A core Course of General Education An outline of the Traditional Chinese Culture 中国传统文化概览 Shandong University Contents

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Section 4 Folklores

1. The Cowherd and the Girl Weaver

The Cowherd was brought up by his brother and sister-in-law and was often maltreated by them. Later they broke up the family and lived apart from him. As a result, he only got an old cow. The Girl Weaver, the granddaughter of the God of Heaven, often descended with the other fairies from on high and took a bath in the secular world. Once the Cowherd, following the advice of the old cow, stole her heavenly dress. Unable to return to the heaven, the Girl Weaver married the Cowherd and had a son and a daughter. They led a happy life with husband tilling the land and wife weaving. When the God of Heaven learned it, he was outraged, and he sent heavenly troops to catch the Girl Weaver. The Cowherd could do nothing but weep with his children. At that time, the cow, who was dying, told the Cowherd that after his death his skin could help the Cowherd rise up to the heaven. Wrapping the skin around him, the Cowherd went to the heaven with his children shouldered in two baskets. Just as he almost caught up with the Girl Weaver, the Queen Mother of the Western Heavens drew a line in the Heaven with her gold hair clasp. Immediately appeared a temptuous heavenly river (the Milky Way). The couple were separated. Later, the affection between the Cowherd and the Girl Weaver moved the God of Heaven, who allowed the Girl Weaver to join her husband only once a year. According to legend, on the seventh day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar, the Cowherd and the Weaver met on the east bank of the river on that evening, and magpies were made to form a bridge for them.

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