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When the finger points to the moon, the imbecile looks at the finger.


Promises are like the full moon. If they are not kept at once they diminish day by day.


If the sky falls, we shall catch larks

When you die, you will be spoken of as those in the sky, like the stars. [Native American, Yurok]

Be humble for you are made of earth
Be noble for you are made of stars

Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you [Maori]

Moon penny bright as silver,
Come and play with little childer
[Yorkshire saying]

Red sky in the morning sailors warning
Red sky at night sailors delight

[Since the red sky is caused by light bouncing off of dust particles in the dry, unstable air, we can predict bad weather in the morning because most weather moves from west to east. In the evenings, a red sky could mean that the dry air is on its way out.]

Mackerel sky; rain is nigh

[This proverb is true because cirrocumulus clouds can appear ahead of slow moving fronts which are known to produce rain within 24 hours.]

A ring around the moon or sun
And rain approaches on the run

[If there is a ring around the moon, rain can be predicted because the halo effect is caused by high, thin clouds made up of ice crystals which reflect the light. These clouds are usually 500 to 600 miles ahead of a storm front.]

Here are 2 sleep sayings from Carol Ashton:

If a stranger enters the house
They must sit down at least once.
If they don't, without a doubt,
They'll take your sleep when they go out.
[N America]

A witch may creep into your shoes
and steal your sleep by watching you.
So point your shoes away from the bed
And she'll have to watch the wall instead.

From Norm Perrin

The Coming of Night

Unrelenting Day is as bad as unending night and so there are tales of the coming of darkness as well as the bringing of light.

South American and Central American tales tell of a time when daylight never ended and the people had no time for rest, no dreams. Night is owned by the Great Serpent who releases it for his daughter so that she and the world may have rest and a chance to sleep and dream. Complications arise when servants sent to bring the gift of night open the package too soon.

In Polynesian stories night is so short that the people have no time for lovemaking storytelling and of course, sleep. Trickster Maui captures and slows down the sun so that the night is long enough for all three activities to be enjoyed.

Tales of the Coming of Night can be found in:

Tales from the Rain Forest
Mercedes Dorson 1997

Amazon Myths and Legends
Trans. Abigail Frost 1989

At the End of the Rainbow
Jiri Serych 1984

Fairy Tales from Brazil
Elsie Spicer Eells 1959 [orig. 1917]

The Bright Feather and Other Maya Tales
Dorothy Rhoads 1932

‘Maui Lengthens the Night’ can be found in:

Hawaiian Myths of Earth Sea and Sky
Vivian Thompson 1966

Tales of Maui
W. M. Hill 1964

At the Gateways of the Day
Padraic Colum 1924

All the books listed above can be found at the Four Winds Storytellers Library, a privately owned collection of 4,000 books of folktales and reference books.

Call Norman Perrin 647-705-1963 for more information.


I will love the light for it shows me the way. Yet I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars.  Og Mandino

For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream. Vincent Van Gogh

I like to think that the moon is there even if I’m not looking at it. Albert Einstein

Three things cannot long be hidden,the sun, the moon and the truth.  Buddha

Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side which he shows to nobody.  Mark Twain

Moon Down Under
From Joan Bailey

When I lived in South Africa and then in Australia I discovered that the moon looked different. It was up-side-down! Now, I knew about the southern night sky having different constellations, but I hadn’t made this connection with the moon being down-side-up.  So I ‘googled’ and here is what I found:

"The face of ‘the man in the moon’ can be seen in either hemisphere. However, it is a different face, as can be seen by the illustrations below. [Hair has been added to show the top of the head.] You will notice that what is the man’s left eye to those living above the equator becomes the man’s mouth to those below the equator!"



I also discovered that the moon travels in different directions. The moon, the sun, planets and other orbiting heavenly bodies always appear to rise in the east and set in the west. This is because of the direction in which the earth rotates.

In the northern hemisphere, after it rises the moon travels from left to right in the southern sky; and the southern side of a house is always the sunny side.

It is the opposite below the equator: the moon travels from right to left in the northern sky, and the southern side of the house is always shady.

This simple diagram helped me grasp the concept.


 When working with children, I find that Myths provide a natural starting point for studying the night sky. Students can research folktales of the moon from around the world. They can also create their own moon pictures and their own myths to go with them.

One moon story that I particularly like is Ruth Stotter’s version of the Buddhist tale ‘The Hungry Stranger’ which you can find in Anne Pellowski’s book The Family Storytelling Handbook. ISBN 0-02-770610-9. Younger children love the magical appearance of the rabbit. Older students enjoy the discussion about self sacrifice which inevitably ensues.

(Again a different rabbit can be seen in the southern and northern hemispheres)