The Weaving Maiden was the youngest of seven
daughters of the Queen of Heaven. She wove the most beautiful silks. One
day, her sisters persuaded her to go down to earth for some fun and games.
While there, the girls decided to go skinny-dipping. As they disrobed, the
cowherd happened to be watching from the bushes, and he fell head over heels
in love with the beautiful Weaving Maiden. So, as the girls were bathing,
he stole her clothes. When they came out of the water, the sisters put
their robes on and flew back up to heaven, but the Weaving Maiden had to
chase after the Cowherd for her clothes. She ended up falling for him, and
decided to stay on earth to be with him.
After a while, the Queen realized her daughter
was missing. She hunted high and low, and found her dallying with the
Cowherd, and dragged her back up to heaven to resume her weaving duties.
When the Cowherd tried to follow, the Queen waved her golden comb across the
skies, forming the Milky Way, which separated the two lovers.
Everyday, the Weaving Maiden pined and cried for
her Cowherd, until her father took pity on them. He decreed that,
henceforth, on the seventh day of the seventh moon, they would be allowed to
meet. So every year, on that day, the magpies would fly down from heaven,
and form a bridge across the Milky Way, and the lovers would meet over the
backs of the magpies. And those of us looking up on that day will see this
bridge of magpies as a rainbow.