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The Story of Niu Lang and Zhi Nu

The Story of Niu Lang and Zhi Nu
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The Story of Niu Lang and Zhi Nu

A Chinese Story by Shuang Ying Han


This legend has existed for nearly 2 millennia.

Niu Lang wasn’t always a simple cow herder. And Zhi Nu wasn’t always a cloud-weaver. Once upon a time they were both stars up in the night sky. Zhi Nu was Vega, and Niu Lang was Altair. They were very much in love with one another, even though their love was forbidden by the Mother Queen of the heavens. 

When the Mother Queen found out about the love between Niu Lang and Zhi Nu she was very angry and promised they would be separated.

Zhi Nu, the youngest of the Mother Queen’s seven granddaughters, was spared exile, but Niu Lang was cast from the heavens and sentenced to dwell upon the earth where he would live the life of a cow herder. Zhi Nu was to become a cloud-weaver, creating beautiful clouds in the sky. 

Even though Zhi Nu enjoyed weaving clouds, she suffered with grief at being separated from her loved one. Her face was always awash with tears and she could find no consolation in her loneliness. She lost herself in her work, hoping that one day Niu Lang would be allowed back into the heavens. 

One day, years after Zhi Nu and Niu Lang had been separated, the granddaughters of the Mother Queen asked for permission to go down to earth to bathe in the Lotus Garden. Fortunately the Mother Queen was in a good mood so she allowed them to go. Before leaving the heavens, they saw Zhi Nu weaving clouds. They were filled with pity for the poor girl and so implored the Mother Queen to allow them to take Zhi Nu with them on their journey. Seeing how sad her granddaughter had become, and feeling a rare compassion towards her, she let Zhi Nu travel with the others to visit the Lotus Garden.

Niu Lang had been on earth this whole time as the son of a poor family of farmers. His was a tough life, and became tougher still when his new mother and father died and he was sent to live with his older brother. Niu Lang was treated very poorly and his brother took all of his money from him and left him only with a cow and an old cart before sending him out into the world to fend for himself.

Niu Lang and the cow depended on each other for survival. Together they built a little house and they lived there alone without any other company. They ploughed the land and survived as best they could. Years passed in the little house until one day the cow spoke to Niu Lang.

‘Today you shall go to the Lotus Garden. There you will see angels bathing. You must find the robes that are red in color and you must steal them and hide them.’

When Niu Lang asked why he must steal the red robes the cow said, ‘The red robes are the robes that belong to the one who will be your wife.’

So Niu Lang went to the Lotus Garden and hid in the grass and waited for the angels to arrive. As the cow had predicted, the beautiful angels descended from the heavens and began to bathe in the stream. Niu Lang was very nervous, but he did as the cow had instructed and stole the red robes that had been discarded by the side of the stream. As he attempted to hide once more, the angels noticed him and quickly dressed before flying back up to the heavens. Just one angel remained, and she could not leave because Niu Lang had hidden her red robes. Niu Lang told Zhi Nu that he would give her robes back to her only if she promised to be his wife.

Zhi Nu was very surprised, but she studied her captor carefully because she was sure that he was familiar. To her disbelief she realized that it was her long lost love, Niu Lang.

The couple were married and lived happily in their little house with their two children. Zhi Nu weaved cotton and Niu Lang ploughed the land with his faithful cow. Life moved on in this way until Niu Lang came back from the fields one day with the news that his cow had died. Before his death the cow had told Niu Lang, ‘After I am gone you must make a coat from my hide. You will need this coat to be able to fly and to catch Zhi Nu.’

It was then that Niu Lang had realized his faithful cow had also once been a star up in the heavens. His name had been Taurus. Years before, when the two had been close friends, it was Taurus who had pleaded with the Mother Queen not to cast Niu Lang from the heavens. This display angered the Mother Queen, so she had turned him into a cow and cast him to earth just as she had Niu Lang. During his time on earth Taurus had continued to watch out for his friend. Now he was dead, and he had instructed Niu Lang to make a coat of his hide. Niu Lang did as his old friend instructed.

The very next day a strong wind was sent by the Mother Queen to sweep Zhi Nu and her children up into the sky towards the heavens. Remembering his friend’s words, Niu Lang put on his coat and flew up to catch his loved one and his children. But the Mother Queen removed her golden hair pin and with a single stroke created a river in the heavens that would separate Zhi Nu and Niu Lang forever. At that moment the couple cried out for each other with all of their passion. The Mother Queen was so moved by their love for one another that she decided to allow Nu Lang to remain in the heavens, but he would not be allowed to stay with his wife and children.

Only once in every year, on the seventh day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar, is Niu Lang reunited with Zhi Nu and his children. A flock of magpies form a bridge between the stars of Vega and Altair that allow Niu Lang to cross over the river and be with his loved ones. This bridge can be seen in the night sky.

This story has been passed down from generation to generation. On this day, girls watch the starry night sky and wish for a good marriage in the future. This day is Chinese Valentine’s day.

The Story of Niu Lang and Zhi Nu
Find out more
about the contributors

The Story of Niu Lang and Zhi Nu

A Chinese Story by Shuang Ying Han


 

牛郎和織女的故事

 

牛郎織女是一個流傳了兩千多年的美麗傳說。

 

我們所說的牛郎不單單是一個普通的放牛郎,織女也不是一個普普通通的織布女。相傳他們倆本來是天上的星宿:一顆叫做織女星,另一顆叫做牽牛星。織女和牽牛情投意合,心心相印。可是,王母娘娘不允許他們私自相戀。當王母得知他們相愛的事情後,大發雷霆,發誓要將兩人分開。

 

織女因為是王母最小的女兒,只是以流放併為天庭編織雲錦作為懲罰,而牛郎則被貶下凡塵,成了真正的放牛郎。

 

自從被貶之後,織女雖然喜愛美麗的雲錦,卻常常以淚洗面,對牛郎的思念更讓她感到孤獨寂寞。她坐在織布機旁不停地織着美麗的雲錦,希望有一天牛郎能返回天界。

 

一天,女兒們懇求王母娘娘讓她們去人間的碧蓮池遊玩,王母碰巧心情很好,便答應了她們。她們見織女終日苦悶,便一起向王母求情讓織女一同前往,王母也心疼受懲後的織女,便答應了她們的請求,讓織女和她們一起前往碧蓮池。

 

話說牛郎被貶之後,落生在一個農民家中過着清苦的日子。後來父母去世,他便跟着哥嫂度日。哥嫂待牛郎非常刻薄,只給了他一頭老牛和一輛破車,然後,便和牛郎分了家,讓他自己一個生活。

 

從此,牛郎和老牛相依為命。他們一起搭建了一個小小的家,獨自生活,耕田種地,勉強度日。很多年過去了,有一天,老牛突然開口說話了,它對牛郎說:“牛郎,今天你去碧蓮池一趟,那兒有些仙女在洗澡,你把那件紅色的仙衣收起來。”

 

牛郎便問老牛為什麼要收起仙女的衣服。老牛回答說:“穿紅色仙衣的仙女會成為你的妻子。” 聽完老牛一席話,牛郎便悄悄來到碧蓮池躲在旁邊的蘆葦裡,等候仙女們的來臨。正如老牛預言的一樣,不一會兒,仙女們果然翩翩而至,來到池中沐浴。牛郎心裡十分緊張,但他還是按照老牛的指示拿走了紅色的仙衣。正當他準備躲藏的時候,仙女們發現有人來了,急忙紛紛地穿上自己的衣裳就飛走了,只剩下沒有衣服無法逃走的仙女。這時,牛郎走上前來,對她說,只要她答應做自己的妻子,就還她衣裳。織女定睛一看,吃驚地發現原來眼前的人便是自己日思夜想的牛郎,便答應了他。這樣,織女便做了牛郎的妻子。

 

牛郎和織女結婚以後,日子過得非常美滿幸福,還生了兩個孩子。他們男耕女織,相親相愛。日子一天天過去了,直到一天牛郎匆匆從田裡趕回來告知老牛突然病死的消息。牛郎告訴織女老牛臨死前對他說:“我死後,你要將我的牛皮剝下放好,有朝一日,披上它,就可飛上天去和織女相會。”

 

原來老牛就是天上的金牛星,他和牛郎是好朋友。當年,牽牛星被貶凡間後他因替牽牛求情,也被王母娘娘貶下天庭。在凡間,金牛星仍舊關心他的好朋友。現在,他死了之後要求牛郎用他的皮做成衣服。

 

第二天,天空狂風大作,一陣風押解着織女和孩子們飛上了天空。 牛郎想起了好朋友金牛星的話,披着牛皮趕着去救織女和孩子們。

 

可就在這時,王母趕來了,她拔下頭上的金簪,往他們中間一划,霎時間,一條天河波濤滾滾地橫在了織女和牛郎之間,無法橫越。

 

織女和牛郎隔着天河哭得聲嘶力竭,王母見此情此景,也為牛郎織女的堅貞愛情所感動,便同意讓牛郎留在天上,每年陰曆七月七日,讓他們相會一次。每當七月七日牛郎織女相會的這天,無數成群的喜鵲都飛來為他們在天河上搭橋,而夜空中天橋的影子至今仍依稀可見。

 

後來,牛郎織女的故事代代相傳。直至今日,姑娘們每逢七月七日就會抬頭仰望星空,祈禱自己能有如意稱心的美滿婚姻和美麗的愛情,由此形成了中國的情人節—七夕節。

The Story of Niu Lang and Zhi Nu
Find out more
about the contributors

The Story of Niu Lang and Zhi Nu

A Chinese Story by Shuang Ying Han


牛郎和织女的故事 

牛郎织女是一个流传了两千多年的美丽传说。

我们所说的牛郎不单单是一个普通的放牛郎,织女也不是一个普普通通的织布女。相传他们俩本是天上的星宿:一颗叫做织女星,另一颗叫做牵牛星。织女和牵牛情投意合,心心相印。可是,王母娘娘不允许他们私自相恋。当王母得知他们相爱的事情后,大发雷霆,发誓要将两人分开。

织女因为是王母最小的女儿,只是以流放并为天庭编织云锦作为惩罚,而牛郎则被贬下凡尘,成了真正的放牛郎。

自从被贬之后,织女虽然喜爱美丽的云锦,却常常以泪洗面,对牛郎的思念更让她感到孤独寂寞。她坐在织布机旁不停地织着美丽的云锦,希望有一天牛郎能返回天界。

一天,女儿们恳求王母娘娘让她们去人间的碧莲池游玩,王母碰巧心情很好,便答应了她们。她们见织女终日苦闷,便一起向王母求情让织女一同前往,王母也心疼受惩后的织女,便答应了她们的请求,让织女和她们一起前往碧莲池。

话说牛郎被贬之后,落生在一个农民家中过着清苦的日子。后来父母去世,他便跟着哥嫂度日。哥嫂待牛郎非常刻薄,只给了他一头老牛和一辆破车,然后,便和牛郎分了家,让他自个儿生活。 

从此,牛郎和老牛相依为命。他们一起搭建了一个小小的家,独自生活,耕田种地,勉强度日。很多年过去了,有一天,老牛突然开口说话了,它对牛郎说:“牛郎,今天你去碧莲池一趟,那儿有些仙女在洗澡,你把那件红色的仙衣藏起来。”

牛郎便问老牛为什么要藏仙女的衣服。老牛回答说:“穿红色仙衣的仙女会成为你的妻子。” 听完老牛一席话,牛郎便悄悄来到碧莲池躲在旁边的芦苇里,等候仙女们的来临。正如老牛预言的一样,不一会儿,仙女们果然翩翩而至,来到池中沐浴。牛郎心里十分紧张,但他还是按照老牛的指示拿走了红色的仙衣。正当他准备躲藏的时候,仙女们发现有人来了,急忙纷纷地穿上自己的衣裳飞走了,只剩下没有衣服无法逃走的仙女。这时,牛郎走上前来,对她说,只要她答应做自己的妻子,就还她衣裳。织女定睛一看,吃惊地发现原来眼前的人便是自己日思夜想的牛郎,便答应了他。这样,织女便做了牛郎的妻子。

Flying away牛郎和织女结婚以后,日子过得非常美满幸福,还生了两个孩子。他们男耕女织,相亲相爱。日子一天天过去了,直到一天牛郎匆匆从田里赶回来告知老牛突然病死的消息。牛郎告诉织女老牛临死前还对他说:“我死后,你要将我的牛皮剥下放好,有朝一日,披上它,就可飞上天去和织女相会。”

原来老牛就是天上的金牛星,他和牛郎是好朋友。当年,牵牛星被贬凡间后他因替牵牛求情,也被王母娘娘贬下天庭。在凡间,金牛星仍旧关心他的好朋友。现在,他死了要求牛郎用他的皮做成衣服。

第二天,天空狂风大作,一阵风押解着织女和孩子们飞上了天空。 牛郎想起了好友金牛星的话,披着牛皮赶着去救织女和孩子们。

可就在这时,王母赶来了,她拔下头上的金簪,往他们中间一划,霎时间,一条天河波涛滚滚地横在了织女和牛郎之间,无法横越了。

织女和牛郎隔着天河哭得声嘶力竭,王母见此情此景,也为牛郎织女的坚贞爱情所感动,便同意让牛郎留在天上,每年阴历七月七日,让他们相会一次。每当七月七日牛郎织女相会的这天,无数成群的喜鹊飞来为他们在天河上搭桥,而夜空中天桥的影子至今仍依稀可见。

后来,牛郎织女的故事代代相传。直至今日,姑娘们每逢七月七日就会抬头仰望星空,祈祷自己能有如意称心的美满婚姻和美丽爱情,由此形成了中国的情人节—七夕节。

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