Andersen Fairy Tales, Andersen-Hans Christian

What the Moon Saw-Second Evening

What the Moon Saw-Second EveningWhat the Moon Saw-Second Evening

…and the moon goes on.

The second evening the moon came to the artist the moon told him of looking out into a courtyard. There he saw a young girl scattering the hen and her chicks. The hen was scared and made lots of noise. The father came and got onto the little girl. A few minutes later the little girl crept back out and into the hen-house. At first the father was mad when he found out, but the little girl simply told him that she wanted to beg forgiveness of the hen for frightening her.

“And the father kissed the innocent child’s forehead, and I [the moon] kissed her on the mouth and eyes.”

screenshot-books google com 2015-02-28 16-53-06Observations

This isn’t a story of loneliness as the first story the moon told was. This is a story of simple humanity. This girl was acting as a child does, by causing a ruckus, and she was chastised for it. She realized her wrong and wanted to ask forgiveness, even if chickens don’t really forgive people.

Chickens aren’t really friendly animals. I know there are exceptions. Chickens have been known to be quite friendly at points, especially to children. My uncle used to have a chicken that followed him around everywhere outside. In general though, chickens aren’t friendly like mammals can be. They don’t cuddle, generally. They’re probably not going to respond highly to you trying to pet them or play with them. Birds kind of speak a different language than mammals do.

For example, you’re really not supposed to pet a bird’s back. They see it as foreplay. I’m not making this up. The reaction from probably varies from bird type to bird type, but it is recommended that you only pet your bird on the head. My point in mentioning this is that this little girl could try all she wanted to, but that chicken wasn’t going to see her intrusion as anything but a threat, or at the very least a bother. There was no way this chicken was going to be like, “Hey, Cindy, I accept your apology for scaring me earlier. We can cuddle now.”


This little girl, besides being something of a terror, is like all children are…innocent and naive. She doesn’t understand that this chicken isn’t going to talk reasonably with her about this. This chicken isn’t going to let this little girl hug her. This chicken isn’t going to cuddle. This little girl doesn’t really see it that way though. Children don’t really understand differences between lifeforms for a while. To them a person and a dog might as well be on the same level. Drink water out of the dog’s bowl, drink water out of your father’s cup, what’s the difference? They eventually do grow to understand that people are people and animals are animals, but it takes a few years.

While illustrating that children are kind of stupid in the differentiating animal behavior from human behavior department, this story also illustrates that children can be very sweet and very Godlike in their actions. They haven’t yet developed that guile and skepticism of the world that would prevent them from feeling that the chicken should be apologized to. As adults we can fall into these bogs of thinking that we don’t have to be careful of how our actions affect other people. We do have to be careful about that, but we often get too wrapped up in ourselves that we don’t think we do. If children take the time to think about it, they believe that they should apologize for their actions to everyone and everything. Of course, children don’t act like that all the time, otherwise they wouldn’t even consider waking us up in the middle of the night, but every once in a while, we can see this amazing action shine through this little person who is otherwise a pain in the butt.

It’s just an example of how sometimes we need to take our cues from the little slobber and mess factories that are children.


One time I did see a video where a chicken let a little boy hug it.

Weigh In

What’s something your child has done that seems silly and you want to be mad about it, but you really can’t because it was too sweet in its own way?

Do you think the moon is trying to teach the artist anything with this particular story?

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