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How the Moon Got Its Face

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Way back in the past, there was a blacksmith who was never satisfied. One day he went to the local hermit, complaining about his hard life and asking for help.

"Look, I'm always too hot," he said. "I'd rather be a rock on the mountain. It must be cool up there in the shade of the trees and with the wind blowing through."

So the hermit, who knew a powerful mantra or two, said: "Very well. Go! Be a rock." And the blacksmith, turned into a rock, for a time was satisfied.

But not long afterwards, there came a stone-mason, who thought the rock on the mountain was just what he needed for his latest task, and began working on it.

In pain, the rock cried out to the hermit, "Help me! I'm being tortured. Let me become a stone-mason instead."

And the hermit, always willing to help though he knew the ways of men, said: "Very well. A stone-mason you shall be."

But of course, the former blacksmith, in no way satisfied, found his new work tiresome and unrewarding. "Come now," he said once more to the hermit. "After all, I'd rather be the sun, which has nothing better to do than sail through the skies." So the hermit allowed him to become the sun, to sail through the skies. Surely now he would be satisfied.

But no! Being the sun was hot work after all, no better than being a blacksmith, a rock or a stone mason. Once more the dissatisfied mortal raised his voice, pleading with the hermit, this time asking to become the moon, which surely must enjoy a cool and peaceful existence. And once more, the patient hermit gave him his wish. "Let it be so! Become the moon!"

But before long, no more satisfied than before, the former blacksmith-rock-mason-sun - and now moon - raised his voice again in complaint. "See here! This is intolerably hot, with the sun shining on me. Better let me be a smith again: I've learned my lesson."

But the hermit had had enough of the blacksmith and his changes of heart.

"You wanted to become the moon, and the moon you are, for all eternity. So let it be!"

And so it is. If you look up at the moon when full, you can see the dissatisfied face of the blacksmith, wishing he were something else.

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