THUNDER and Lightning were going to give a feast. It was to be a most delightful banquet, for all the good things that could be imagined were to be brought from every corner of the world.
For many days before the feast these good things were coming. The birds flew up with what they could find in the cold air of the north and the warm air of the south. The fishes came from the east and from the west with what they could find in the cold water or in the warm water. As for what grew on the earth, there was no end to the luxuries that came every morning and every evening. Squirrels brought nuts, crows brought corn, the ants brought sweet things of many kinds. Food that was rich and rare came from India and Japan. The butterflies and the humming-birds were to arrange the flowers, the peacocks and the orioles promised to help make the place beautiful, and the waves and the brooks agreed to make their most charming music.
Thunder and Lightning were talking about whom to invite, and they questioned whether to ask the sun, the moon, and the wind. These three were children of the star mother.
"The star mother has been so kind to us that I suppose we ought to invite her children," said Thunder.
"The moon is charming, but the sun and the wind are rough and wild. If I were the star mother, I would keep them in a corner all day, and they should stay there all night, too, if they did not promise to be gentle," said Lightning.
"We must invite them," replied Thunder, with what sounded much like a little growl, "but it would be delightful if they would agree to stay away, all but the moon."
That is why the sun and wind were invited as well as the moon. When the invitation came, the two brothers said to their little sister, "You are too small to go to a feast, but perhaps they asked you because they were going to ask us."
"Star mother, I think I will stay at home," said the moon tearfully.
"No, little moon," replied the star mother; "go to the feast with the other children."
So the three children went to the feast, and the star mother waited for them to come home.
When they came, she asked, "What did you bring for me?" The hands of the sun were full of good things, but he said, "I brought only what I am going to eat myself," and he sat down in a corner with his back to the others, and went on eating.
"Did you bring anything for me?" she asked the wind.
"I brought some good things halfway home, and then I was weary of carrying them," answered the wind, "so I have eaten them."
"I should never have imagined that you would be so selfish," said the star mother sadly, and she asked the little moon, "My daughter, did you bring anything for me?"
"Yes, star mother," answered the little moon, and she gave her mother more good things than any one had ever seen in their home before. There were rare luxuries that the fishes and the birds had brought. There were rich colors that the peacocks and orioles had promised, and there was even some of the charming music that the waves and brooks had agreed to make.
The star mother praised the little maiden. Then she looked at her two boys. She was sad, for she knew that they must be punished for their selfishness. "Sun," said she, "you wish to turn your back on all, and your punishment shall be that when the warm days of summer have come, all men will turn their backs on you." To the wind she said, "Wind, you thought of no one but yourself. When the storm is coming and you are afraid and fly before it, no one shall think of you. All men shall close their doors against you and fasten them." Then to her little daughter she said, "My little moon, you were unselfish and thoughtful. You shall always be bright and beautiful, and men shall love you and praise you whenever they look upon your gentle, kindly face."
This is why men hide from the sun and the wind, but never from the moon.