This is a romantic legend story which have been handed down for nearly 2 millennia. It is one of the four romantic love folk tale in China.
Once upon a time, there was a poor boy, Niu Lang whose parent died when he was young lived with his brother and brother-in-law in west of Nanyang. But his brother-in-law was mean to him and asked him to do all the work. One day in autumn, Niu Lang’ s brother-in-law asked him to walk nine cow but only he brought ten cow that he could have went home. He was worried and did not know how to do. He came across an old man when he was wandered. The old men asked the reason he was upset. After knowing what happened, the old man told him that there was an old sick cow lying in the mountain of Fu Niu and he could bring him back home when the cow was covered to health. Then, Niu Lang went to the mountain of Fu Niu and found the cow. Niu Lang feed the cow three days. On the fourth day, the cow told Niu Lang that he was the fairy in the Heaven but was punished to be a cow in the world of humans and only the way of washing him in dew in a month can heal him. Niu Lang took care of the cow by washing him every day and slept with him at night. Finally, the cow was recovered to health and Niu Lang brought ten cow back home. However, when he got home, Niu Lang’s brother-in-law kicked him out and he took the old cow left home.
One day, he saw several beautiful ladies playing the river. He met a lady named Zhi Nu who was one daughter of the emperor in the Heaven with the help the magic cow. They felt into love very soon and they lived together. Zhi Nu weaved (Her duty when she was in the Heaven) and Niu Lang farmed every day.
They lived happily and had two children. But the Goddess of Heaven, Zhi Nu's mother, found out that Zhi Nu, a fairy girl, had married a mere mortal. The Goddess was furious and ordered Zhi Nu to return to heaven. On Earth, Niu Lang was very upset that his wife had disappeared. Suddenly, his cow told him that if he killed it and put on its hide, he would be able to go up to Heaven to find his wife. Crying bitterly, he killed the cow, put on the skin, and carried his two beloved children off to Heaven to find Zhi Nu. The Goddess discovered this and was very angry. Then the Goddess scratched a wide river in the sky to separate the two lovers forever, thus forming the Milky Way between them. Zhi Nu must sit forever on one side of the river, sadly weaving on her loom, while Niu Lang watches her from afar while taking care of their two children.
But once a year all the magpies in the world would take pity on them and fly up into heaven to form a bridge over the star Deneb in the Cygnus constellation so the lovers may be together for a single night, which is the seventh night of the seventh moon. On that day they met, they cried together. And people thought they were the Deneb in the Cygnus constellation. For the world of humans, that day is rainy cause their crying.
Since then, every seventh lunar month, according to legend the Cowherd and Magpie Bridge day, the girls will come out, look up at the stars, look for the Galaxy on both sides of Deneb in the Cygnus constellation, hoping to see their Mr. Right, begging God to make their own ingenuity as capable as Weaver, praying she could have happy marriage, thus forming the Qixi Festival. Nowadays, we celebrate this festival as lovers’ days. It is the Valentine's Day in China. (Lu Guo, 2015)