The Tale of the Moon-Thief Myth in Aedelwynn - The Land of the Free | World Anvil
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The Tale of the Moon-Thief

Or, "How Greed Forsook the Thief and the Making of the Moon"

The Moon-Touched Man

"Gather around children, cold is the night. The hearth fire is warm, outside the frost bites. A tale I shall tell you, of lust, love and greed, so listen closely, and silently take heed. The tale of the moon-thief, of the huntress, and the chanter. The tale of a fool, a cheat, and a liar. The tale of a woeful man, whose fate is most dire. If you look to the skies, there you will see, our foolish moon-touched man, in all his glory."


A young edel wishes to impress his dame by gifting her the most beautiful jewel one can behold on this Realm. Seeking the jewel, he falls upon a beautiful huntress and her retinue, who wears around her neck a carcanet woven from pure light. He tries, at first, to bargain for it but it appears she does not wish to part with it.   Instead, the edel offers to challenge her for the jewel, first in a foot race, then in archery, then in hunting, in dancing, in singing and wrestling. With each challenge, the edel is bested, and eventually he leaves the woods, distraught about the oath he made to his lady, and his constant failure.   In comes a wanderer, who appears to aid the edel by teaching him a song so beautiful it will impress the huntress. For three days and nights, the wanderer teaches the edel how to speak the ancient words and speak its rhymes. When the edel returns to the forest, he finds the huntress with her retinue, and challenges her to a song contest once again.   Except this time, the song learned from the wanderer aids the edel in his challenge, as he impresses not just the retinue but their leader as well. Evidently bested, yet still reluctant to gift him her jewel, the huntress offers him a choice: to take the jewel but walk the earth alone, always at night; or to spend the night with her, but let her brandish the jewel instead.   Lust overcomes the edel, who chooses to spend the night with the huntress, but as she is sleeping, a tempting voice whispers to him to take the jewel and run. Doing just so, the next day the huntress - enraged - gives pursuit, whilst the wanderer laughs from a distance and shows the edel a path to the highest mountain, where he would escape his tracker.   Given no other choice, whence they make it to the top, the wanderer tells the edel that he must keep running, for the light of the jewel can only be outshined by the sun, and that the huntress will always find him under starlight. He tells him he should not have given into neither lust nor greed, and as punishment he may only ever set foot on the soil every 28 days, and once on the longest day of summer.   Thus, the moon runs across the skies to escape the huntress' wrath, and may only set whence the sun has risen. On the longest day of summer, the edel returned to meet with his beloved, yet when she learned of his treachery, the next year she was found with another. The huntress' words returned to the edel: "to walk the land, forever alone."


Popular amongst An Edel, the moon thief is a cautionary folk tale against thieving and adultery, whilst also explaining how the moon came to be. It serves as a reminder that the Old Faith is not yet gone, and that as the moon courses through the skies, the Huntress must be chasing it still alongside her trial and retinue.   Its appeal, however, is rather universal across Aedelwynn. It is often told during the longest night of the year, as well as on the coming of winter, to reassure young children that evildoers will always be punished, and to warn them against these crimes. It is rather widespread, though may be a novelty amongst An Fir-bholg who have their own tales around the birth of the moon.   That said, even the Orcs of the Ginnunting tribes have heard of the Moon-Thief, which proves how widespread the tale has grown, often gaining traction amongst criminal organisations and lorebearers alike. Some despise the Thief, whilst others praise his ingenuity, and many pity the lack of judgement from the Huntress.

Variations & Mutation

The 'Moon-Touched Man', or the 'Tale of the Moon Thief' has seen numerous reiterations across history, depending on the region the storyteller is from, their political inclinations, their tribal lore, etc. The moon being of such importance to many dark-dwelling creatures, civilizations and travellers by night, its importance and appreciation is widespread.   An Tuana Clanna have a rather drastic variation of the Moon-Thief, wherein he was a young prince who sought to reclaim a necklace stolen from his dame by an evil witch. The witch, unwilling to part with the jewel, challenged him to three trials. However Saint Diarmaid taught the Thief a song that would put the witch to sleep. As she slept, he reclaimed the moon, but was cursed by the witch to never step on solid ground or wade in water again. To protect the prince, the God of the Clan expelled the man to the skies, where he would watch over the night's sky, and be allowed to visit his dame every day until she died, whereupon she became the northernmost star.   An Glamhoth believe the Moon-Touched Man to be a warrior-bard who struck the eye out of a horrible beast that had put the Man's lover under its spell. He safeguards this eye from her by flying on a great eagle across the night's sky as it tries to pursue him. The Moon-Touched Man bears the eye of the dragon as a trophy for all to behold, and to guide the Orcish people throughout the night. In their tongue, he is dubbed 'Trophy Bearer', and curiously the gender of his lover is never specified...   The tale has also gained a favorable following among cat burglars, robbers and cut purses, who sometimes see the Moon-Thief as an ideal to strive towards. (The man did steal the bloody moon after all). Some might even consider the Moon-Thief as a lesser deity, or a patron to pray to for good luck, likening the constant escape from his pursuer to his uncanny skills.

Legends of An Edel

"And to this day, the moon thief hides from the Huntress during the day, but flies from her trail at night."
Date of First Recording
As old as time.
Date of Setting
After the Sun was set to course across the skies.
Related Ethnicities

The Moon-Thief as a lesser Power:
"The Moon-Thief is subject to the superstition of thieves, robbers and burglars. One in every ten coins is his. Prayers are spoken to him during the night, on the eve of a nefarious (though never murderous) act, or on a full moon."
  • Twilight, Trickery;
  The Moon-Thief as warlock Patron:
"The Moon-Thief is the patron of thieves and mischief amongst Wilder People, whilst An Tuana Clanna see him as a minor hero, who became the moon's carrier. There are ways to gain power from his presence..."
Patron Pacts:
  • Archfey, Celestial;
Credit goes to: Darren Korb

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Cover image: The Return by Eytan Zana


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