Andersen Fairy Tales, Andersen-Hans Christian

What the Moon Saw-Fifth Evening

Moon by Ashe ArterberryWhat the Moon Saw-Fifth Evening

The moon gets around.

On the fifth evening the moon came to the artist he told the artist of something he had seen in Paris. There the moon had looked upon an elderly woman. The woman had gained admittance to a place that she otherwise would not have been allowed. She knew that she had to see it. There was a servant with her.

She saw the room and observed it for the throne room that it was, but it had not always been so put together. Many years previous France had been going through the revolution and this room had been a mess. It was also where her son had died.

The room she was in was in the Tuileries. The angry people of the revolution had stormed the palace. Things were destroyed. This throne room had been awash in blood. When the old woman’s son had been born it had been prophesied that he would die on the throne of France. The woman had imagined that maybe her son would grow to be a great conqueror, but it was not so. He had marched into the Tuileries along with all the other revolutionaries. There was a skirmish. He was mortally injured. Before he died, his body was placed upon the throne of France and there he died with his wounds wrapped in royal purple velvet.

That was the fifth evening.

What the Moon Saw-Fifth EveningObservations

The revolution of France was a bloody period of world history. People were getting their heads guillotined off left and right. An innocent family, there were many of them, but the royal family was the top among them, was torn apart. The place where they were staying, the Tuileries, was stormed by the revolutionaries. People lost their lives. The royal family was taken captive. Louis and Marie were later executed, for nothing; they were scapegoats. Their sons died. The only surviving member of their family was Marie Therese and one can hardly live a normal life after what happened to her family.

There are entire books, musicals, and movies based on the French Revolution. It was truly a spectacular period of history. The people rose up and took their country into their own hands, which is admirable, but there was so much blood-shed. There was turmoil everywhere. Things were bad. Things were bad before the revolution, thus why there needed to be a revolution in the first place.

This old woman’s son got caught up in the revolution and he died for it. Was it a worthy cause? Was it a just cause? Did his death make any difference? These are definitely questions that have highly subjective answers. These were questions that his mother was probably trying to determine the answers to by her visit to the Tuileries.

What the Moon Saw-Fifth EveningThemes

There was a prophecy involved in this story. I don’t know why so many story people seemed to get birth prophecies. The closest I have heard to a birth prophecy is when people check out a new baby boy and say that he will be a big man. Birth prophecy isn’t really a concept I’m familiar with. Who made these prophecies? Was it just some kooky relative or was it someone with some actual mystical power?

Prophecy is something you either believe in or you don’t. It is foretold that…… You don’t have to believe what is foretold. Do you believe it on some subconscious level though? If the foretold thing happens was it fate or did you somehow make it happen because the idea of it kept going around in your head? Did the son in this story think of his prophecy so much that he caused himself to be near the throne of France when he died? Did he subconsciously put himself in the line of danger there so that he might receive a mortal wound?

When we ask all these questions, we’re getting into both “woo-woo” territory, but also psychological territory. Our minds are pretty powerful and we can do more with them than we think.

Going with the idea of prophecy, it doesn’t always turn out black and white, meaning, it doesn’t always turn out how you might expect it to. Sure, your dreams might come true, but in a way you never expected, or they might come true, but only to an extent, or it’s completely different than you ever imagined. Just because it was prophesied that you would die on the throne of France does not mean you will be king. It could mean that you’re going to die in the revolution on the throne of France, or that you’re a carpenter and you’re working on building a new throne for the king but you suddenly have a massive heart attack, or just whatever.

Prophecy is one thing, if you believe in it, but interpreting it correctly is a completely different thing.


Maybe it’s just best to stay away from prophecies and live your life how you want to live it.

Weigh In

Do you think fate laughed at the son and his mother?

Do you think we should bring back the idea of birth prophecies?


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