The Vietnamese Folktale of Chú Cuội (The Man in the Moon): Background information when reading Banyan Moon

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Banyan Moon

A Novel

by Thao Thai

Banyan Moon by Thao Thai X
Banyan Moon by Thao Thai
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    Jun 2023, 336 pages


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The Vietnamese Folktale of Chú Cuội (The Man in the Moon)

This article relates to Banyan Moon

Banyan tree with sunlight streaming between leavesIn Banyan Moon, author Thao Thai interweaves references to a Vietnamese folktale about a "man in the moon." In the story, a woodcutter called Chú Cuội is walking through the jungle one day when he sees a trio of tiger cubs. He approaches, thinking he might be able to catch one and sell it, then use the money to buy an ox. He manages to grab one of the cubs and begins his trek out of the jungle, when he suddenly hears the ferocious roar of the cubs' mother behind him. Chú Cuội scampers up a tree, dropping the tiger cub in the process. The cub suffers an injury to the head in the fall, and Chú Cuội watches in amazement as the mother tiger removes leaves from a banyan tree, chews them and applies them to the injured cub's head. The treatment is successful; the cub returns to playing with its siblings, apparently healed. The tiger family wanders off and Chú Cuội investigates the banyan tree, removing some of its leaves and placing them in his ...

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