THE STORY OF HOW THE MOON GOT ITS GUARDIANS
—D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove
Long ago when the moon was very young and unprotected
it was used by everyone. Men, gods, and animals would rush
through its gates nightly (for the moon was much closer to earth
at that time) and take as much of her light as they could carry
and then leave. Sometimes there was so little of the moon left
that there was no light at all and the moon would disappear.
Even stories told of the moon were usurped by seekers of fame.
The moon had no stories to tell. The night became empty.
The creatures of the night became angry at the loss of their light
and sent an emissary to the emperor of the islands that were
all of Japan asking that he protect the moon and her beauty.
The emperor agreed at once and began by moving the moon
away from the earth to a place in the sky where no one could
reach her without difficulty. He then appointed four guardians
to her. They are described as follows:
The Guardian of the Gates of the Moon: This guardian stood
in front of the palace of the moon and challenged anyone who
had business with her. The poets and dreamers were allowed in,
the thieves were turned away.
The Guardian of the Legends of the Moon: This guardian was
charged that the moon would always be given her proper due
in tales told of her and of her amazing powers. No longer could
gods claim to move the tides and fill the glades of night with
soft light. This alone was of the moon.
The Guardian of the Phases of the Moon: Whose job it became
to conserve the light of the moon and regulate it so that its light
would rise and fall through the months of the year. In this way
the world would have moonlight most of the year. The moon
was even given a few days' rest so she could gather her light.
This became the dark of the moon.
Finally, The Guardian of the Bundle of the Moon was appointed.
This guardian was a poet and he had the most difficult job
of all. His job became that of protector of all the moon that
was not her home, her phases or her legends. He would guide
her light so that the creatures of the night would look as
beautiful as possible in her silver glow. It was this guardian
who directed the light of the moon into the eyes of lovers and
who painted the leaves of the trees with moonlight.
It is because of these guardians that the ways of the moon are
as they are. They were given immortality by the gods, who
praised the wisdom of the emperor for his careful work in
allowing the moon to belong to all the world.