The myth of the Herd-Boy and the Weaver-Girl
21' X 64' , acrylic paint on a primed brick and mortar surface.
Chinatown BIA mural 2017. 449 Dundas Street West Toronto,Ont
This story, of which there are many versions, goes back to the sixth century BC and can be found in the first known book of Chinese poetry, The Book of Songs (Shijing 诗经).
A very long time ago, when the King of the Sky created the heavens, he decorated it with stars and asked his beautiful daughter to help him by weaving the clouds and mists. It was a long task and when the king noticed his daughter looking tired and drawn, he ordered her to take a break and go out to play among the stars. The princess headed down towards the Milky Way to bathe, whereupon she came across a handsome herd-boy grazing his water buffalo by the banks of the stream. Distracted by the boy the princess lost track of time and returned home to her work long after the curfew her father had set. The King, upon discovering the reason for her late return was very angry and forbade her to visit the boy again. In case she disobeyed him, the King poured thousands more stars into the Milky Way until it was no longer a stream but a flowing river that the princess and the herd-boy could not cross. Without a bridge, the two were stranded on opposite sides of the Milky Way forever more. The Princess, who had fallen in love with the herd-boy, was distraught, and cried until her father relented. The King and his daughter reached an agreement that he would allow her to spend one day of each year with her herd-boy if she worked hard all year round. To this day, on the seventh day of the seventh month of every year the King sends a flock of magpies over the Milky Way to form a bridge. The weather must be clear on this evening or the lovers cannot cross the celestial river to meet each other. If it rains the pair must wait another year. On a clear night you can see their two bright stars together in the sky. If it rains it is said that the drops falling to earth are the tears of the Weaver-Girl Princess.