My little maid Blue Jade ran into my chamber in her light steps, and said in a warning tone, "My lady - master is back.” I called her Jade to be short.
I put down the medicine book I was studying and took a quick glance in the copper mirror. My hair and jewelries looked fine. I needed a little rouge on my cheeks and…I didn’t need to ask. Jade opened the pearl-inlayed makeup box and pulled out the rouge. She dabbed a little on my cheeks and smoothed it out with her fingers. She then handed me the red lip stain in a little round copper box. I stained my lips with my pinkie while Jade slipped a small silk pouch stuffed with jasmine petals into my sleeve. I smoothed my long skirt and we left the room, walking as fast as we could. The main hall is located in a different courtyard in the house.
Hoyi, my husband, was sitting in the main hall sipping tea. He looked dirty and tired, but he had a faint smile and his eyes seemed to be somewhere far away. I smiled before I stepped into the big room, “Your humble wife welcomes you, master.” He pulled himself back from that mysterious place and looked at me, and then nodded his head and said, “Oh. Sit down, please.”
"I heard about your brave endeavor, master.” I said, after taking my seat on the other side of the tea table. It was his most difficult challenge so far - more difficult than slaughtering the two-headed beast. Thank goodness he was an excellent archer, and was born with surreal strength.
"You mean the nine suns I shot down?” He was pleased that I recognized his infamous feat.
"Yes. People of the middle kingdom are so grateful. Now they can farm the land, raise livestock and live above ground. You are the hero they warship now.”
"Well, it wasn’t easy. I almost got burned from those scorching suns!” He said with a hint of pride.
"You must be tired from the journey. Will master care to take a bath in my chamber? I will tell Jade to prepare the hot water.” I tried to be subtle. It was unbecoming for a woman to show that she missed her husband and longed for his company.
"Oh. Not tonight. I will take a bath in my chamber and rest there. It was a long journey.” He stood up and left the room. His servants followed behind him.
I saw the look in Jade’s eyes, and I knew what she was thinking. The rumor was true, then. I heard that, in addition to his heroic feat, he also “conquered” the nymph of the water kingdom. I stared at the silver candles in my room for a long time. The wax dripping down the side of them seemed to resemble the tears on my cheeks. Jade gently reminded me several times that it was late, but sleep completely eluded me.
Two days later Hoyi was leaving again. There was a giant lion with horns appeared in a village, and was devouring the villagers. He had to answer the call for help. Jade informed me that he requested my presence in his room. He showed me two dark round orbs in his hand when I got there.
"I requested these from the Empress of the West Heaven. They are potions of eternal life. I have performed enough heroic feats so she granted the request.” He told me. I was speechless. It was the highest honor any masters of the middle kingdom could achieve.
"We will take these together on the night of the full moon, which is ten days from now. Take care of them while I’m gone. Imagine: we will live forever!”
Imagine I did. I have been thinking about it ever since he left. We will live forever. Together. After all, I was his wife, and he would honor that title, if not me. Being his wife, however, also meant I would have to endure the loneliness, the other women, and pretend to be happy.
I received a message from my husband’s servant on the ninth day. The giant lion was more illusive than he had thought, and his return had been delayed. The servant added, “The master said to make sure and tell my lady to wait for him.”
I knew what he meant, but I couldn’t heed to his request. On the night of the full moon, I swallowed both orbs and wrote him a note. I told him my devotion for him had never changed, but I could no longer stay being his wife. My body became lighter and lighter, rising to the sky. I came to the moon and settled down here. I have been making medicines for passing fairies, and have a loyal guard to do the heavy works, be it chopping wood or carrying water, for me. He was a gift from one of the fairies I cured. Another fairy gifted me with a trained rabbit, so I don’t have to smash and grind the medicines myself.
Certain poet wrote a poem on how I must regret stealing the potions from Hoyi, and how I have to endure the lonely life on the moon everyday, day after day. They even taught little children in the middle kingdom to recite and savor this poem.
Do I ever regret what I did? Sometimes, but never for long. Of all the past earthly connections, I miss my little Jade the most. The poet, being a man from the middle kingdom himself, did not understand a woman's heart - sometimes the loneliest place for a woman is her husband's house.
I traded loneliness with content. The vast sky is not dark, and definitely not lonely. Stars show me their brilliant colors that even the best poet would not be able to put into poems. Fairies with various illnesses come by everyday. My life is busy and with a purpose now. I am appreciated and needed everyday.
I am no longer the lady waiting in her chamber. I am the lady on the moon.
(There are several different versions for this legend. The poem used the word "steal," so it begs for an answer to the obvious question: why? This is my interpretation of what had transpired.)