A Beautiful and Romantic Legend
There are many stories as to the origins of ; Seventh Eve，and one of them involves the Cowherd and Weaver Maid who will meet on a bridge of magpies across the Milky Way once a year. It is a beautiful and touching legend which is most widely spreaded among Chinese people.
Long time ago, there was a poor and young farmer，known as the cowherd. His parents died early and he lived with his elder brother and sister-in-law. He was mistreated by them, who eventually gave him an old ox and a small cottage and chased him out. From then on, he lived in the cottage with the company of that faithful old ox and depended on each other for survival.
As a matter of fact, the ox was not an ordinary ox. It used to be an immortal from the heaven. On account of the mistakes it had made before, it was sentenced to reincarnate as an ox on the earth, and never allowed to return to the heaven.
On an evening, the ox suddenly opened its mouth and talked, telling the cowherd that the seven daughters of the Queen of Heaven were going to slippe out of their heavenly palace to bathe in a river and his wife-to-be were among them. Under the direction of the ox, the cowherd went to the river and hid himself in the reeds at the riverbank, seeing the girls bathing in the river as foretold. At the first sight, he fell in love with the youngest and most beautiful fairy, who was known as the Weaving Maid.
The Weaving Maid was said to be the youngest of the seven daughters of the Queen of Heaven. She was intelligent and good at handcraft, especially weaving clothes. With her sisters, she worked hard to weave beautiful clouds in the sky.
In order to make the Weaving Maid stay on the earth, the cowherd rushed out of the reeds and grabbed stole her fairy clothes while they were splashing about and having fun in the river. One of the fairies witnessed him and then yelled out. In panic, the other six fairies dashed to their clothes, hurriedly put them on, and flew away. The Weaving Maid could not fly back to heaven without her fairy clothes.
The cowherd then appeared and told her that he would not return her clothes unless she promised to be his wife. After a slight hesitation and with a mixture of coyness and eagerness, the Weaving Maid agreed to his request. They were then married. The Cowherd worked in the fields while the Weaving Maid weaved at home, and they led a happy life and had a son and a daughter several years later.
Several years passed on the earth, which were only a few days in heaven. When Queen Mother of Heaven learnt that the Weaving Maid had married privately, she was enraged and forced the Weaving Maid to go back to heaven. When the cowherd heard about the bad news and came back home, he found his wife was not at home, only the children left. The cowherd was very sad and didn't know what to do next. Suddenly, he remembered what the old ox told him before death: "Keep the cowhide for emergency use". He put on the magic cowhide, placed the children in wicker baskets on a pole to carry on his shoulder, and flew up, up into the sky to follow his wife.
when he was about to reach his wife, the Queen pulled off her hairpin to draw a deep line between the two. Immediately, a huge river appeared between the Cowherd and the Weaving Maid. This river, which is created with a silver hairpin, is then called Yin He “the Silver River”, known in the West as the Milky Way. They could not get past this wide swollen river. As a result the Cowherd and the Weaving Maid were ruthlessly separated. But the cowherd was not discouraged. In order to be reunited with his wife, he bailed water out of the milky way together with his son and daughter without stopping. He never gave up until bailed out.
Eventually, their faithful love moved the magpies. On the seventh eve of the seventh lunar month each year, Thousands of magpies flocked together to form a bridge over the the Milky Way so that the couple were able to meet each other on the bridge.more info about Chinese valentine day,pls visit www.learnchinese.sg