THE STORY OF WU GANG (吳剛), THE WOODCUTTER
So from where we left off from the previous post, The Story of Jade Rabbit, we realized that besides Chang’E and Jade Rabbit, there is someone else on the moon… This person is called, Wu Gang (吳剛), and he is a woodcutter. Actually, to be exact, that’s what he does 24/7. Once again, there are several variations of the story, but centre around a similar premise, so I picked the one that made most sense to moi.
So what’s the story with him?
THE STORY OF THE 24/7 WOOD CUTTER, WU GANG
So the story begins like this. Long long time ago… There was a guy who oh-so-desperately wanted to be immortal. This guy was named Wu Gang. He cut trees for a living. Meet Wu Gang.
The Jade Emperor did not like Wu Gang due to his lousy attitude and Wu Gang had a condition called chronic laziness. So the Jade Emperor set about giving Wu Gang the lesson of a lifetime. It was such a hard lesson that it indeed lasted a lifetime. The Jade Emperor planted a cherry bay tree on the moon
The Jade Emperor then told Wu Gang that he would become immortal once he finished hacking down the tree. The Jade Emperor just left out one teeny tiny detail. This was a magical tree, and it regenerates back, like those prank birthday candles that can’t be blown out.
So it’s been said that on Mid Autumn Festival, when you worship the moon, you can still see and hear Wu Gang hacking down the tree. Unfortunately for him though, the tree regrows back before Wu Gang can complete the task. Lesson of a lifetime indeed.
That’s it. These are the people you’ll see on the moon on Mid Autumn Festival: Chang’E, the Goddess of the Moon, the Jade Rabbit and Wu Gang, the wood cutter. And perhaps a glimpse of Neil Armstrong’s footprint?
Happy Mid Autumn Festival everybody! I hope you’ve enjoyed the Mid Autumn Festival Series =)
Which of the three main folklore tales of the Mid Autumn Festival did you enjoy the most? Have you caught up with the entire Mid Autumn Festival? Read the first post of the series, Mid Autumn Festival and everything you need to know here.