I will teach you, Walter, why I carry thorns in the moon
June 26, 2008 5:46 AM Subscribe
In an intriguing blog entry
the mysterious jasminembla muses about the man in the moon, and his relationship with thorns, linking finally to a most remarkable collection of sourced and footnoted Victorian Moon Lore
authored by a Rev. Timothy Harley, 1885. In the "Man in the Moon
" section, we learn that, indeed, the man in the moon has been traditionally linked with thorns, variously being exiled to the moon for stealing a bundle of brambles, strewing brambles on the path to church to hinder the pious, or cutting wood on the Sabbath, among other infractions - and that this folktale has existed since at least 1157, when an English abbot asks, in Latin, "Do you not know what the people call the rustic in the moon who carries the thorns? Whence one vulgarly speaking says,
"The Rustic in the moon /
Whose burden weighs him down /
This changeless truth reveals /
He profits not who steals."
Furthermore, no less a personage than Shakespeare has mentioned the thorny situation of the poor man in the moon... and most interesting, perhaps, the rather convincing theory that the bramble-burdened man in the moon may very well be an older "Jack" of Jack and Jill fame, who did not steal, but was stolen by the moon, along with his sister.
There's much, much more in the Moon Lore collection, including The Woman in the Moon
, The Hare in the Moon
, The Toad in the Moon
, other moon myths
, moon as deity
, superstitions about the moon
, and a serious examination of the question "is the moon inhabited?