How the Stars Came to Be

This past Thursday, I attended the opening reception for a tsunami relief benefit art show at the Embassy of the Philippines in D.C. There I met Amy Quinto, an artist who had painted the Filipino legend of how the stars came to be.

A young girl loved dressing herself up with her mother’s jewelry. She spent hours layering necklace upon necklace, slipping bracelets on her wrists, and picking out the shiniest earrings and rings.

One day, her mother called upon her to help harvest the rice. Rice must be shucked with a hammer-like tool and pounded repeatedly before the edible grain is released. To avoid tangling herself up in the jewelry, the girl hung it one by one in the sky, which was much lower in those days.

As she shucked the rice, the sky rose higher and higher until, finally, it was out of her reach. The girl returned home, and the jewelry remained forever in the sky, gleaming and sparkling as tiny, glittering stars.

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