Andersen Fairy Tales, Andersen-Hans Christian

What the Moon Saw-Fourth Evening

Moon by Ashe ArterberryWhat the Moon Saw-Fourth Evening

The moon has something happier to talk about this evening.

The moon said he went to Germany where some people had turned a stable into a theater. It was still a stable, but had been decorated richly with colored paper. They had even hung a chandelier in the ceiling. It seemed everyone was there, even some visiting aristocrats.

The servants were outside, but they looked in through cranks and knot holes. The local law enforcement was there trying to keep the servants in line. Nobody sat under the chandelier because it was dripping wax everywhere.

The visiting aristocrats were sitting in the best chairs in town usually belonging to the mayor and his wife. The woman remarked that she saw now that there was rank upon rank. That was the fourth evening.

What the moon saw-Fourth eveningObservations

Back in the day people used to get together and put on plays. Sometimes it was a traveling troupe. You didn’t necessarily have to get all decked out to go to the theater. There weren’t that many theaters. The actors and players traveled around bringing the theater to the people. Yes, plays were performed downtown. Yes, plays were performed in barns. People made the most of what they had around. Honestly, I think it would be kind of neat to have a traveling troupe that just happened to come through and set up their play in the middle of downtown.

Theater used to be a thing that was for everyone; it wasn’t just for artsy people, which is how many people see theater today. Theater was a thing everybody enjoyed. Our modern-day theater traditions came out of Greece, where many things come from, just FYI, it wasn’t Shakespeare.

It wasn’t strange that the entire town showed up for this. It was entertainment they all enjoyed, even the lowliest of sharecroppers enjoyed this; he probably sat in the back, but he enjoyed it.

It’s kind of sad that we don’t keep up this kind of tradition today. Theater history is honestly more interesting than you would think it would be. It says a lot about people and how they behave and socialize.

What the Moon Saw-Fourth EveningThemes

This story is about social class. There are two things you must keep in mind. The first thing is that the entire town showed up for this event. It was not segregated or restricted by class. The servants where there, although outside, the farmers were there, the mayor was there, and even some aristocrats were there, probably something along the lines of some minor burgers or some such. The second thing is that when the aristocracy showed up, the town ruling structure was displaced.

As I mentioned before, everyone enjoyed the theater. It was for everyone. It wasn’t just for artists, or rich people, or aristocracy. Of course there were seating sections that were segregated once inside the theater. The rich people generally sat close to the stage while the poorer people were often up in the rafters. This tradition has not changed. We have kept it for quite some time. I don’t know why this concept hasn’t been rethought or challenged, but it’s still in place.

When this aristocratic couple showed up they sat in the Mayor’s chairs. The mayor is pretty powerful, especially in a small town, but when the president shows up, the mayor gives up his seat at the dinner table. As much as we have tried to get rid of it, we still have rankings in our society, just as this German town had rankings. The Mayor sits in a comfortable chair while the local tanner sits way in the back because he stinks to high heaven.

If you ever go to an important event you will note that those most important are probably on the stage, while the next most important people are in the rows closest to the stage, and things progress backwards from there. Should it be this way? It’s how we’ve done it for a long time, but that doesn’t necessarily make it correct. It’s just what we do.


Seriously, why can’t a traveling acting troupe come to my town and just kind of set up out in an empty field? I think that would be great. They could sell popcorn and charge like five dollars to see the show. People could bring their lawn chairs and sit in the field. Then when the show is over they could move on to the next town.

Weigh In

So do you give up your seat if the president shows up or not?

What do you think about the way theater and arena tickets are priced? Should the tradition change?


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