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Double Seventh Festival (2)

☆The love story

The seventh daughter of the Emperor of Heaven and an orphaned cowherd were separated by the Emperor; the girl was forced to move to the star Vega (织女星,天琴座中的最亮的那颗星)and the cowherd, to the star Altair(牛郎星, 牵牛星). They were only allowed to meet once a year on the day of seventh day of seventh lunar month - Chinese Valentine's Day.

The story begins with the handsome but poor orphan who lived with his elder brother and sister-in-law. After his parents passed away, the boy's brother inherited the house and land. But all he had was an old ox. As a cowherd, the boy had to work the farm fields with his ox everyday. His daily life routine resembled the story of Cinderella (《灰姑娘》).

The seventh daughter of the Emperor, also known as the Weaving Maid, was good at handcrafting, especially weaving clothes. The Emperor particularly appreciated her skills of weaving clouds with rainbows to make the world more beautiful.

The cowherd's ox, which was actually an immortal from heaven, made mistakes in heaven and was reincarnated as an ox to toil on earth. One day, the ox suddenly said to the cowherd: "You are a nice person. If you want to get married, go to the brook and your wish will come true."

The cowherd went to the brook and watched the seven pretty daughters of the Emperor come down from heaven to take a bath. Fascinated by the youngest and the most beautiful one, the cowherd hid her fairy clothes. When the other six fairies went away after the bath, the youngest could not fly back to heaven without her fairy clothes.

The cowherd then appeared and told the Weaving Maid that he would keep her clothes until she agreed to be his wife. After a slight hesitation, mixed with coyness and eagerness, the maid accepted the handsome man's proposal. The couple was then married and had two children two years later.

Meanwhile, up in heaven, the Emperor missed the beautiful skies once woven by his seventh daughter. He ordered his daughter's grandmother to find her and bring her back to him. As the seventh princess was flying to heaven with her grandmother, the cowherd put on his old ox's hide (which he preserved after the animal had died long ago) and put their children into two bamboo baskets laced with his wife's magical fairy clothes to chase after his love.

But the grandmother created a milky way in the sky with her hairpin, which kept the lovers apart. The seventh princess moved to the star Vega (The Swooping Eagle) in the Lyra (Harp) constellation. And the cowherd and their two children stayed on the star Altair (Flying One) in the Aquila (Eagle) constellation.
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