The Celestial Maiden

When I was a child someone gave me a beautifully illustrated book of children's stories from around the world. My younger sister's favorite was "The Celestial Maiden" and she begged me to read it to her over and over again. In the tale a poor Japanese woman prays for a child. One day she finds a tiny maiden lying on a leaf in her garden. She takes the maiden into her home and cares for her, happy that her prayers have been granted. As nightfall approaches, the maiden reveals that she is a celestial princess who must return home before sunset and promises to return to the woman who loves her. She leaves her tears on the leaves in the garden because she is sad to go. Each evening the woman looks into the sky to see her daughter and every morning she sees the dew, proof of her daughter's visits. I think of the Celestial Maiden as I squint at the latest sonogram of my granddaughter—to—be, e—mailed to me by her parents. She's lying regally in the dark womb as the...(Read Full Article)

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