Andersen Fairy Tales, Andersen-Hans Christian

What the Moon Saw-Eighth Evening

Moon by Ashe ArterberryWhat the Moon Saw-Eighth Evening

The moon is obscured on this night. Full text below.

Heavy clouds obscured the sky, and the Moon did not make his appearance at all. I stood in my little room, more lonely than ever, and looked up at the sky where he ought to have shown himself. My thoughts flew far away, up to my great friend, who every evening told me such pretty tales, and showed me pictures. Yes, he has had an experience indeed. He glided over the waters of the Deluge, and smiled on Noah’s ark just as he lately glanced down upon me, and brought comfort and promise of a new world that was to spring forth from the old. When the Children of Israel sat weeping by the waters of Babylon, he glanced mournfully upon the willows where hung the silent harps. When Romeo climbed the balcony, and the promise of true love fluttered like a cherub toward heaven, the round Moon hung, half hidden among the dark cypresses, in the lucid air. He saw the captive giant at St. Helena, looking from the lonely rock across the wide ocean, while great thoughts swept through his soul. Ah! what tales the Moon can tell. Human life is like a story to him. To-night I shall not see thee again, old friend. Tonight I can draw no picture of the memories of thy visit. And, as I looked dreamily towards the clouds, the sky became bright. There was a glancing light, and a beam from the Moon fell upon me. It vanished again, and dark clouds flew past: but still it was a greeting, a friendly good-night offered to me by the Moon.


The artist doesn’t get to see the moon on the eighth night. That’s sometimes how it happens. Sometimes the moon is hidden behind clouds. It’s still there. It’s still out. We just can’t see it. It’s like how the sun still shines on rainy days even if we can’t see the sun, it’s still there.


The artist takes comfort in the moon and how it’s always been there. It was there for Noah and his ark. It was there for Romeo and Juliet. It was there for the children of Israel. It’s something bigger and more long-lasting than all of us. That’s quite impressive. To think of something that has been there for longer than any of us can imagine is mind-boggling, but it’s also comforting. It’s a constant in our lives. We’re never afraid that the moon will just disappear. We’re never afraid that our sun will just go out. They’ve always been there, at least in the span of humanity, and they’re going to keep being there as far as we’re concerned.

Things that are constant like the moon can anchor us in life. We can look in our times of trouble and remember that the moon is still there. The sun is still there. Water still runs down hill. God still exists. It doesn’t really matter what thing you have faith in, as long as it’s bigger and more long-lasting than you, it’s something that can guide and anchor your life.


We too can remember that even if we go somewhere strange and grow and age, we will still have large constants in our lives on which to anchor ourselves.

Weigh In

What do you think the moon would say if it could speak?

If the moon was a sentient being, do you really think it would be so concerned with the things we do everyday?


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