A long time ago, three were no stars or moon; only the sun. When the sun went down, everything would sink into darkness. Once night, a glowing moon suddenly appeared. The moon was so hot, it set everything on fire. In the evening, the hot moon made the weather misty and muggy. Nobody could sleep.
“My God!” muttered the people, their breath panting. “We don’t need such a fatally hot moon like this! Let’s shoot it down!”
At that time, at the foot of Lon mountain, there lived a couple. The husband, An, was a skilled hunter in the mountain’s forests. The wife, Ninh, was very proficient in weaving fabric.
One day, Ninh told An, “You’re a skilled bowman. So go and shoot the moon down to save mankind!” An agreed. He took his bow and arrows and climbed up to the top of Lon mountain. He concentrated, aimed, and shot at the moon, but the arrow fell down halfway there. He shot again a hundred times, but in vain.
When An had no more arrows left, the moon was still burning in the sky. An looked down on the mountain’s foot and saw that the trees were dried and that the people had heat stoke. “So sad,” he sighed. Suddenly there was a loud clack and the rock behind him opened up, revealing a doorway. A snowy-haired old man walked out and said:
“Southern Mountain has big tigers, Northern Mountain has tall deer. Want to be strong? Eat tiger meat, eat deer meat! Make a bow from a tiger’s tail and tendon! Make an arrow from deer’s antlers, then you will shoot the moon down.”
As the rock doorway began to close, the old man stepped back and disappeared into the mountain.
Determined to follow the old man’s instructions, An went back home and consulted with his wife to find out however to catch a tiger and a deer.” You are a skilled archer. Why don’t you shoot them with your bow and arrow?” suggested Ninh.
“I tried” An explained. “But the Southern Mountain tigers and Northern Mountain deer have thick skin that my arrows can’t pierce. The only way is to use a large net. But where can we find a good one?” Ninh thought for a while, touching her hair, and then replied:” Weave my hair into a big huge net.”
After weaving the net, the couple went to the Southern Mountain, encircled the tiger’s cave, and caught the big tiger when it ventured out for food. The tiger resisted violently, but An killed the tiger and carried it’s body home. Ninh and An went to the Northern Mountain, and used the same scheme to catch the deer. After eating all the tiger and the deer meat, An felt his strength rise up a thousand times. As the old man in the mountain advised, An fashioned a bow from the tiger’s tail and tendons, then carved arrows from the deer’s antlers. An climbed up Lon mountain once again. He concentrated, aimed, and shot. The arrow flew up high and, and when it hit, pieces of the moon exploded out, turning into stars. An shot at the moon continuously with his antler arrows. After one hundred attempts, the moon began to spin. But it was still hot, dying up plants and the life on earth.
Turning home, An felt defeated. He asked his wife: “My dear, what can I do now? The Moon is still burning. I wish I had something to cover the moon up with.” Ninh was busy embroidering a picture of a family. On the embroidered silk, there was a pretty house, a yellow cinnamon tree, and herd’s sheep and rabbits eating grass in a field. Ninh has created her own image sitting at the cinnamon-tree’s foot, and she was about to stitch in an image of her husband. Hearing An’s distraught voices, Ninh sad:” My darling, shoot this embroidered silk at the moon to cover its burning glow. An did as his wife advised and he was successful.
Once covered, the moon did not burn, but just shined lightly. At the foot of Lon mountain, the people celebrated An with happiness. Pleased, An gazed up at the moon. Suddenly, he saw the images in the embroidered picture begin to shift. He glanced over and saw his wife flying up to the moon, to become the woman that she had embroidered. Watching Ninh fly away, An was panic-stricken: “Ninh! Why didn’t you embroider my image too? Come back here to me!”
Up on the moon, Ninh was frightened too. She plaited her hair into a long braid. She waited until the moon passed over Lon mountain, then she dropped her braid down, and let her husband climb up to the moon. From then on, the embroidery’s images carried on: Ninh always sat at the cinnamon tree weaving silk and An always was in the field tending sheep, their lives passing by happily.