out flew the moon

illustration by Kay Nielsen

Now, after a while, the Foster-mother had to go on another journey; and, before she went, she forbade the Lassie to go into those two rooms into which she had never been. She promised to beware; but when she was left alone, she began to think and to wonder what there could be in the second room, and at last she could not help setting the door a little ajar, just to peep in, when – Pop ! out flew the Moon.
~ from The Lassie & Her Godmother
(East of the Sun & West of the Moon: Old Tales from the North)

16 thoughts on “out flew the moon”

    1. Jeff, “When her Foster-mother came home and found the moon let out, she was very downcast, and said to the Lassie she must go away, she could not stay with her any longer. But the Lassie wept so bitterly, and prayed so heartily for forgiveness, that this time, too, she got leave to stay.”

      You can find the whole story, without illustrations here:

      I have my mom’s childhood copy of “East of the Sun & West of the Moon,” published in the 1930s – she used to read it to me when I was small.

    1. I think you would have taken peek, too, Laurie, little curious and mischievous imp that you were as a child!

  1. You always manage to catch our attention with these lovely little morsels.
    I spent a long time admiring the illustration before I read the quote: Adam and Eve and the serpent with tracks to the moon…

    I know the fairytale collection “east of the sun and west of the moon” because we sold it when I worked at the childrens book store but I didn’t read all the stories and dont know this one… so what happened next Barbara?

    1. Hmmm… And Rosie, you often manage to point out something in a picture that I completely missed. So focused was I on the Lassie and the star path left by the moon that I never noticed that it was Adam & Eve and the serpent left in the room!

      “Some time after, the Foster-mother had to go away again, and she charged the Lassie, who by this time was half grown up, most earnestly that she mustn’t try to go into, or to peep into, the third room. But when her Foster-mother had been gone some time, and the Lassie was weary of walking about alone, all at once she thought, “Dear me, what fun it would be just to peep a little into that third room.” Then she thought she mustn’t do it for her Foster-mother’s sake; but when the bad thought came the second time she could hold out no longer; come what might, she must and would look into the room; so she just opened the door a tiny bit, when – Pop ! out flew the Sun.”

  2. This is wonderful Barbara! The illustration is charming and I couldn’t resist having a look at the story. The inclusion of the Virgin Mary is fascinating and I find myself wanting to read more of these fairy tales 🙂

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed this fairy tale, Colleen! It was a surprise to find the Virgin Mary in the story and Adam & Eve in the illustration. Something tells me I would notice different things reading these tales as an adult than I did when listening to them as a child. 🙂

  3. I adore Kay Nielsen, and the fact that he was influenced by my favorite artist, Aubrey Beardsley! I have ‘East of the Sun…’ and his illustrations, in color and in black and white, are so graceful and charming! It’s hard to decide what I like best – the delicate palate, the tiny elegant stars…but then why bother deciding?

    1. What a lovely connection between Beardsley and Nielsen, Aubrey! I love Nielsen’s illustrations, too – they are so full of enchantment, I used to gaze at them for hours when I was little. I’m afraid my mother’s copy is very worn and a little crumbly. Perhaps I should purchase a new one and read the book from cover to cover. I’ll have to make a point of learning some more about Beardsley, too.

    1. It is an enchanting idea, isn’t it, Jane? There are so many little details – each time I look at the illustration I find something new.

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