Fairy-Tale Files: Princess Moonlight

Fairy-Tale Files

Fairy-Tale Files, published once weekly, feature three variations of a fairy tale chosen by one of Fairy Tale Review’s editors, readers, editorial assistants, or contributors.

Fairy-Tale Files, published once weekly, feature three variations of a fairy tale chosen by one of Fairy Tale Review’s editors, readers, editorial assistants, or contributors.


In The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter (PDF), an elderly woodsman cuts open an illuminated bamboo stalk and discovers an incandescent thumb-sized newborn, later named Nayotake-no-Kaguya-hime (“princess of flexible bamboos scattering light”), or in Yei Theodora Ozaki’s version, Princess Moonlight. As Princess Moonlight grows older and more “strangely beautiful,” her foster parents try to shield her, at least until a worthy partner comes along—in Ozaki’s version, they place her “behind screens.” Turns out, Princess Kaguya is from the moon but was banished for misdeeds. To buy time before the moon squad returns for her, she sends five suitors on quests destined for failure.


Feist’s video for “My Moon My Man” (2007) features songwriter Leslie Feist on an airport people mover singing “shed some light on me.” When she steps onto the mover, it’s as though she’s being followed—her trench coat reinforces the incognito effect. She moves backward and forward with “nowhere to go” on the metal rollers. The lyrics emphasize trouble: “My moon and me / Not as good as we’ve been,” and in the video, Feist is not always illuminated. At the track’s end, she grabs her suitcase and runs off screen. Her final footsteps sound hollow, as if they are far, far away.


Princess Serenity is princess of the Moon Kingdom in Naoko Takeuchi’s 1990’s manga series, Sailor Moon. Her affinity for Earth leads her to visit the forbidden planet. While there, she meets her love, Prince Endymion. After Endymion is killed during an attack, Princess Serenity commits suicide. In later versions, after her kingdom is destroyed, Princess Serenity reincarnates as Usagi Tsukino, a teenager who lives on Earth. Usagi meets Luna, a talking cat, who tells Usagi she can transform into Sailor Moon, her heroine self, with help from a magic brooch. Sailor Moon and the Sailor Soldiers protect their adopted planet from evil and injustice.

This edition of Fairy-Tale Files is brought to you by staff member Andie Francis.