Andersen Fairy Tales, Andersen-Hans Christian

What the Moon Saw-Twenty-Sixth Evening

What the Moon Saw-Twenty-Sixth EveningWhat the Moon Saw-Twenty-Sixth Evening

On the twenty-sixth evening the moon looked down over China. There he spied inside of some closed walls. A young priest was there watching candles and the icons of his gods, namely Fo who was glad in yellow silk, because yellow was a sacred color. The priest watching over all of this let his mind wander and it drifted, but then he blushed brought back to his current world. The moon wondered what he thought about. Was it the flower garden? Was it lands far away? No, it was pretty Pu who lived not too far away.

Pu sat in her room stirring a bowl full of goldfish. She thought they would be happier if they were free, this she understood. She longed to be free herself. Her thoughts drifted to Soui-hong, who was a priest. Their earthly thoughts met, but the moons rays blocked their thoughts from reaching one another like the sword of the cherub.

That was the twenty-sixth evening.


Ok, Hans has lost me on this Fo thing. I don’t know enough about Chinese mythology to even being to determine if Fo is a real concept. There are plenty of Chinese deities and I did look them up, but none of them were named Fo. I don’t know if Fo is another name for a Chinese Deity or if it’s something Hans just made up. If you know, please comment.

As far as the names, no one notable that I can tell. I find it strange that Pu is supposed to be so pretty, but “pu” means “plain,” or, “simple” in Chinese. I have no earthly idea what Soui-hong means, although “hong” apparently means something like “a place of business.”

Hans was somewhat right about the color yellow. Chinese people do see yellow as something of a powerful color. It’s the emperor’s color, but it’s all a color that represents freedom from worldly cares, that’s why you see Chinese monks wearing yellow. Yellow often decorated palaces in China and was everywhere that royalty seemed to be. It makes sense that a deity would be wearing it; we still have to determine whether or not this deity is a real thing, but he/she would probably wear yellow.

There is something I forgot to mention about this story. The story states that Pu’s tiny shoes hurt. That’s because Pu probably had bound feet. Basically, this meant that your foot was cracked in half and bent, like a hinge, then your toes were broken and bent under your feet. This process wasn’t done all at once. It was a gradual process over several weeks or so. All the bones did not break at once. Having bound feet was considered sexy and desirable. Women often wanted feet only a few inches long. Their shoes were extremely tiny. So yes, Pu’s shoes probably did hurt her.


I don’t know how being a priest works in China, but in some religions being a priest means you remain celibate your entire life, or at least after you found Jesus, or Fo, as the case may be. Banking on that tradition, it probably wasn’t possible for Soui-hong and Pu to be together.

The sword of the cherub reference comes from the Bible. When Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden a sword that turned in all directions, the sword of an angel, was placed to keep them from going back to the garden. Pu and Soui-hong are never going to be together. It’s another story about a love that is doomed to never reach its full potential.


Why would you stir a bowl of gold-fish? Was this some of weird cocktail?

Weigh In

Do you like the color yellow?

What do you think of the tradition of people being celibate to pursue God and/or other gods?


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