Andersen Fairy Tales, Andersen-Hans Christian

What the Moon Saw-Introduction

Moon by Ashe ArterberryWhat the Moon Saw-Introduction

I have always enjoyed the moon. There is something mysterious and beautiful about this silvery disk that comes out at night. In addition to being the ruling light of the night, the moon changes and transforms. Sometimes it’s orange. Sometimes it’s a crescent. Sometimes there’s only half of it there. The sun can’t do nearly as many interesting things as the moon can.

Once upon a time there was a man who was lonely because he had moved to a new town. The man is an artist and was used to seeing green hill and trees outside of his window, but now he sees only chimneys and soot. There was not a familiar face there, but the artist was surprised to find the moon. A familiar face at last!

The moon and the artist spoke. The Moon told the artist that he would come and visit the artist. If the artist painted the scenes the moon told to him, he would have a wonderful book full of paintings. The moon did not come every night, sometimes it was obscured by the clouds, but on the nights the moon did come it told the man of wonderful things. The artist will relay the things the moon saw in following tales.


I honestly really like the moon. It’s a very neat piece of our existence. It’s there at night. It shines silver. It may change colors. It may loom large and heavy in the Autumn. It may disappear all together. Because I like the moon, I like stories about the moon.

This man, this artist, is an example of a person moving to an unfamiliar place. Think of his scenario, which is still common today. He’s a gifted person, a talented artist, in order to make a living doing what he’s talented at he has to leave his home in the country and move to the city. Any artist living in the country will tell you that it’s difficult to make a living in a small town. People just don’t appreciate art in the same manner and to the same dollar extent that people in the city would appreciate it. He’s left his home with everything familiar and moved to a city. He’s not used to the crowds. He’s not used to people being so close. It’s hard to imagine how someone could be lonely surrounded by so many people, but it’s entirely possible, especially considering someone who is an artist. Artists generally fall more on the introverted side than the extroverted side. Being around so many people is probably exhausting for him. He’s probably really lonely. Seeing the moon was probably just what he needed.


Even though this artist may not realize it at the beginning of the story, there are familiar things wherever you go. The moon will always be the same moon. The sun will always be the same sun. It will still rain. It will still get light and get dark. There will be people there with two legs and two arms. There will still be kindness. There will still be smiles. There will still be meanness. There will still be evil. No matter where you go, some things are always going to be the same.

It can still be tough though when you go to a new place. This artist found that out. He wasn’t familiar with much of anything, but he finally saw the moon, which was something he knew. He will recognize more familiar things as his life in the city goes on, but at first it’s overwhelming. It would be this way for any of us.

There is a universal truth in this story. We feel strange when we go to a new place, until we recognize things that seem familiar to us.


I’m looking forward to reading about what the moon saw. Probably nothing to salacious as this is a fairy tale, but you never know.

Weigh In

Do you like the moon?

Do you think you would feel equally as overwhelmed by moving to an unfamiliar place?


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