The Little White Boat, 小白船

4 12 2009

The Little White Boat and its White Rabbit

The full moon that accompanied me on the drive home last night brought back memories of a song we were taught to sing in primary school.  小白船, or little white boat describes the moon as a little white boat drifting in the Milky Way, on which a white rabbit is playing by an sweet osmanthus tree.

蓝蓝的天空银河里
有只小白船
船上有棵桂花树
白兔在游玩
浆儿浆儿看不见
船上也没帆
飘呀飘呀,飘向西天

渡过那条银河水
走向云彩国
走过那个云彩国
再向哪儿去?
在那遥远的地方
闪着金光
晨星是灯塔
照呀照得亮

The moon has long been a subject of folklore. Chinese folklore has it that there is a rabbit that lives on the moon – the markings on the moon’s surface as seen by the naked eye does look like a rabbit with a little bit of imagination. The moon is also associated with much superstition. In the West, lunacy and Werewolves have long been associated with the full moon, the word “lunacy” itself derived from the Latin word for the moon.

A Moment of Madness in the Eerie Glow of the Full Moon - wandering around the ruins of Urquhart Castle and the banks of Loch Ness on a cold November's evening in 1989

In some parts of East Asia, children are warned by their parents not to point at the moon, lest they wake up with a painful cut behind their ears the following morning. Strangely, the first I heard of this was from a Sikh neighbour … it was only much later that my maternal grandmother did care to mention this to me … and for a while I believed it, not daring to direct my fingers towards the moon!


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2 responses

23 12 2009
estela

i loved this song as a kid, one of the first ones i learnt..the full moon is awesome. merry christmas from shanghai!

23 12 2009
The wondering wanderer

Thanks for your comments Estela. Yes, the song is a lovely song isn’t it? Merry Christmas!

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