It was a grand feast. Siblings, sun, the moon and the wind had been invited by their uncle and aunt (thunder and lightning) to share a table laden with the best food that anyone had ever set their eyes upon. Their mother, one of the most distant and brightest stars in the sky, having sent them out, spent a restless night awaiting their return.

Everyone knew that sun and wind were greedy and selfish. They enjoyed the great feast that had been prepared for them. Gobbled it all down actually, without a thought for their mother. But the gentle moon was not as uncaring nor as forgetful. Of every dish that was served on that table that night, she took away a small portion and tucked it under her long finger nails. Quietly she kept putting away a little bit of this and little bit of that for her mother, the star.

On their return, their mother, finally looking forward to some sleep and who was also very hungry having kept watch all night asked, “Well, children, what have you brought home for me?”

Then sun (who was eldest) said, “I have brought nothing home for you. I went out to enjoy myself with my friends, not to fetch a dinner for my mother!”

Wind said, “Neither have I brought anything home for you, mother. You could hardly expect me to bring a collection of good things for you, when I merely went out for my own pleasure.”

But Moon said, “Mother, fetch a plate, see what I have brought you.” And with a gentle shake of her fingers she laid out a grand feast for her mother.

Then the mother star turned to sun and cursed him. “Because you went out to amuse yourself with your friends, and feasted and enjoyed yourself, without any thought of your mother at home, your rays shall ever be hot and scorching, and shall burn all that they touch. And men shall hate you, and cover their heads when you appear.” And that is why the Sun is so hot to this day. Then she turned to Wind and said, “You also who forgot your mother in the midst of your selfish pleasures—hear your doom. You shall always blow in the hot dry weather, and shall parch and shrivel all living things. And men shall detest and avoid you from this very time.” And that is why the Wind in the hot weather is still so disagreeable. But to Moon she said, “Daughter, because you remembered your mother, and kept for her a share in your own enjoyment, from henceforth you shall be ever cool, and calm, and bright. No noxious glare shall accompany your pure rays, and men shall always call you blessed.” And that is why the moon’s light is so soft, and cool, and beautiful even to this day.

Story collected by: Shweta Joshi

Text source: Indian Fairy Tales selected and edited by Joseph Jacobs

Location: Pan India