The Cowherd and the Girl Weaver

On the east bank of the HeavenlyRiver lived a girl weaver, daughter of the Emperor of Heaven. She worked hard year in and year out, weaving colourful clothes for gods and goddesses.

Since she lived all alone, the emperor took pity on her and allowed her to marry the cowherd on the west bank of the river. However, she stopped weaving after she was married. Greatly outraged, the emperor forced the girl back across the river and allowed her to join her husband only once a year.

from Xiao Shuo (Folk Tale)


On the seventh day of each autumn, magpies would suddenly become bald-headed for no obvious reasons at all. According to legend, that day the cowherd and the weaver met on the east bank of the river, and magpies were made to form a bridge for them. And for this reason the down on their heads was worn out.


from Er ya yi (Book of Plants and Animals)