CHING Yuh and Kyain Oo were stare attendant upon the Sun. They fell madly in love with each other, and, obtaining the royal permission, they were married. It was to them a most happy union, and having reached the consummation of their joys they lived only for one another, and sought only each other's company. They were continually in each other's embrace, and as the honey-moon bade fair to continue during the rest of their lives, rendering them unfit for the discharge of their duties, their master decided to punish them. He therefore banished them, one to the farthest edge of the eastern heavens, the other to the extreme opposite side of the great river that divides the heavenly plains (the Milky Way).
They were sent so far away that it required full six months to make the journey, or a whole year to go and come. As they must be at their post at the annual inspection, they therefore could only hope to journey back and forth for the scant comfort of spending one short night in each other's company. Even should they violate their orders and risk punishment by returning sooner, they could only see each other from either bank of the broad river, which they could only hope to cross at the season when the great bridge is completed by the crows, who carry the materials for its construction upon their heads, as any one may know, who cares to notice, how bald and worn are the heads of the crows during the seventh moon.
Naturally this fond couple are always heart-broken and discouraged at being so soon compelled to part after such a brief but long-deferred meeting, and it is not strange that their grief should manifest itself in weeping tears so copious that the whole earth beneath is deluged with rains.
This sad meeting occurs on the night of the seventh day of the seventh moon, unless prevented by some untoward circumstance, in which case the usual rainy season is withheld, and the parched earth then unites in lamentation with the fond lovers, whose increased trials so sadden their hearts that even the fountain of tears refuses to flow for their relief.
You Tah Jung was a very wise official, and a remarkably good man. He could ill endure the corrupt practices of many of bis associate officials, and becoming dissatisfied with life at court, he sought and obtained permission to retire from official life and go to the country. His marriage had fortunately been a happy one, hence he was the more content with the somewhat solitary life he now began to lead. His wife was peculiarly gifted, and they were in perfect sympathy with each other, so that they longed not for the society of others. They had one desire, however, that was ever before them and that could not be laid aside. They had no children; not even a daughter had been granted them.
As You Tah Jung superintended the cultivation of his estate, he felt that he would be wholly happy and content were it not for the lack of offspring. He gave himself up to the fascinating pastime of fishing, and took great delight in spending the most of his time in the fields listening to the birds and absorbing wisdom, with peace and contentment, from nature. As spring brought the mating and budding season, however, he again got to brooding over his unfortunate condition. For as he was the last of an illustrious family, the line seemed like to cease with his childless life. He knew of the displeasure his ancestors would experience, and that he would be unable to face them in paradise; while he would leave no one to bow before his grave and make offerings to his spirit. Again he bemoaned their condition with his poor wife, who begged him to avail himself of his prerogative and remove their reproach by marrying another wife. This he stoutly refused to do, as he would not risk ruining his now pleasant home by bringing another wife and the usual discord into it.
Instead of estranging them, their misfortune seemed but to bind this pair the closer together. They were very devout people, and they prayed to heaven continually for a son. One night the wife fell asleep while praying, and dreamed a remarkable dream. She fancied that she saw a commotion in the vicinity of the North Star, and presently a most beautiful boy came down to her, riding upon a wonderful fan made of white feathers. The boy came direct to her and made a low obeisance, upon which she asked him who he was and where he came from. He said: "I am the attendant of the great North Star, and because of a mistake I fell into he banished me to earth for a term of years, telling me to come to you and bring this fan, which will eventually be the means of saving your life and my own."
In the intensity of her joy she awoke, and found to her infinite sorrow that the beautiful vision was but a dream. She cherished it in her mind, however, and was transported with joy when a beautiful boy came to them with the succeeding spring-tide. The beauty of the child was the comment of the neighborhood, and every one loved him. As he grew older it was noticed that the graces of his mind were even more remarkable than those of his person.
The next ten years were simply one unending period of blissful contentment in the happy country home. They called the boy Pang Noo (his family name being You, made him You Pang Noo). His mother taught him his early lessons herself, but by the expiration of his first ten years he had grown far beyond her powers, and his brilliant mind even taxed his intelligent father in his attempts to keep pace with him.
About this time they learned of a wonderful teacher, a Mr. Nam Juh Oon, whose ability was of great repute. It was decided that the boy should be sent to this man to school, and great was the agitation and sorrow at home at thought of the separation. He was made ready, however, and with the benediction of father and caresses of mother, he started for his new teacher, bearing with him a wonderful feather fan which his father had given him, and which had descended from bis great-grandfather. This he was to guard with especial care, as, since his mother's remarkable dream, preceding his birth, it was believed that this old family relic, which bore such a likeness to the fan of the dream, was to prove a talisman to him, and by it evil was to be warded off, and good brought down upon him.