Andersen Fairy Tales, Andersen-Hans Christian

What the Moon Saw-Tenth Evening

Moon by Ashe ArterberryWhat the Moon Saw-Tenth Evening

On the tenth evening the moon came to the artist and spoke of an old maid that the moon had watched for many years. She never went very many places. She had a friend who lives across the road and the old woman would go out and visit this friend, but the friend died as well. The old woman never left her house after the friend died, but she was often seen in her window at work.

The old maid had often spoke of the long journey she would make to be buried with her people. The old woman always wore a yellow mantle. When she finally died, the same mantle was placed upon her. She was placed in a coffin with straw all around.

A wagon was to take her the six miles to her family’s vault. On the way the driver got a bit spooked and decided to hurry the horses along. The horses were going much too fast when a rabbit hopped out into the road that spooked the horses. The horses took off and the coffin instead of staying in place, slid out of the back of the wagon and onto the road. There it sat in the middle of the road. A lark came down to peck at the straw, but soon flew off singing.

That was the tenth night.


Women who never marry make me feel kind of sad, because I feel that they’re missing out on being married and having a family, but not all women want that. Maybe this woman was completely fine with how her life turned out. She didn’t really seem sad about anything. As far as I can tell this woman was quite happy with her life despite the fact that she never got married and had a family. She had a friend, who did die, which I’m sure was sad for the old maid, but she still seemed alright.

People tend to look upon with old maids with pity, as I just exhibited earlier when I explained my own feelings about it. Look, if they enjoy their lives, there’s no reason to pity them. I kind of feel that the moon kind of feels sorry for this woman, but I also kind of feel that this woman might actually laugh about the fact that her coffin slid out of the wagon. There isn’t a lot about her in the story, but she seems like she’d be something of the laughing type.


This woman was always there, or at least it probably seemed like to the people around her. When she died, it was a little unsettling because she had always been there, especially in the memories of the younger people. They knew of her long journey to the graveyard that she spoke of. She probably never thought it would be quite so eventful. Who imagines that their coffin is going to slide out of the hearse on the way to the graveyard? Nobody, but it happened to this woman.

Maybe we could even look at this woman and say she was still a creature of habit because her body didn’t get very far away from where it had been all of those years. Maybe it was a last protest. Don’t you dare take me away from my home!

Even through all the commotion and the loss of the old maid, the birds still sang. Life went on.


I wonder if the ghost of the woman was watching all of this go down.

Weigh In

Do you think the old maid enjoyed her life?

Do you think you would laugh about your coffin falling out of the hearse? Why or why not?


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