15th September

Jack and the Moon

Jack is leaning out of his window one night, admiring the full moon, which is even brighter and bigger than usual. He feels he could reach out and touch it, so he does. He reaches out and touches it and the moon falls from the sky right into his open arms.

To his surprise it isn’t round like a ball. It’s a huge yellow disc made out of some kind of heavy parchment, with pencil marks on it for the mountains. Jack lays it on his bed. The room is filled with a wonderful, cool, soothing light.

‘What are ye up tae, Jack?’ his mother shouts from her room.

‘Just closin the windae, Mither,’ he said. He folds the moon and puts it in the drawer at the bottom of the wardrobe. Then he gets into bed and tries to sleep, but he’s feeling guilty about touching the moon, so he stays awake all night.

The next morning there’s consternation because the moon fell out of the sky and no one knows where it went. The tides have stopped working and the sea is dead calm and everybody’s asking what happened – everybody except Jack. Whenever he creeps up to his room and opens the drawer there’s the folded moon giving off its beautiful glow, but each time it’s a wee bit dimmer, and Jack understands that the moon is dying because like everything else it needs the sun to live.

That night, as soon as darkness falls, he sticks the moon up his jersey and slips down to the beach. The sea is flat and still. Jack unfolds the moon and lays it on the water, and gives it a wee push. And that wee push is enough to make a ripple, and the moon rides over it, and that makes another ripple, and then a wave, and Jack looks up and sees the pale edge of the moon on the horizon, and the further out the moon in the sea floats the higher the moon in the sky climbs, and he knows it’s going to be all right.

But never again will he try to touch the moon, no matter how tempting it is.

Reader: James Robertson
Fiddle: Aidan O'Rourke
Harmonium: Kit Downes
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