Podcaster: Avivah Yamani

Title: Astro Folklore – Cuoi, The Man on the Moon

Organization: Planetary Science Institute; langitselatan

Link :

Description:  This is a folklore from Vietnam about Cuoi, a man who lives in the Moon. Another interpretation that Moon is occupy by man.

Bio: Avivah Yamani is a an astronomy communicator from Indonesia.

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Welcome to the 365 Days of Astronomy. I’m Avivah, your host today. I’m going to tell a story from Vietnam about a man on the moon. This is another interpretation from a different culture that the Moon is inhabited

This is a story of Cuoi, the man on the Moon. This story is part of Stars of Asia project compile by Luong Ngoc Quynh

Cuoi, the Man on the Moon

Once upon a time, in a village in Vietnam, there was an orphan boy named Cuoi. He was clever and kind. He did woodcutting for a living and he always helped others in the village when they were in need or had trouble.

One day, when Cuoi went to the forest to cut down some trees, he found a cave and spotted four tiger cubs sleeping. He looked around and saw that the four cubs had been left alone by their mother. Seeing this, Cuoi thought, “The cubs are small, but still they are wild animals. When they grow up they might kill people in the village. I must kill them.”

With his ax, Cuoi cut the heads off the four cubs. Just then, in the distance, he could see the mother tiger coming back. Cuoi was scared but he immediately found a way to escape. As quickly as he could, Cuội climbed the closest tree he could find.

When the mother tiger reached the cave and saw the scene of her children’s slaughter, she was heartbroken. She roared in agony. But she soon recovered and went over to an old, twisted Banyan tree growing near a bubbling stream. She tore off four leaves from the tree, chewed them up, and placed them into the mouths of her cubs.

To his amazement, all the cubs he’d killed before came back to life and started playing as if nothing had happened. The mother then led the cubs off on a hunt for food.

When the tigers left, Cuoi came down from the tree. He checked out the magical Banyan tree, dug it up, and carried it home.

On his way home, he saw a dead beggar lying by the road. To verify the magic of the banyan tree, Cuoi plucked some leaves and put them into the man’s mouth. After a while, the man returned to life. After hearing about the extraordinary tree, the man cried, “This must be a magical tree with revival power. It used to belong to the Deity. You must take care of this tree carefully. You have to water it with clean water. If you water it with dirty water, it will leave the ground and fly away.”

Cuoi carried the tree with him and planted it in his garden. He watered it with clean, clear water every day. The tree grew really fast. With this magical tree, Cuoi saved a lot of peoples’ lives, and the villagers loved him dearly.

One day, while fishing, Cuoi saw a dead dog by the river. He saved the dog, and from then on, Cuoi had a new friend. Another time, a rich man came to find Cuoi. He begged him to save his daughter’s life. Cuoi agreed. Cuoi followed the man to his house, taking the leaves of the banyan tree along with him so he could revive the girl. After swallowing the leaves, the girl woke up. To thank Cuoi, the family tried to give him a lot of money, but Cuoi rejected it. In the end, the rich family decided to have Cuoi as part of their family by marrying him and their daughter. Cuoi agreed because she was pretty and nice and he liked her.

The couple lived happily and peacefully. However, Cuoi occasionally met people who provoked him. And once when Cuoi was away from home, those people came and killed his wife. Then they disposed of her intestines into the river so that he wouldn’t be able to revive her.

When Cuoi came back and found out that his wife had been killed, he was so sad and in great pain. He tried everything he could to bring his wife back to life. But all his efforts failed. Feeling pity for his master, the dog offered him a way to revive his wife. The dog said: “If you want to save your wife, you have to kill me. Then use my intestines to replace your wife’s. If you do that, your wife will be fine.”

Cuoi did what the dog said and his wife was brought back to life. In order to thank the dog, Cuoi fashioned new bowels from soil and replaced the dog’s bowels to save his life too. After all that happened, humans and pets have become closer and dogs have become man’s best friend.

After her revival, Cuoi’s wife became forgetful and even forgot what Cuoi said soon after he’d said it. The most important thing that she forgot was to water the magical tree using clean water. One day, she took a bucket of dirty water and watered the tree. Once the dirty water flowed to the roots, the tree shook and started to leave the ground to fly away.

Cuoi was frightened and he grabbed the roots of the tree to hold it back, but unfortunately the tree was strong and took Cuoi along with it. He then saw the whole village appearing like clusters of dots as the tree went up and passed the skies, stars and eventually stopped when they reached the moon.
Then, the Banyan tree sank its roots into the gentle glittering moon dust. There, the tree stayed and settled. Years and decades have passed, Cuội continued to sit under the Banyan t

Thank you for listening

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