WHY IS THE MOON SO INTERESTING
There are old stories about the Moon in every country.
The Maoris were the first people in New Zealand. They lived there before Europeans came. One old Maori story is about Rona. Rona was the daughter of the sea god, Tangaroa. She made the sea go up and down at high and low tide.
One night, Rona had water in a bucket to take to her children at home. She could see where to go in the moonlight. But then a cloud in the sky covered the Moon.
Rona couldn’t see. She said some bad things about the Moon. But the Moon heard her and was very angry. It pulled Rona up into the sky!
Today, many Maoris see a woman and a bucket in the Moon. They say that rain is water from Rona’s bucket.
In another Maori story, a man — also called Rona — went to the Moon to find a wife. Every four weeks, the man eats his wife and then she eats him. That’s why the dark and light parts of the Moon get bigger and smaller each month.
There are many stories about the Moon in science fiction books and movies. Science fiction is about what things are going to be like in a hundred, a thousand, or a million years. Or about worlds that are different from ours.
In 1901, H.G. Wells wrote a book called The First Men in the Moon. In the book, two men fly a rocket to the Moon. They find different kinds of aliens there. Some aliens want to stop them leaving. In the end, one man goes home, but the other stays. Today, we know there’s no life on the Moon. But in 1901, people didn’t know that. Anything was possible.
In 1867, the USA wanted to buy Alaska from Russia. So they sent a scientist called George Davidson to study it. He wrote down what he saw, and the USA paid the Russians $7.2 million for Alaska.
Davidson, an astronomer, wanted to see an eclipse. So in 1869, he went back to Alaska, to a place called Chilkat Valley. Davidson told the people there, «The Sun’s going to go dark tomorrow!» The Chilkats laughed. That was impossible, they thought. But the next day, the Moon went in front of the Sun. Everything was dark! Some Chilkats thought Davidson did it!
The Moon can change how we feel, but can it change us into animals?
In many countries, there are stories about people who change into birds, cats, or fish. Or werewolves! In the stories, people change into werewolves when the Moon is full. Some people change because a werewolf bites them. They get big teeth and hair on all their body. Then they eat animals — or sometimes people!
Some stories say you can only kill werewolves with silver, possibly because the color of the Moon is silver. The stories aren’t true, but they make great movies!
In an Ancient Greek story, a man called Lycaon doesn’t think Zeus is really a god. To find out, Lycaon kills Zeus’s son and cooks him for Zeus! But Zeus knows the food isn’t animal meat. He’s angry and changes Lycaon into a wolf. This is one of the oldest werewolf stories.
One of the newest is in the Harry Potter books. Harry’s teacher, Remus Lupin, is a werewolf. Werewolves in stories are usually bad, but Lupin is a good man. So he isn’t happy about being a werewolf.