of the other orbs taken together.

But before we forget the fair moon in the society of its famous man, let us soothe our spirits in sweet oblivion of discussions and dissertations, while we survey its argentine glories with poetic rapture. Like Shelley, we are all in love with

"That orbed maiden, with white fire laden, Whom mortals call the moon." (The Cloud.)

Our little loves, who take the lowest seats in the domestic synagogue, if they cannot have the moon by crying for it, will rush out, when they ought to be in bed, and chant,

"Boys and girls come out to play, The moon doth shine as bright as day."

The young ladies of the family, without a tincture of affectation, will languish as they gaze on the lovely Luna. Not, as a grumpy, grisly old bear of a bachelor once said, "Because there's a man in it!" No; the precious pets are fond of moonlight rather because they are the daughters of Eve. They are in sympathy with all that is bright and beautiful in the heavens above, and in the earth beneath; and it has even been suspected that the only reason why they ever assume that invisible round-about called crinoline is that, like the moon, they may move in a circle. Our greatest men, likewise, are susceptible to Luna's blandishments. In proof of this we may produce a story told by Mark Lemon, at one time the able editor of Punch. By the way, an irrepressible propensity to play upon words has reminded some one that punch is always improved by the essence of lemon. But this we leave to the bibulous, and go on with the story. Lord Brougham, speaking of the salary attached to a new judgeship, said it was all moonshine. Lord Lyndhurst, in his dry and waggish way, remarked, "May be so, my Lord Harry; but I have a strong notion that, moonshine though it be, you would like to see the first quarter of it." [3] That Hibernian was a discriminating admirer of the moon who said that the sun was a coward, because he always went away as soon as it began to grow dark, and never came back till it was light again; while the blessed moon stayed with us through the forsaken night. And now, feeling refreshed with these exhilarating meditations, we, for awhile, leave this lovable orb to those astronomical stars who have studied the heavens from their earliest history; and hasten to make ourselves acquainted with the proper study of mankind, the ludicrous and legendary lunar man.


We must not be misunderstood. By the man in the moon we do not mean any public tavern, or gin-palace, displaying that singular sign. The last inn of that name known to us in London stands in a narrow passage of that fashionable promenade called Regent Street, close to Piccadilly. Nor do we intend by the man in the moon the silvery individual who pays the election expenses, so long as the elector votes his ticket. Neither do we mean the mooney, or mad fellow who is too fond of the cup which cheers and then inebriates; nor even one who goes mooning round the world without a plan or purpose. No; if we are not too scientific, we are too straightforward to be allured by any such false lights as these. By the man in the moon we mean none other than that illustrious personage, whose shining countenance may be beheld many a night, clouds and fogs permitting, beaming good-naturedly on the dark earth, and singing, in the language of a lyric bard,

"The moon is out to-night, love, Meet me with a smile."

But some sceptic may assail us with a note of interrogation, saying, "Is there a man in the moon?" "Why, of course, there is!" Those who have misgivings should ask a sailor; he knows, for the punsters assure us that he has been to sea. Or let them ask any lunatic; he should know, for he has been so struck with his acquaintance, that he has adopted the man's name. Or ask any little girl in the nursery, and she will recite, with sweet simplicity, how

"The man in the moon Came down too soon, And asked the way to Norwich."

The darling may not understand why he sought that venerable city, nor whether he ever arrived there, but she knows very well that

"He went by the south, And burnt his mouth With eating hot pease porridge."

But it is useless to inquire of any stupid joker, for he will idly say that there is no such man there, because, forsooth, a certain single woman who was sent to the moon came back again, which she would never have done if a man had been there with whom she could have married and remained, Nor should any one be misled by those blind guides who darkly hint that it is all moonshine. There is not an Indian moonshee, nor a citizen of the Celestial Empire, some of whose ancestors came from the nocturnal orb, who does not know better than that. Perhaps the wisest course is to inquire within. Have not we all frequently affirmed that we knew no more about certain inscrutable matters than the man in the moon? Now we would never have committed ourselves to such a comparison had we not been sure that the said man was a veritable and creditable, though somewhat uninstructed person. But our feelings ought not to be wrought upon in this way. We "had rather be a dog, and bay the moon, than such a Roman" as is not at least distantly acquainted with that brilliant character in high life who careers so conspicuously amid the constellations which constitute the upper ten thousand of super-mundane society. And now some inquisitive individual may be impatient to interrupt our eloquence with the question, "What are you going to make of the man in the moon?" Well, we are not going to make anything of him. For, first, he is a man; therefore incapable of improvement. Secondly, he is in the moon, and that is out of our reach. [*] All that we can promise just now is, to furnish a few particulars of the man himself; some account of calls which he is reported to have made to his friends here below; and also some account of visits which his friends on earth have paid him in return.

[*] Besides, as old John Lilly says in the prologue to his Endymion (1591), "There liveth none under the sunne, that knows what to make of the man in the moone."

We know something of his residence, whenever he is at home: what do we know of the man? We have been annoyed at finding his lofty name desecrated to base uses. If "imagination may trace the noble dust of Alexander, till he find it stopping a bung-hole," literature traces the man in the moon, and discovers him pressed into the meanest services. Our readers need not be disquieted with details; though our own equanimity has been sorely disturbed as we have seen scribblers dragging from the skies a "name at which the world grows pale, to point a moral, or adorn a tale." Political squibs, paltry chapbooks, puny satires, and penny imbecilities, too numerous for mention here, with an occasional publication of merit, have been printed and sold at the expense of the man in the moon. For the sake of the curious we place the titles and dates of some of these in an appendix and pass on. We have not learned very many particulars relating to the domestic habits or personal character of the man in the moon, consequently our smallest biographical contributions will be thankfully received. We must not be pressed for his photograph, at present. We certainly wish it could have been procured; but though photography has taken some splendid views of the

Geo. Cruikshank. Hone's "Facetiae," 1821. THE MAN IN THE MOON

"If Caesar can hide the sun with a blanket, or put the moon in his pocket, we will pay him tribute for light" (Cymbeline).

face of the moon, it has not yet produced any perfect picture of the physiognomy of the man. It should always be borne in mind that, as Stilpo says in the old play of Timon, written about 1600, "The man in the moone is not in the moone superficially, although he bee in the moone (as the Greekes will have it) catapodially, specificatively, and quidditatively." [4] This beautiful language, let us explain for the behoof of any foreign reader, simply means that he is not always where we can get at him; and therefore his venerable visage is missing from our celestial portrait gallery. One fact we have found out, which we fear will ripple the pure water placidity of some of our best friends; but the truth must be told.

"Our man in the moon drinks clarret, With powder-beef, turnep, and carret. If he doth so, why should not you Drink until the sky looks blew?" [5]

Another old ballad runs:

"The man in the moon drinks claret, But he is a dull Jack-a-Dandy; Would he know a sheep's head from a carrot, He should learn to drink cyder and brandy."

In a Jest Book of the Seventeenth Century we came across the following story: "A company of gentlemen coming into a tavern, whose signe was the Moone, called for a quart of sacke. The drawer told them they had none; whereat the gentlemen wondring were told by the drawer that the man in the moon always drunke claret." [6] Several astronomers assert the absence of water in the moon; if this be the case, what is the poor man to drink? Still, it is an unsatisfactory announcement to us all; for we are afraid that it is the claret which makes him look so red in the face sometimes when he is full, and gets a little fogged. We have ourselves seen

"THE MAN IN THE MOON DRINKS CLARET." "Bagford Ballads," ii. 119.

him actually what sailors call "half-seas over," when we have been in mid-Atlantic. We only hope that he imbibes nothing stronger, though it is said that moonlight is but another name for smuggled spirits. The lord of Cynthia must not be too hastily suspected, for, at most, the moon fills her horn but once a month. Still, the earth itself being so invariably sober, its satellite, like Caesar's wife, should be above suspicion. We therefore hope that our lunar hero may yet take a ribbon of sky-blue from the milky way, and become a staunch abstainer; if only for example's sake.

Some old authors and artists have represented the


man in the moon as an inveterate smoker, which habit surprises us, who supposed him to be

"Above the smoke and stir of this dim spot Which men call Earth,"

as the magnificent Milton has it. His tobacco must be bird's-eye, as he takes a bird's-eye view of things; and his pipe is presumably a meer-sham, whence his "sable clouds turn forth their silver lining on the night." Smoking, without doubt, is a bad practice, especially when the clay is choked or the weed is worthless; but fuming against smokers we take to be infinitely worse.

We are better pleased to learn that the man in the moon is a poet. Possibly some uninspired groveller, who has never climbed Parnassus, nor drunk of the Castalian spring, may murmur that this is very likely, for that all poetry is "moonstruck madness." Alas if such an antediluvian barbarian be permitted to "revisit thus the glimpses of the moon, making night hideous" as he mutters his horrid blasphemy! We, however, take a nobler view of the matter. To us the music of the spheres is exalting as it is exalted; and the music of earth is a "sphere-descended maid, friend of pleasure, wisdom's aid." We are therefore disposed to hear the following lines, which have been handed down for publication. Their title is autobiographical, and, for that reason, they are slightly egotistical.


"From my palace of light I look down upon earth, When the tiny stars are twinkling round me; Though centuries old, I am now as bright As when at my birth Old Adam found me. Oh! the strange sights that I have seen, Since earth first wore her garment of green! King after king has been toppled down, And red-handed anarchy's worn the crown! From the world that's beneath me I crave not a boon, For a shrewd old fellow's the Man in the Moon. And I looked on 'mid the watery strife, When the world was deluged and all was lost Save one blessed vessel, preserver of life, Which rode on through safety, though tempest tost. I have seen crime clothed in ermine and gold, And virtue shuddering in winter's cold. I have seen the hypocrite blandly smile, While straightforward honesty starved the while. Oh! the strange sights that I have seen, Since earth first wore her garment of green! I have gazed on the coronet decking the brow Of the villain who, breathing affection's vow, Hath poisoned the ear of the credulous maiden, Then left her to pine with heart grief laden. Oh! oh! if this, then, be the world, say I, I'll keep to my home in the clear blue sky; Still to dwell in my planet I crave as a boon, For the earth ne'er will do for the Man in the Moon." [7]

This effusion is not excessively flattering to our "great globe," and "all which it inherit"; and we surmise that the author was in a misanthropic mood when it was written. Yet it is serviceable sometimes to see ourselves as others see us. On the other hand, we have but little liking for those who "hope to merit heaven by making earth a hell," in any sense. We prefer to believe that the tide is rising though the waves recede, and that our dark world is waxing towards the full-orbed glory "to which the whole creation moves."

Here for the present we part company with the man in the moon as material for amusement, that we may track him through the mythic maze, where, in well-nigh every language, he has left some traces of his existence. As there is a side of the moon which we have never seen, and according to Laplace never shall see, there is also an aspect of the matter in hand that remains to be traversed, if we would circumambulate its entire extent. Our subject must now be viewed in the magic mirror of mythology. The antiquarian Ritson shall state the question to be brought before our honourable house of inquiry. He denominates the man in the moon "an imaginary being, the subject of perhaps one of the most ancient, as well as one of the most popular, superstitions of the world." [8] And as we must explore the vestiges of antiquity, Asiatic and European, African and American, and even Polynesian, we bespeak patient forbearance and attention. One little particular we may partly clear up at once, though it will meet us again in another connection. It will serve as a sidelight to our legendary scenes. In English, French, Italian, Latin, and Greek, the moon is feminine; but in all the Teutonic tongues the moon is masculine. Which of the twain is its true gender? We go back to the Sanskrit for an answer. Professor Max Mueller rightly says, "It is no longer denied that for throwing light on some of the darkest problems that have to be solved by the student of language, nothing is so useful as a critical study of Sanskrit." [9] Here the word for the moon is mas, which is masculine. Mark how even what Hamlet calls "words, words, words" lend their weight and value to the adjustment of this great argument. The very moon is masculine, and, like Wordsworth's child, is "father of the man."

If a bisexous moon seem an anomaly, perhaps the suggestion of Jamieson will account for the hermaphrodism: "The moon, it has been said, was viewed as of the masculine gender in respect of the earth, whose husband he was supposed to be; but as a female in relation to the sun, as being his spouse." [10] Here, also, we find a clue to the origin of this myth. If modern science, discovering the moon's inferiority to the sun, call the former feminine, ancient nescience, supposing the sun to be inferior to the moon, called the latter masculine. The sun, incomparable in splendour, invariable in aspect and motion, to the unaided eye immaculate in surface, too dazzling to permit prolonged observation, and shining in the daytime, when the mind was occupied with the duties of pastoral, agricultural, or commercial life, was to the ancient simply an object of wonder as a glory, and of worship as a god. The moon, on the contrary, whose mildness of lustre enticed attention, whose phases were an embodiment of change, whose strange spots seemed shadowy pictures of things and beings terrestrial, whose appearance amid the darkness of night was so welcome, and who came to men susceptible, from the influences of quiet and gloom, of superstitious imaginings, from the very beginning grew into a familiar spirit of kindred form with their own, and though regarded as the subordinate and wife of the sun, was reverenced as the superior and husband of the earth. With the transmission of this myth began its transmutation. From the moon being a man, it became a man's abode: with some it was the world whence human spirits came; with others it was the final home whither human spirits returned. Then it grew into a penal colony, to which egregious offenders were transported; or prison cage, in which, behind bars of light, miserable sinners were to be exposed to all eternity, as a warning to the excellent of the earth. One thing is certain, namely, that, during some phases, the moon's surface strikingly resembles a man's countenance. We usually represent the sun and the moon with the faces of men; and in the latter case the task is not difficult. Some would say that the moon is so drawn to reproduce some lunar deity: it would be more correct to say that the lunar deity was created through this human likeness. Sir Thomas Browne remarks, "The sun and moon are usually described with human faces: whether herein there be not a pagan imitation, and those visages at first implied Apollo and Diana, we may make some doubt." [11] Brand, in quoting Browne, adds, "Butler asks a shrewd question on this head, which I do not remember to have seen solved:—

"Tell me but what's the natural cause, Why on a Sign no Painter draws The Full Moon ever, but the Half?" (Hudibras, B. II., c. iii.) [12]

Another factor in the formation of our moon-myth was the anthropomorphism which sees something manlike in everything, not only in the anthropoid apes, where we may find a resemblance more faithful than flattering, but also in the mountains and hills, rivers and seas of earth, and in the planets and constellations of heaven. Anthropomorphism was but a species of personification, which also metamorphosed the firmament into a menagerie of lions and bears, with a variety of birds, beasts, and fishes. Dr. Wagner writes: "The sun, moon, and stars, clouds and mists, storms and tempests, appeared to be higher powers, and took distinct forms in the imagination of man. As the phenomena of nature seemed to resemble animals either in outward form or in action, they were represented under the figure of animals." [13] Sir George W. Cox points out how phrases ascribing to things so named the actions or feelings of living beings, "would grow into stories which might afterwards be woven together, and so furnish the groundwork of what we call a legend or a romance. This will become plain, if we take the Greek sayings or myths about Endymion and Selene. Here, besides these two names, we have the names Protogenia and Asterodia. But every Greek knew that Selene was a name for the moon, which was also described as Asterodia because she has her path among the stars, and that Protogenia denoted the first or early born morning. Now Protogenia was the mother of Endymion, while Asterodia was his wife; and so far the names were transparent. Had all the names remained so, no myth, in the strict sense of the word, could have sprung up; but as it so happened, the meaning of the name Endymion, as denoting the sun, when he is about to plunge or dive into the sea, had been forgotten, and thus Endymion became a beautiful youth with whom the moon fell in love, and whom she came to look upon as he lay in profound sleep in the cave of Latmos." [14] To this growth and transformation of myths we may return after awhile; meanwhile we will follow closely our man in the moon, who, among the Greeks, was the young Endymion, the beloved of Diana, who held the shepherd passionately in her embrace. This fable probably arose from Endymion's love of astronomy, a predilection common in ancient pastors. He was, no doubt, an ardent admirer of the moon; and soon it was reported that Selene courted and caressed him in return. May such chaste enjoyment be ours also! We may remark, in passing, that classic tales are pure or impure, very much according to the taste of the reader. "To the jaundiced all things seem yellow," say the French; and Paul said, "To the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled is nothing pure." According to Serapion, as quoted by Clemens Alexandrinus, the tradition was that the face which appears in the moon is the soul of a Sibyl. Plutarch, in his treatise, Of the Face appearing in the roundle of the Moone, cites the poet Agesinax as saying of that orb,

"All roundabout environed With fire she is illumined: And in the middes there doth appeere, Like to some boy, a visage cleere; Whose eies to us doe seem in view, Of colour grayish more than blew: The browes and forehead tender seeme, The cheeks all reddish one would deeme." [15]

The story of the man in the moon as told in our British nurseries is supposed to be founded on Biblical fact. But though the Jews have a Talmudic tradition that Jacob is in the moon, and though they believe that his face is plainly visible, the Hebrew Scriptures make no mention of the myth. Yet to our fireside auditors it is related that a man was found by Moses gathering sticks on the Sabbath, and that for this crime he was transferred to the moon, there to remain till the end of all things. The passage cited in support of this tale is Numbers xv. 32-36. Upon referring to the sacred text, we certainly find a man gathering sticks upon the Sabbath day, and the congregation gathering stones for his merciless punishment, but we look in vain for any mention of the moon. Non est inventus. Of many an ancient story-teller we may say, as Sheridan said of Dundas, "the right honourable gentleman is indebted to his memory for his jests and to his imagination for his facts."

Mr. Proctor reminds us that "according to German nurses, the day was not the Sabbath, but Sunday. Their tale runs as follows: Ages ago there went one Sunday an old man into the woods to hew sticks. He cut a faggot and slung it on a stout staff, cast it over his shoulder, and began to trudge home with his burthen. On his way he met a handsome man in Sunday suit, walking towards the church. The man stopped, and asked the faggot-bearer, 'Do you know that this is Sunday on earth, when all must rest from their labours?' 'Sunday on earth, or Monday in heaven, it's all one to me!' laughed the woodcutter. 'Then bear your bundle for ever!' answered the stranger. 'And as you value not Sunday on earth, yours shall

be a perpetual moon-day in heaven; you shall stand for eternity in the moon, a warning to all Sabbath-breakers.' Thereupon the stranger vanished, and the man was caught up with his staff and faggot into the moon, where he stands yet." [16]

In Tobler's account the man was given the choice of burning in the sun, or of freezing in the moon; and preferring a lunar frost to a solar furnace, he is to be seen at full moon seated with his bundle of sticks on his back. If "the cold in clime are cold in blood," we may be thankful that we do not hibernate eternally in the moon and in the nights of winter, when the cold north winds blow, "we may look up through the casement and "pity the sorrows of this poor old man."

Mr. Baring-Gould finds that "in Schaumberg-lippe, the story goes, that a man and a woman stand in the moon: the man because he strewed brambles and thorns on the church path, so as to hinder people from attending mass on Sunday morning; the woman because she made butter on that day. The man carries his bundle of thorns, the woman her butter tub. A similar tale is told in Swabia and in Marken. Fischart says that there 'is to be seen in the moon a mannikin who stole wood'; and Praetorius, in his description of the world, that 'superstitious people assert that the black flecks in the moon are a man who gathered wood on a Sabbath, and is therefore turned into stone.'" [17]

The North Frisians, among the most ancient and pure of all the German tribes, tell the tale differently. "At the time when wishing was of avail, a man, one Christmas Eve, stole cabbages from his neighbour's garden. When just in the act of walking off with his load, he was perceived by the people, who conjured (wished) him up in the moon. There he stands in the full moon, to be seen by everybody, bearing his load of cabbages to all eternity. Every Christmas Eve he is said to turn round once. Others say that he stole willow-boughs, which he must bear for ever. In Sylt the story goes that he was a sheep-stealer, that enticed sheep to him with a bundle of cabbages, until, as an everlasting warning to others, he was placed in the moon, where he constantly holds in his hand a bundle of cabbages. The people of Rantum say that he is a giant, who at the time of the flow stands in a stooping posture, because he is then taking up water, which he pours out on the earth, and thereby causes the flow; but at the time of the ebb he stands erect and rests from his labour, when the water can subside again." [18]

Crossing the sea into Scandinavia, we obtain some valuable information. First, we find that in the old Norse, or language of the ancient Scandinavians, the sun is always feminine, and the moon masculine. In the Voelu-Spa, a grand, prophetic poem, it is written—

"But the sun had not yet learned to trace The path that conducts to her dwelling-place To the moon arrived was not the hour When he should exert his mystic power Nor to the stars was the knowledge given, To marshal their ranks o'er the fields of heaven." [19]

We also learn that "the moon and the sun are brother and sister; they are the children of Mundilfoeri, who, on account of their beauty, called his son Mani, and his daughter Sol." Here again we observe that the moon is masculine. "Mani directs the course of the moon, and regulates Nyi (the new moon) and Nithi (the waning moon). He once took up two children from the earth, Bil and Hiuki, as they were going from the well of Byrgir, bearing on their shoulders the bucket Soeg, and the pole Simul." [20] These two children, with their pole and bucket, were placed in the moon, "where they could be seen from earth"; which phrase must refer to the lunar spots. Thorpe, speaking of the allusion in the Edda to these spots, says that they "require but little illustration. Here they are children carrying water in a bucket, a superstition still preserved in the popular belief of the Swedes." [21] We are all reminded at once of the nursery rhyme—

"Jack and Jill went up the hill, To fetch a pail of water; Jack fell down and broke his crown, And Jill came tumbling after."

Little have we thought, when rehearsing this jingle in our juvenile hours, that we should some day discover its roots in one of the oldest mythologies of the world. But such is the case. Mr. Baring-Gould has evolved the argument in a manner which, if not absolutely conclusive in each point, is extremely cogent and clear. "This verse, which to us seems at first sight nonsense, I have no hesitation in saying has a high antiquity, and refers to the Eddaic Hjuki and Bil. The names indicate as much. Hjuki, in Norse, would be pronounced Juki, which would readily become Jack; and Bil, for the sake of euphony and in order to give a female name to one of the children, would become Jill. The fall of Jack, and the subsequent fall of Jill, simply represent the vanishing of one moon spot after another, as the moon wanes. But the old Norse myth had a deeper signification than merely an explanation of the moon spots. Hjuki is derived from the verb jakka, to heap or pile together, to assemble and increase; and Bil, from bila, to break up or dissolve. Hjuki and Bil, therefore, signify nothing more than the waxing and waning of the moon, and the water they are represented as bearing signifies the fact that the rainfall depends on the phases of the moon. Waxing and waning were individualized, and the meteorological fact of the connection of the rain with the moon was represented by the children as water-bearers. But though Jack and Jill became by degrees dissevered in the popular mind from the moon, the original myth went through a fresh phase, and exists still under a new form. The Norse superstition attributed theft to the moon, and the vulgar soon began to believe that the figure they saw in the moon was the thief. The lunar specks certainly may be made to resemble one figure, but only a lively imagination can discern two. The girl soon dropped out of popular mythology, the boy oldened into a venerable man, he retained his pole, and the bucket was transformed into the thing he had stolen—sticks or vegetables. The theft was in some places exchanged for Sabbath-breaking, especially among those in Protestant countries who were acquainted with the Bible story of the stick-gatherer." [22]

The German Grimm, who was by no means a grim German, but a very genial story-teller, also maintains this transformation of the original myth. "Plainly enough the water-pole of the heathen story has been transformed into the axe's shaft, and the carried pail into the thornbush; the general idea of theft was retained, but special stress laid on the keeping of the Christian holiday, the man suffers punishment not so much for cutting firewood, as because he did it on a Sunday." [23] Manifestly "Jack and Jill went up the hill" is more than a Runic rhyme, and like many more of our popular strains might supply us with a most interesting and instructive entertainment; but we must hasten on with the moon-man.

We come next to Britain. Alexander Neckam, a learned English abbot, poet, and scholar, born in St. Albans, in 1157, in commenting on the dispersed shadow in the moon, thus alluded to the vulgar belief: "Nonne novisti quid vulgus vocet rusticum in luna portantem spinas? Unde quidam vulgariter loquens ait,

Rusticus in Luna Quem sarcina deprimit una Monstrat per spinas Nulli prodesse rapinas." [24]

This may be rendered, "Do you not know what the people call the rustic in the moon who carries the thorns? Whence one vulgarly speaking says,

The Rustic in the moon, Whose burden weighs him down, This changeless truth reveals, He profits not who steals."

Thomas Wright considers Neckam's Latin version of this popular distich "very curious, as being the earliest allusion we have to the popular legend of the man in the moon." We are specially struck with the reference to theft; while no less noteworthy is the absence of that sabbatarianism, which is the "moral" of the nursery tale.

In the British Museum there is a manuscript of English poetry of the thirteenth century, containing an old song composed probably about the middle of that century. It was first printed by Ritson in his Ancient Songs, the earliest edition of which was published in London, in 1790. The first lines are as follows:

"Mon in the mone stond ant strit, On is bot-forke is burthen he bereth Hit is muche wonder that he na down slyt, For doute leste he valle he shoddreth and shereth." [25]

In the Archaeological Journal we are presented with a relic from the fourteenth century. "Mr. Hudson Taylor submitted to the Committee a drawing of an impression of a very remarkable personal seal, here represented of the full size. It is appended to a deed (preserved in the Public Record Office) dated in the ninth year of Edward the Third, whereby Walter de Grendene, clerk, sold to Margaret, his mother, one messuage, a barn and four acres of ground in the parish of Kingston-on-Thames. The device appears to be founded on the ancient popular legend that a husbandman who had stolen a bundle of thorns from a hedge was, in punishment of his theft, carried up to the moon. The legend reading Te Waltere docebo cur spinas phebo gero, 'I will teach you, Walter, why I carry thorns in the moon,' seems to be an enigmatical mode of expressing the maxim that honesty is the best policy." [26]

About fifty years later, in the same century, Geoffrey Chaucer, in his Troylus and Creseide adverts to the subject in these lines:

"(Quod Pandarus) Thou hast a full great care Lest the chorl may fall out of the moone." (Book i. Stanza 147.)

And in another place he says of Lady Cynthia, or the moon:

"Her gite was gray, and full of spottis blake, And on her brest a chorl painted ful even, Bering a bush of thornis on his backe, Whiche for his theft might clime so ner the heaven."

Whether Chaucer wrote the Testament and Complaint of Creseide, in which these latter lines occur, is doubted, though it is frequently ascribed to him. [27]

Dr. Reginald Peacock, Bishop of Chichester, in his Repressor, written about 1449, combats "this opinioun, that a man which stale sumtyme a birthan of thornis was sett in to the moone, there for to abide for euere."

Thomas Dekker, a British dramatist, wrote in 1630: "A starre? Nay, thou art more than the moone, for thou hast neither changing quarters, nor a man standing in thy circle with a bush of thornes." [28]

And last, but not least, amid the tuneful train, William Shakespeare, without whom no review of English literature or of poetic lore could be complete, twice mentions the man in the moon. First, in the Midsummer Night's Dream, Act iii. Scene 1, Quince the carpenter gives directions for the performance of Pyramus and Thisby, who "meet by moonlight," and says, "One must come in with a bush of thorns and a lanthorn, and say he comes to disfigure, or to present, the person of Moonshine." Then in Act v. the player of that part says, "All that I have to say is, to tell you that the lanthorn is the moon; I, the man in the moon; this thorn-bush, my thorn-bush; and this dog, my dog." And, secondly, in the Tempest, Act ii., Scene 2, Caliban and Stephano in dialogue:

"Cal. Hast thou not dropp'd from heaven? Ste. Out o' the moon, I do assure thee. I was the man i' the moon, when time was. Cal. I have seen thee in her, and I do adore thee: my mistress show'd me thee, thy dog, and bush."

Robert Chambers refers the following singular lines to the man in the moon: adding, "The allusion to Jerusalem pipes is curious; Jerusalem is often applied, in Scottish popular fiction, to things of a nature above this world":

"I sat upon my houtie croutie (hams), I lookit owre my rumple routie (haunch), And saw John Heezlum Peezlum Playing on Jerusalem pipes." [29]

Here is an old-fashioned couplet belonging probably to our northern borders:

"The man in the moon Sups his sowins with a cutty spoon."

Halliwell explains sowins to be a Northumberland dish of coarse oatmeal and milk, and a cutty spoon to be a very small spoon. [30]

Wales is not without a memorial of this myth, for Mr. Baring-Gould tells us that "there is an ancient pictorial representation of our friend the Sabbath-breaker in Gyffyn Church, near Conway. The roof of the chancel is divided into compartments, in four of which are the evangelistic symbols, rudely, yet effectively painted. Besides these symbols is delineated in each compartment an orb of heaven. The sun, the moon, and two stars, are placed at the feet of the Angel, the Bull, the Lion, and the Eagle. The representation of the moon is as follows: in the disk is the conventional man with his bundle of sticks, but without the dog." [31] Mr. Gould says, "our friend the Sabbath-breaker" perhaps the artist would have said "the thief," for stealing appears to be more antique.


A French superstition, lingering to the present day, regards the man in the moon as Judas Iscariot, transported to the moon for his treason. This plainly is a Christian invention. Some say the figure is Isaac bearing a burthen of wood for the sacrifice of himself on Mount Moriah. Others that it is Cain carrying a bundle of thorns on his shoulder, and offering to the Lord the cheapest gift from the field. [32] This was Dante's view, as the succeeding passages will show:

"For now doth Cain with fork of thorns confine On either hemisphere, touching the wave Beneath the towers of Seville. Yesternight The moon was round." (Hell. Canto xx., line 123.)

"But tell, I pray thee, whence the gloomy spots Upon this body, which below on earth Give rise to talk of Cain in fabling quaint?" (Paradise, ii. 50.) [33]

When we leave Europe, and look for the man in the moon under other skies, we find him, but with an altogether new aspect. He is the same, and yet another; another, yet the same. In China he plays a pleasing part in connubial affairs. "The Chinese 'Old Man in the Moon' is known as Yue-lao, and is reputed to hold in his hands the power of predestining the marriages of mortals—so that marriages, if not, according to the native idea, exactly made in heaven, are made somewhere beyond the bounds of earth. He is supposed to tie together the future husband and wife with an invisible silken cord, which never parts so long as life exists." [34] This must be the man of the Honey-moon, and we shall not meet his superior in any part of the world. Among the Khasias of the Himalaya Mountains "the changes of the moon are accounted for by the theory that this orb, who is a man, monthly falls in love with his wife's mother, who throws ashes in his face. The sun is female." [35] The Slavonic legend, following the Himalayan, says that "the moon, King of night and husband of the sun, faithlessly loves the morning Star, wherefore he was cloven through in punishment, as we see him in the sky." [36]

"One man in his time plays many parts," and the man in the moon is no exception to the rule. In Africa his role is a trying one; for "in Bushman astrological mythology the moon is looked upon as a man who incurs the wrath of the sun, and is consequently pierced by the knife (i.e. rays) of the latter. This process is repeated until almost the whole of the moon is cut away, and only a little piece left; which the moon piteously implores the sun to spare for his (the moon's) children. (The moon is in Bushman mythology a male being.) From this little piece, the moon gradually grows again until it becomes a full moon, when the sun's stabbing and cutting processes recommence." [37]

We cross the Atlantic, and among the Greenlanders discover a myth, which is sui generis. "The sun and moon are nothing else than two mortals, brother and sister. They were playing with others at children's games in the dark, when Malina, being teased in a shameful manner by her brother Anninga, smeared her hands with the soot of the lamp, and rubbed them over the face and hands of her persecutor, that she might recognise him by daylight. Hence arise the spots in the moon. Malina wished to save herself by flight, but her brother followed at her heels. At length she flew upwards, and became the sun. Anninga followed her, and became the moon; but being unable to mount so high, he runs continually round the sun, in hopes of some time surprising her. When he is tired and hungry in his last quarter, he leaves his house on a sledge harnessed to four huge dogs, to hunt seals, and continues abroad for several days. He now fattens so prodigiously on the spoils of the chase, that he soon grows into the full moon. He rejoices on the death of women, and the sun has her revenge on the death of men; all males therefore keep within doors during an eclipse of the sun, and females during that of the moon." [38] This Esquimaux story, which has some interesting features, is told differently by Dr. Hayes, the Arctic explorer, who puts a lighted taper into the sun's hands, with which she discovered her brother, and which now causes her bright light, "while the moon, having lost his taper, is cold, and could not be seen but for his sister's light." [39] This belief prevails as far south as Panama, for the inhabitants of the Isthmus of Darien have a tradition that the man in the moon was guilty of gross misconduct towards his elder sister, the sun. [40]

The Creek Indians say that the moon is inhabited by a man and a dog. The native tribes of British Columbia, too, have their myth. Mr. William Duncan writes to the Church Missionary Society: "One very dark night I was told that there was a moon to be seen on the beach. On going to see, there was an illuminated disk, with the figure of a man upon it. The water was then very low, and one of the conjuring parties had lit up this disk at the water's edge. They had made it to wax with great exactness, and presently it was at full. It was an imposing sight. Nothing could be seen around it; but the Indians suppose that the medicine party are then holding converse with the man in the moon." [41] Mr. Duncan was at another time led to the ancestral village of a tribe of Indians, whose chief said to him: "This is the place where our fore fathers lived, and they told us something we want to tell you. The story is as follows: 'One night a child of the chief class awoke and cried for water. Its cries were very affecting—"Mother, give me to drink!" but the mother heeded not. The moon was affected, and came down, entered the house, and approached the child, saying, "Here is water from heaven: drink." The child anxiously laid hold of the pot and drank the draught, and was enticed to go away with the moon, its benefactor. They took an underground passage till they got quite clear of the village, and then ascended to heaven.' And," said the chief, "our forefathers tell us that the figure we now see in the moon is that very child; and also the little round basket which it had in its hand when it went to sleep appears there." [42]

The aborigines of New Zealand have a suggestive version of this superstition. It is quoted from D'Urville by De Rougemont in his Le Peuple Primitif (tom. ii. p. 245), and is as follows:—"Before the moon gave light, a New Zealander named Rona went out in the night to fetch some water from the well. But he stumbled and unfortunately sprained his ankle, and was unable to return home. All at once, as he cried out for very anguish, he beheld with fear and horror that the moon, suddenly becoming visible, descended towards him. He seized hold of a tree, and clung to it for safety; but it gave way, and fell with Rona upon the moon; and he remains there to this day." [43] Another account of Rona varies in that he escapes falling into the well by seizing a tree, and both he and the tree were caught up to the moon. The variation indicates that the legend has a living root.

Here we terminate our somewhat wearisome wanderings about the world and through the mazes of mythology in quest of the man in the moon. As we do so, we are constrained to emphasize the striking similarity between the Scandinavian myth of Jack and Jill, that exquisite tradition of the British Columbian chief, and the New Zealand story of Rona. When three traditions, among peoples so far apart geographically, so essentially agree in one, the lessons to be learned from comparative mythology ought not to be lost upon the philosophical student of human history. To the believer in the unity of our race such a comparison of legends is of the greatest importance. As Mr. Tylor tells us, "The number of myths recorded as found in different countries, where it is hardly conceivable that they should have grown independently, goes on steadily increasing from year to year, each one furnishing a new clue by which common descent or intercourse is to be traced." [44] The same writer says on another page of his valuable work, "The mythmaking faculty belongs to mankind in general, and manifests itself in the most distant regions, where its unity of principle develops itself in endless variety of form." [45] Take, for example, China and England, representing two distinct races, two languages, two forms of religion, and two degrees of civilization yet, as W. F. Mayers remarks, "No one can compare the Chinese legend with the popular European belief in the 'Man in the Moon,' without feeling convinced of the certainty that the Chinese superstition and the English nursery tale are both derived from kindred parentage, and are linked in this relationship by numerous subsidiary ties. In all the range of Chinese mythology there is, perhaps, no stronger instance of identity with the traditions that have taken root in Europe than in the case of the legends relating to the moon." [46] This being the case, our present endeavour to establish the consanguinity of the nations, on the ground of agreement in myths and modes of faith and worship, cannot be labour thrown away. The recognition of friends in heaven is an interesting speculation; but far more good must result, as concerns this life at least, from directing our attention to the recognition of friends on earth. If we duly estimate the worth of any comparative science, whether of anatomy or philology, mythology or religion, this is the grand generalization to be attained, essential unity consistent and concurrent with endless multiformity; many structures, but one life; many creeds, but one faith; many beings and becomings, but all emanating from one Paternity, cohering through one Presence, and converging to one Perfection, in Him who is the Author and Former and Finisher of all things which exist. Let no man therefore ridicule a myth as puerile if it be an aid to belief in that commonweal of humanity for which the Founder of the purest religion was a witness and a martyr. We have sought out the man in the moon mainly because it was one out of many scattered stories which, as Max Mueller nobly says, "though they may be pronounced childish and tedious by some critics, seem to me to glitter with the brightest dew of nature's own poetry, and to contain those very touches that make us feel akin, not only with Homer or Shakespeare, but even with Lapps, and Finns, and Kaffirs." [47] Vico discovered the value of myths, as an addition to our knowledge of the mental and moral life of the men of the myth-producing period. Professor Flint tells us that mythology, as viewed by the contemporaries of Vico, "appeared to be merely a rubbish-heap, composed of waste, worthless, and foul products of mind; but he perceived that it contained the materials for a science which would reflect the mind and history of humanity, and even asserted some general principles as to how these materials were to be interpreted and utilised, which have since been established, or at least endorsed, by Heyne, Creuzer, C O Mueller, and others." [48] Let us cease to call that common which God has cleansed, and with thankfulness recognise the solidarity of the human race, to which testimony is borne by even a lunar myth.

We now return to the point whence we deflected, and rejoin the chief actor in the selenographic comedy. It is a relief to get away from the legendary man in the moon, and to have the real man once more in sight. We are like the little boy, whom the obliging visitor, anxious to show that he was passionately fond of children, and never annoyed by them in the least, treated to a ride upon his knee. "Trot, trot, trot; how do you enjoy that, my little man? Isn't that nice?" "Yes, sir," replied the child, "but not so nice as on the real donkey, the one with the four legs." It is true, the mythical character has redeeming traits; but then he breaks the Sabbath, obstructs people going to mass, steals cabbages, and is undergoing sentence of transportation for life. While the real man, who lives in a well-lighted crescent, thoroughly ventilated; whose noble profile is sometimes seen distinctly when he passes by on the shady side of the way; whose beaming countenance is at other times turned full upon us, reflecting nothing but sunshine as he winks at his many admirers: he is a being of quite another order. We do not forget that he has been represented with a claret jug in one hand, and a claret cup in the other; that he frequently takes half and half; that he is a smoker; that he sometimes gets up when other people are going to bed; that he often stops out all the night; and is too familiar with the low song—

"We won't go home till morning."

But these are mere eccentricities of greatness, and with all such irregularities he is "a very delectable, highly respectable" young fellow; in short,

"A most intense young man, A soul-full-eyed young man, An ultra-poetical, super-aesthetical, Out-of-the-way young man."

Why, he has been known to take the shine out of old Sol himself; though from his partiality to us it always makes him look black in the face when we, Alexander-like, stand between him and that luminary. We, too, are the only people by whom he ever allows himself to be eclipsed. Illustrious man in the moon I he has lifted our thoughts from earth to heaven, and we are reluctant to leave him. But the best of friends must part; especially as other lunar inhabitants await attention.

"Other inhabitants!" some one may exclaim. Surely! we reply; and though it will necessitate a digression, we touch upon the question en passant. Cicero informs us that "Xenophanes says that the moon is inhabited, and a country having several towns and mountains in it." [49] This single dictum will be sufficient for those who bow to the influence of authority in matters of opinion. Settlement of questions by "texts" is a saving of endless pains. For that there are such lunar inhabitants must need little proof. Every astronomer is aware that the moon is full of craters; and every linguist is aware that "cratur" is the Irish word for creature. Or, to state the argument syllogistically, as our old friend Aristotle would have done: "Craturs" are inhabitants; the moon is full of craters; therefore the moon is full of inhabitants. We appeal to any unbiased mind whether such argumentation is not as sound as much of our modern reasoning, conducted with every pretence to logic and lucidity. Besides, who has not heard of that astounding publication, issued fifty years since, and entitled Great Astronomical Discoveries lately made by Sir John Herschel, LL.D., F.R.S., etc., at the Cape of Good Hope? One writer dares to designate it a singular satire; stigmatizes it as the once celebrated Moon Hoax, and attributes it to one Richard Alton Locke, of the United States. What an insinuation! that a man born under the star-spangled banner could trifle with astronomy. But if a few incredulous persons doubted, a larger number of the credulous believed. When the first number appeared in the New York Sun, in September, 1835, the excitement aroused was intense. The paper sold daily by thousands; and when the articles came out as a pamphlet, twenty thousand went off at once. Not only in Young America, but also in Old England, France, and throughout Europe, the wildest enthusiasm prevailed. Could anybody reasonably doubt that Sir John had seen wonders, when it was known that his telescope contained a prodigious lens, weighing nearly seven tons, and possessing a magnifying power estimated at 42,000 times? A reverend astronomer tells us that Sir Frederick Beaufort, having occasion to write to Sir John Herschel at the Cape, asked if he had heard of the report current in England that he (Sir John) had discovered sheep, oxen, and flying men in the moon. Sir John had heard the report; and had further heard that an American divine had "improved" the revelations. The said divine had told his congregation that, on account of the wonderful discoveries of the present age, lie lived in expectation of one day calling upon them for a subscription to buy Bibles for the benighted inhabitants of the moon. [50] What more needs to be said? Give our astronomical mechanicians a little time, and they will produce an instrument for full verification of these statements regarding the lunar inhabitants; and we may realize more than we have imagined or dreamed. We may obtain observations as satisfactory as those of a son of the Emerald Isle, who was one day boasting to a friend of his excellent telescope. "Do you see yonder church?" said he. "Although it is scarcely discernible with the naked eye, when I look at it through my telescope, it brings it so close that I can hear the organ playing." Two hundred years ago, a wise man witnessed a wonderful phenomenon in the moon: he actually beheld a live elephant there. But the unbelieving have ever since made all manner of fun at the good knight's expense. Take the following burlesque of this celebrated discovery as an instance. "Sir Paul Neal, a conceited virtuoso of the seventeenth century, gave out that he had discovered 'an elephant in the moon.' It turned out that a mouse had crept into his telescope, which had been mistaken for an elephant in the moon." [51] Well, we concede that an elephant and a mouse are very much alike; but surely Sir Paul was too sagacious to be deceived by resemblances. If we had more faith, which is indispensable in such matters, the revelations of science, however extraordinary or extravagant, would be received without a murmur of distrust. We should not then meet with such sarcasm as we found in the seventeenth century Jest Book before quoted: "One asked why men should thinke there was a world in the moone? It was answered, because they were lunatique."

According to promise, we must make mention of at least one visit paid by our hero to this lower world. We do this in the classic language of a student of that grand old University which stands in the city of Oxford. May the horns of Oxford be exalted, and the shadow of the University never grow less, while the moon endureth!

"The man in the moon! why came he down From his peaceful realm on high; Where sorrowful moan is all unknown, And nothing is born to die? The man in the moon was tired, it seems, Of living so long in the land of dreams; 'Twas a beautiful sphere, but nevertheless Its lunar life was passionless; Unchequered by sorrow, undimmed by crime, Untouched by the wizard wand of time; 'Twas all too grand, there was no scope For dread, and of course no room for hope To him the future had no fear, To make the present doubly dear; The day no cast of coming night, To make the borrowed ray more bright; And life itself no thought of death, To sanctify the boon of breath:— In short, as we world-people say, The man in the moon was ennuye." [52]

Poor man in the moon! what a way he must have been in! We hope that he found improving fellowship, say among the Fellows of some Royal Astronomical Society; and that when e returned to his skylight, or lighthouse on the coast of immensity's wide sea, he returned a wiser and much happier man. It is for us, too, to remember with Spenser, "The noblest mind the best contentment has."

And now we record a few visits which men of this sublunary sphere are said to have paid to the moon. The chronicles are unfortunately very incomplete. Aiming at historical fulness and fidelity, we turned to our national bibliotheca at the British Museum, where we fished out of the vasty deep of treasures a MS. without date or name. We wish the Irish orator's advice were oftener followed by literary authors. Said he, "Never write an anonymous letter without signing your name to it." This MS. is entitled "Selenographia, or News from the world in the moon to the lunatics of this world. By Lucas Lunanimus of Lunenberge." [53] We are here told how the author, "making himself a kite of ye hight(?) of a large sheet, and tying himself to the tayle of it, by the help of some trusty friends, to whom he promised mountains of land in this his new-found world; being furnished also with a tube, horoscope, and other instruments of discovery, he set saile the first of Aprill, a day alwaies esteemed prosperous for such adventures." Fearing, however, lest the date of departure should make some suspicious that the author was desirous of making his readers April fools, we leave this aerial tourist to pursue his explorations without our company, and listen to a learned bishop, who ought to be a canonical authority, for the man in the moon himself is an overseer of men. Dr. Francis Godwin, first of Llandaff, afterwards of Hereford, wrote about the year 1600 The Man in the Moone, or a discourse of a voyage thither. This was published in 1638, under the pseudonym of Domingo Gonsales. The enterprising aeronaut went up from the island of El Pico, carried by wild swans. Swans, be it observed. It was not a wild-goose chase. The author is careful to tell us what we believe so soon as it is declared. "The further we went, the lesser the globe of the earth appeared to us; whereas still on the contrary side the moone showed herselfe more and more monstrously huge." After eleven days' passage, the exact time that Arago allowed for a cannon ball to reach the moon, "another earth" was approached. "I perceived that it was covered for the most part with a huge and mighty sea, those parts only being drie land, which show unto us here somewhat darker than the rest of her body; that I mean which the country people call el hombre della Luna, the man of the moone." This last clause demands a protest. The bishop knocks the country-people's man out of the moon, to make room for his own man, which episcopal creation is twenty-eight feet high, and weighs twenty-five or thirty of any of us. Besides ordinary men, of extraordinary measurement, the bishop finds in the moon princes and queens. The females, or lunar ladies, as a matter of course, are of absolute beauty. Their language has "no affinity with any other I ever heard." This is a poor look-out for the American divine who expects to send English Bibles to the moon. "Food groweth everywhere without labour": this is a cheering prospect for our working classes who may some day go there. "They need no lawyers": oh what a country! "And as little need is there of physicians." Why, the moon must be Paradise regained. But, alas! "they die, or rather (I should say) cease to live." Well, my lord bishop, is not that how we die on earth? Perhaps we need to be learned bishops to appreciate the difference. If so, we might accept episcopal distinction.

Lucian, the Greek satirist, in his Voyage to the Globe of the Moon, sailed through the sky for the space of seven days and nights and on the eighth "arrived in a great round and shining island which hung in the air and yet was inhabited. These inhabitants were Hippogypians, and their king was Endymion." [54] Some of the ancients thought the lunarians were fifteen times larger than we are, and our oaks but bushes compared with their trees. So natural is it to magnify prophets not of our own country.

William Hone tells us that a Mr. Wilson, formerly curate of Halton Gill, near Skipton-in-Craven, Yorkshire, in the last century wrote a tract entitled The Man in the Moon, which was seriously meant to convey the knowledge of common astronomy in the following strange vehicle: A cobbler, Israel Jobson by name, is supposed to ascend first to the top of Penniguit; and thence, as a second stage equally practicable, to the moon; after which he makes the grand tour of the whole solar system. From this excursion, however, the traveller brings back little information which might not have been had upon earth, excepting that the inhabitants of one of the planets, I forget which, were made of "pot metal." [55] This curious tract, full of other extravagances, is rarely if ever met with, it having been zealously bought up by its writer's family.

We must not be detained with any detailed account of M. Jules Verne's captivating books, entitled From the Earth to the Moon, and Around the Moon. They are accessible to all, at a trifling cost. Besides, they reveal nothing new relating to the Hamlet of our present play. Nor need we more than mention "the surprising adventures of the renowned Baron Munchausen." His lunarians being over thirty-six feet high, and "a common flea being much larger than one of our sheep," [56] Munchausen's moon must be declined, with thanks.

"Certain travellers, like the author of the Voyage au monde de Descartes, have found, on visiting these different lunar countries, that the great men whose names they had arbitrarily received took possession of them in the course of the sixteenth century, and there fixed their residence. These immortal souls, it seems, continued their works and systems inaugurated on earth. Thus it is, that on Mount Aristotle a real Greek city has risen, peopled with peripatetic philosophers, and guarded by sentinels armed with propositions, antitheses, and sophisms, the master himself living in the centre of the town in a magnificent palace. Thus also in Plato's circle live souls continually occupied in the study of the prototype of ideas. Two years ago a fresh division of lunar property was made, some astronomers being generously enriched." [57]

That the moon is an abode of the departed spirits of men, an upper hades, has been believed for ages. In the Egyptian Book of Respirations, which M. p. J. de Horrack has translated from the MS. in the Louvre in Paris, Isis breathes the wish for her brother Osiris "that his soul may rise to heaven in the disk of the moon." [58] Plutarch says, "Of these soules the moon is the element, because soules doe resolve into her, like as the bodies of the dead into the earth." [59] To this ancient theory Mr. Tylor refers when he writes, "And when in South America the Saliva Indians have pointed out the moon, their paradise where no mosquitoes are, and the Guaycurus have shown it as the home of chiefs and medicine-men deceased, and the Polynesians of Tokelau in like manner have claimed it as the abode of departed kings and chiefs, then these pleasant fancies may be compared with that ancient theory mentioned by Plutarch, that hell is in the air and elysium in the moon, and again with the mediaeval conception of the moon as the seat of hell, a thought elaborated in profoundest bathos by Mr. M. F. Tupper:

'I know thee well, O Moon, thou cavern'd realm, Sad satellite, thou giant ash of death, Blot on God's firmament, pale home of crime, Scarr'd prison house of sin, where damned souls Feed upon punishment. Oh, thought sublime, That amid night's black deeds, when evil prowls Through the broad world, thou, watching sinners well, Glarest o'er all, the wakeful eye of—Hell!'

Skin for skin, the brown savage is not ill-matched in such speculative lore with the white philosopher." [60]

The last journey to the moon on our list we introduce for the sake of its sacred lesson. Pure religion is an Attic salt, which wise men use in all of their entertainments: a condiment which seasons what is otherwise insipid, and assists healthy digestion in the compound organism of man's mental and moral constitution. About seventy years since, a little tract was published, in which the writer imagined himself on luna firma. After giving the inhabitants of the moon an account of our terrestrial race, of its fall and redemption, and of the unhappiness of those who neglect the great salvation, he says, "The secret is this, that nothing but an infinite God, revealing Himself by His Spirit to their minds, and enabling them to believe and trust in Him, can give perfect and lasting satisfaction." He then adds, "My last observation received the most marked approbation of the lunar inhabitants: they truly pitied the ignorant triflers of our sinful world, who prefer drunkenness, debauchery, sinful amusements, exorbitant riches, flattery, and other things that are highly esteemed amongst men, to the pleasures of godliness, to the life of God in the soul of man, to the animating hope of future bliss." [61]

Here the man in the moon and we must part. Hitherto some may have supposed their thoughts occupied with a mere creature of imagination, or gratuitous creation of an old-world mythology. Perhaps the man in the moon is nothing more: perhaps he is very much more. Possibly we have information of every being in the universe; and possibly there are beings in every existing world of which we know nothing whatever. The latter possibility we deem much the more probable. Remembering our littleness as contrasted with the magnitude of the whole creation, we prefer to believe that there are rational creatures in other worlds besides this small-sized sphere in, it may be, a small-sized system. Therefore, till we acquire more conclusive evidence than has yet been adduced, we will not regard even the moon as an empty abode, but as the home of beings whom, in the absence of accurate definition, we denominate men. Whether the man in the moon have a body like our own, whether his breathing apparatus, his digestive functions, and his cerebral organs, be identical with ours, are matters of secondary moment. The Fabricator of terrestrial organizations has limited himself to no one type or form, why then should man be the model of beings in distant worlds? Be the man in the moon a biped or quadruped; see he through two eyes as we do, or a hundred like Argus; hold he with two hands as we do, or a hundred like Briarius; walk he with two feet as we do, or a hundred like the centipede, "the mind's the standard of the man" everywhere. If he have but a wise head and a warm heart; if he be not shut up, Diogenes—like, within his own little tub of a world, but take an interest in the inhabitants of kindred spheres; and if he be a worshipper of the one God who made the heavens with all their glittering hosts;—then, in the highest sense, he is a man, to whom we would fain extend the hand of fellowship, claiming him as a brother in that universal family which is confined to no bone or blood, no colour or creed, and, so far as we can conjecture, to no world, but is co-extensive with the household of the Infinite Father, who cares for all of His children, and will ultimately blend them in the blessed bonds of an endless confraternity. Whether we or our posterity will ever become better acquainted in this life with the man in the moon is problematical; but in the ages to come, "when the manifold wisdom of God" shall be developed among "the principalities and powers in heavenly places," he may be something more than a myth or topic of amusement. He may be visible among the first who will declare every man in his own tongue wherein he was born the wonderful works of God, and he may be audible among the first who will lift their hallelujahs of undivided praise when every satellite shall be a chorister to laud the universal King. Let us, brothers of earth, by high and holy living, learn the music of eternity; and then, when the discord of "life's little day" is hushed, and we are called to join in the everlasting song, we may solve in one beatific moment the problem of the plurality of worlds, and in that solution we shall see more than we have been able to see at present of the man in the moon.


"O woman! lovely woman! nature made thee To temper man; we had been brutes without you. Angels are painted fair, to look like you: There's in you all that we believe of heaven Amazing brightness, purity, and truth, Eternal joy, and everlasting love." (Otway's Venice Preserved, 1682.)

It is not good that the man in the moon should be alone; therefore creative imagination has supplied him with a companion. The woman in the moon as a myth does not obtain to any extent in Europe; she is to be found chiefly in Polynesia, and among the native races of North America. The Middle Kingdom furnishes the following allusion: "The universal legend of the man in the moon takes in China a form that is at least as interesting as the ruder legends of more barbarous people. The 'Goddess of the Palace of the Moon,' Chang-o, appeals as much to our sympathies as, and rather more so than, the ancient beldame who, in European folk-lore, picks up perpetual sticks to satisfy the vengeful ideas of an ultra-Sabbatical sect. Mr. G. C. Stent has aptly seized the idea of the Chinese versifier whom he translates

"On a gold throne, whose radiating brightness Dazzles the eyes—enhaloing the scene, Sits a fair form, arrayed in snowy whiteness. She is Chang-o, the beauteous Fairy Queen. Rainbow-winged angels softly hover o'er her, Forming a canopy above the throne; A host of fairy beings stand before her, Each robed in light, and girt with meteor zone.'" [62]

A touching tradition is handed down by Berthold that the moon is Mary Magdalene, and the spots her tears of repentance. [63] Fontenelle, the French poet and philosopher, saw a woman in the moon's changes. "Everything," he says, "is in perpetual motion; even including a certain young lady in the moon, who was seen with a telescope about forty years ago, everything has considerably aged. She had a pretty good face, but her cheeks are now sunken, her nose is lengthened, her forehead and chin are now prominent to such an extent, that all her charms have vanished, and I fear for her days." "What are you relating to me now?" interrupted the marchioness. "This is no jest," replied Fontenelle. "Astronomers perceived in the moon a particular figure which had the aspect of a woman's head, which came forth from between the rocks, and then occurred some changes in this region. Some pieces of mountain fell, and disclosed three points which could only serve to compose a forehead, a nose, and an old woman's chin." [64] Doubtless the face and the disfigurements were fictions of the author's lively imagination, and his words savour less of science than of satire; but Fontenelle was neither the first nor the last of those to whom "the inconstant moon that monthly changes" has been an impersonation of the fickle and the feminine. The following illustration is from Plutarch: "Cleobulus said, As touching fooles, I will tell you a tale which I heard my mother once relate unto a brother of mine. The time was (quoth she) that the moone praied her mother to make her a peticoate fit and proportionate for her body. Why, how is it possible (quoth her mother) that I should knit or weave one to fit well about thee considering that I see thee one while full, another while croissant or in the wane and pointed with tips of horns, and sometime again halfe rounde?" [65] Old John Lilly, one of our sixteenth-century dramatists, likewise supports this ungallant theory. In the Prologus to one of his very rare dramas he writes:

"Our poet slumb'ring in the muses laps, Hath seen a woman seated in the moone." [66]

This woman is Pandora, the mischief-maker among the Utopian shepherds. In Act v. she receives her commission to conform the moon to her own mutability:

"Now rule Pandora in fayre Cynthia's steede, And make the moone inconstant like thyselfe, Raigne thou at women's nuptials, and their birth, Let them be mutable in all their loves. Fantasticall, childish, and folish, in their desires Demanding toyes; and stark madde When they cannot have their will."

In North America the woman in the moon is a cosmological myth. Take, for example, the tale told by the Esquimaux, which word is the French form of the Algonquin Indian Eskimantsic, "raw-flesh eaters." "Their tradition of the formation of the sun and moon is, that not long after the world was formed, a great conjuror or angikak became so powerful that he could ascend into the heavens when he pleased, and on one occasion took with him a beautiful sister whom he loved very much, and also some fire, to which he added great quantities of fuel, and thus formed the sun. For a time the conjuror treated his sister with great kindness, and they lived happily together; but at last he became cruel, ill-used her in many ways, and, as a climax, burnt one side of her face with fire. After this last indignity she ran away from him and became the moon. Her brother in the sun has been in chase of her ever since; but although he sometimes gets near, will never overtake her. When new moon, the burnt side of her face is towards the earth; when full moon, the reverse is the case." [67] The likeness between this tradition and the Greenlanders' myth of Malina and Anninga is very close, the difference consisting chiefly in the change of sex; here the moon is feminine, there the moon is masculine. [68]

In Brazil the story is further varied, in that it is the sister who falls in love, and receives a discoloured face for her offence. Professor Hartt says that Dr. Silva de Coutinho found on the Rio Branco and Sr. Barbosa has reported from the Jamunda a myth "in which the moon is represented as a maiden who fell in love with her brother and visited him at night, but who was finally betrayed by his passing his blackened hand over her face." [69]

The Ottawa tale of Indian cosmogony, called Iosco, narrates the adventures of two Indians who "found themselves in a beautiful country, lighted by the moon, which shed around a mild and pleasant light. They could see the moon approaching as if it were from behind a hill. They advanced, and the aged woman spoke to them; she had a white face and pleasing air, and looked rather old, though she spoke to them very kindly. They knew from her first appearance that she was the moon. She asked them several questions. She informed them that they were halfway to her brother's (the sun), and that from the earth to her abode was half the distance." [70]

Other American Indians have a tradition of an old woman who lived with her grand-daughter, the most beautiful girl that ever was seen in the country. Coming of age, she wondered that only herself and her grandmother were in the world. The grandam explained that an evil spirit had destroyed all others; but that she by her power had preserved herself and her grand-daughter. This did not satisfy the young girl, who thought that surely some survivors might be found. She accordingly travelled in search, till on the tenth day she found a lodge inhabited by eleven brothers, who were hunters. The eleventh took her to wife, and died after a son was born. The widow then wedded each of the others, beginning with the youngest. When she took the eldest, she soon grew tired of him, and fled away by the western portal of the hunter's lodge. Tearing up one of the stakes which supported the door, she disappeared in the earth with her little dog. Soon all trace of the fugitive was lost. Then she emerged from the earth in the east, where she met an old man fishing in the sea. This person was he who made the earth. He bade her pass into the air toward the west. Meanwhile the deserted husband pursued his wife into the earth on the west, and out again on the east, where the tantalizing old fisherman cried out to him, "Go, go; you will run after your wife as long as the earth lasts without ever overtaking her, and the nations who will one day be upon the earth will call you Gizhigooke, he who makes the day." From this is derived Gizis, the sun. Some of the Indians count only eleven moons, which represent the eleven brothers, dying one after another. [71]

Passing on to Polynesia, we reach Samoa, where "we are told that the moon came down one evening, and picked up a woman, called Sina, and her child. It was during a time of famine. She was working in the evening twilight, beating out some bark with which to make native cloth. The moon was just rising, and it reminded her of a great bread-fruit. Looking up to it, she said, 'Why cannot you come down and let my child have a bit of you?' The moon was indignant at the idea of being eaten, came down forthwith, and took her up, child, board, mallet, and all. The popular superstition is not yet forgotten in Samoa of the woman in the moon. 'Yonder is Sina,' they say, 'and her child, and her mallet, and board.'" [72] The same belief is held in the adjacent Tonga group, or Friendly Islands, as they were named by Captain Cook, on account of the supposed friendliness of the natives. "As to the spots in the moon, they are compared to the figure of a woman sitting down and beating gnatoo" (bark used for clothing). [73]

In Mangaia, the southernmost island of the Hervey cluster, the woman in the moon is Ina, the pattern wife, who is always busy, and indefatigable in the preparation of resplendent cloth, i.e. white clouds. At Atiu it is said that Ina took to her celestial abode a mortal husband, whom, after many happy years, she sent back to the earth on a beautiful rainbow, lest her fair home should be defiled by death. [74] Professor Max Mueller is reminded by this story of Selene and Endymion, of Eos and Tithonos.


When the moon is waxing, from about the eighth day to the full, it requires no very vivid imagination to descry on the westward side of the lunar disk a large patch very strikingly resembling a rabbit or hare. The oriental noticing this figure, his poetical fancy developed the myth-making faculty, which in process of time elaborated the legend of the hare in the moon, which has left its marks in every quarter of the globe. In Asia it is indigenous, and is an article of religious belief. "To the common people in India the spots look like a hare, i.e. Chandras, the god of the moon, carries a hare (sasa), hence the moon is called Sasin or Sasanka, hare mark or spot." [75] Max Mueller also writes, "As a curious coincidence it may be mentioned that in Sanskrit the moon is called Sasanka,i.e. 'having the marks of a hare,' the black marks in the moon being taken for the likeness of the hare." [76] This allusion to the sacred language of the Hindus affords a convenient opportunity of introducing one of the most beautiful legends of the East. It is a Buddhist tract; but in the lesson which it embodies it will compare very favourably with many a tract more ostensibly Christian.

"In former days, a hare, a monkey, a coot, and a fox, became hermits, and lived in a wilderness together, after having sworn not to kill any living thing. The god Sakkria having seen this through his divine power, thought to try their faith, and accordingly took upon him the form of a brahmin, and appearing before the monkey begged of him alms, who immediately brought to him a bunch of mangoes, and presented it to him. The pretended brahmin, having left the monkey, went to the coot and made the same request, who presented him a row of fish which he had just found on the bank of a river, evidently forgotten by a fisherman. The brahmin then went to the fox, who immediately went in search of food, and soon returned with a pot of milk and a dried liguan, which he had found in a plain, where apparently they had been left by a herdsman. The brahmin at last went to the hare and begged alms of him. The hare said, 'Friend, I eat nothing but grass, which I think is of no use to you.' Then the pretended brahmin replied, 'Why, friend, if you are a true hermit, you can give me your own flesh in hope of future happiness.' The hare directly consented to it, and said to the supposed brahmin, 'I have granted your request, and you may do whatever you please with me.' The brahmin then replied, 'Since you are willing to grant my request, I will kindle a fire at the foot of the rock, from which you may jump into the fire, which will save me the trouble of killing you and dressing your flesh.' The hare readily agreed to it, and jumped from the top of the rock into the fire which the supposed brahmin had kindled; but before he reached the fire, it was extinguished; and the brahmin appearing in his natural shape of the god Sakkria, took the hare in his arms and immediately drew its figure in the moon, in order that every living thing of every part of the world might see it." [77] All will acknowledge that this is a very beautiful allegory. How many in England, as well as in Ceylon, are described by the monkey, the coot, and the fox—willing to bring their God any oblation which costs them nothing; but how few are like the hare—ready to present themselves as a living sacrifice, to be consumed as a burnt offering in the Divine service! Those, however, who lose their lives in such self-sacrifice, shall find them, and be caught up to "shine as the brightness of the firmament and as the stars for ever and ever."

Another version of this legend is slightly variant. Grimm says: "The people of Ceylon relate as follows: While Buddha the great god sojourned upon earth as a hermit, he one day lost his way in a wood. He had wandered long, when a hare accosted him: 'Cannot I help thee? Strike into the path on thy right. I will guide thee out of the wilderness.' Buddha replied: 'Thank thee, but I am poor and hungry, and unable to repay thy kindness.' 'If thou art hungry,' said the hare, 'light a fire, and kill, roast, and eat me.' Buddha made a fire, and the hare immediately jumped in. Then did Buddha manifest his divine power; he snatched the beast out of the flames, and set him in the moon, where he may be seen to this day." [78] Francis Douce, the antiquary, relates this myth, and adds, "this is from the information of a learned and intelligent French gentleman recently arrived from Ceylon, who adds that the Cingalese would often request of him to permit them to look for the hare through his telescope, and exclaim in raptures that they saw it. It is remarkable that the Chinese represent the moon by a rabbit pounding rice in a mortar. Their mythological moon Jut-ho is figured by a beautiful young woman with a double sphere behind her head, and a rabbit at her feet. The period of this animal's gestation is thirty days; may it not therefore typify the moon's revolution round the earth." [79]

SAKYAMUNI AS A HARE IN THE MOON. Collin de Plancy's "Dictionnaire Infernal."

In this same apologue we have doubtless a duplicate, the original or a copy, of another Buddhist legend found among the Kalmucks of Tartary; in which Sakyamuni himself, in an early stage of existence, had inhabited the body of a hare. Giving himself as food to feed the hunger of a starving creature, he was immediately placed in the moon, where he is still to be seen. [80]

The Mongolian also sees a hare in the lunar shadows. We are told by a Chinese scholar that "tradition earlier than the period of the Han dynasty asserted that a hare inhabited the surface of the moon, and later Taoist fable depicted this animal, called the gemmeous hare, as the servitor of the genii, who employ it in pounding the drugs which compose the elixir of life. The connection established in Chinese legend between the hare and the moon is probably traceable to an Indian original. In Sanskrit inscriptions the moon is called Sason, from a fancied resemblance of its spots to a leveret; and pandits, to whom maps of the moon's service have been shown, have fixed on Loca Paludosa, and Mons Porphyrites or Keplerus and Aristarchus, for the spots which they think exhibit the similitude of a hare." [81] On another page of the same work we read: "During the T'ang dynasty it was recounted that a cassia tree grows in the moon, this notion being derived apparently from an Indian source. The sal tree (shorea robusta), one of the sacred trees of the Buddhists, was said during the Sung dynasty to be identical with the cassia tree in the moon. The lunar hare is said to squat at the foot of the cassia tree, pounding its drugs for the genii. The cassia tree in the moon is said to be especially visible at mid-autumn, and hence to take a degree at the examinations which are held at this period is described as plucking a leaf from the cassia." [82]

This hare myth, attended with the usual transformation, has travelled to the Hottentots of South Africa. The fable which follows is entitled "From an original manuscript in English, by Mr. John Priestly, in Sir G. Grey's library." "The moon, on one occasion, sent the hare to the earth to inform men that as she (the moon) died away and rose again, so mankind should die and rise again. Instead, however, of delivering this message as given, the hare, either out of forgetfulness or malice, told mankind that as the moon rose and died away, so man should die and rise no more. The hare, having returned to the moon, was questioned as to the message delivered, and the moon, having heard the true state of the case, became so enraged with him that she took up a hatchet to split his head; falling short, however, of that, the hatchet fell upon the upper lip of the hare, and cut it severely. Hence it is that we see the 'hare-lip.' The hare, being duly incensed at having received such treatment, raised his claws, and scratched the moon's face; and the dark parts which we now see on the surface of the moon are the scars which she received on that occasion." [83] In an account of the Hottentot myth of the "Origin of Death," the angered moon heats a stone and burns the hare's mouth, causing the hare-lip. [84] Dr. Marshall may tell us, with all the authority of an eminent physiologist, that hare-lip is occasioned by an arrest in the development of certain frontal and nasal processes, [85] and we may receive his explanation as a sweetly simple solution of the question; but who that suffers from this leporine-labial deformity would not prefer a supernatural to a natural cause? Better far that the lip should be cleft by Shakespeare's "foul fiend Flibbertigibbet," than that an abnormal condition should be accounted for by science, or comprised within the reign of physical law.

Even Europe is somewhat hare-brained: for Caesar tells us that the Britons did not regard it lawful to eat the hare, though he does not say why; and in Swabia still, children are forbidden to make shadows on the wall to represent the sacred hare of the moon.

We may pursue this matter even in Mexico, whose deities and myths a recent Hibbert lecturer brought into clearer light, showing that the Mexicans "possessed beliefs, institutions, and a developed mythology which would bear comparison with anything known to antiquity in the old world." [86] The Tezcucans, as they are usually called, are described by Prescott as "a nation of the same great family with the Aztecs, whom they rivalled in power, and surpassed in intellectual culture and the arts of social refinement." [87] Their account of the creation is that "the sun and moon came out equally bright, but this not seeming good to the gods, one of them took a rabbit by the heels and slung it into the face of the moon, dimming its lustre with a blotch, whose mark may be seen to this day." [88]

We have now seen that the fancy of a hare in the moon is universal; but not so much importance is to be attached to this, as to some other aspects of moon mythology. The hare-like patch is visible in every land, and suggested the animal to all observers. That the rabbit's period of gestation is thirty days is a singular coincidence; but that is all—nay, it is not even that, for "the moon's revolution round the earth," which Douce supposed the Chinese myth to typify, is accomplished in a little more than twenty-seven days. Neither is much weight due to the fanciful comparison of Gubernatis: "The moon is the watcher of the sky, that is to say, she sleeps with her eyes open; so also does the hare, whence the somnus leporinus became a proverb." [89] The same author says on another page, and here we follow him: "The mythical hare is undoubtedly the moon. In the first story of the third book of the Pancatantram, the hares dwell upon the shore of the lake Candrasaras, or lake of the moon, and their king has for his palace the lunar disk." [90] It is this story, which Mr. Baring-Gould relates in outline; and which we are compelled still further to condense. In a certain forest there once lived a herd of elephants. Long drought having dried up the lakes and swamps, an exploring party was sent out in search of a fresh supply of water. An extensive lake was discovered, called the moon lake. The elephants with their king eagerly marched to the spot, and found their thirsty hopes fully realized. All round the lake were in numerable hare warrens, which the tread of the mighty monsters crushed unmercifully, maiming and mangling the helpless inhabitants. When the elephants had withdrawn, the poor hares met together in terrible plight, to consult upon the course which they should take when their enemies returned. One wise hare undertook the task of driving the ponderous herd away. This he did by going alone to the elephant king, and representing himself as the hare which lived in the moon. He stated that he was deputed by his excellency the moon to say that if the elephants came any more to the lake, the beams of night would be withheld, and their bodies would be burned up with perpetual sunshine. The king of the elephants thinking that "the better part of valour is discretion," decided to offer an apology for his offence. He was conducted to the lake, where the moon was reflected in the water, apparently meditating his revenge. The elephant thrust his proboscis into the lake, which disturbed the reflection. Whereupon the elephant, judging the moon to be enraged, hurried with his apology, and then went off vowing never to return. The wise hare had proven that "wisdom is better than strength"; and the hares suffered no more molestation. "We may also remark, in this event, the truth of that saying of Euripides, 'that one wise counsel is better than the strength of many'" (Polybius, i. 35).


We owe an immense debt of gratitude and honour to the many enterprising and cultivated men who have gone into all parts of the earth and among all peoples to investigate human history and habit, mythology and religion, and thus enrich the stores of our national literature. With such a host of travellers gathering up the fragments, nothing of value is likely to be lost. We have to thank intelligent explorers for all we know of the mythical frog or toad in the moon: an addition to our information which is not unworthy of thoughtful notice.

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