Magpies and the Milky Way

Long ago there was a beautiful princess, the daughter of the Sky God. She was the most skillful weaver in the land, weaving beautiful cloth at her loom every day. One day she looked up from her loom and saw a herdsman at work. She fell in love with him at once. When the herdsman saw the princess at her window, he also fell in love.

The Weaving Princess begged her father to allow her to marry the poor herdsman. The Sky God agreed, and the two were happy together. They were so happy that they each neglected their work. The princess forgot to weave her beautiful cloth, and the herdsman neglected his animals. The Sky God decided to punish them.

The Sky God placed the princess in the sky in one place, and the herdsman in the sky in another place. Between them he put a river of stars. They could see each other, but could not cross the river. The princess and herdsman returned to their work with great sadness.

The Sky God took pity on them and decided that if they worked hard at their tasks, he would allow the princess and the herdsman to meet one night each year. Toward the end of the summer, a great flock of magpies flew to the river of stars. they settled onto the water and formed a bridge for the princess and herdsman to cross. The next night the magpies were gone, and the princess and herdsman retunred to their work for another year.

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