When he stood at the edge he looked down into the hole with widened eyes. There, at the bottom of the crater where it had come to rest, was the moon.
Pachi was a simple man, a fisherman who lived by himself in a little, one room cabin placed between the foot of a bald cliff and the foamy grey sea. This was where he had spent his entire life, on the pier outside his house, dropping his lines into the water and pulling out iron colored fish. He would clean them and lay them over the smoldering coals in his stone hearth to let the thin smoke cure the fish, which he would sell at the market every seventh day. This was how he spent his days, grasping the slippery bodies and quieting them with a few efficient slices with a good knife. This was how his father had lived, and his father before him, and his before him, until it became a family trait to smell of fish, to gut the grey flesh with ease, and to repair the huge nets swiftly.
This was how he spent his days, but his nights were his own. Many generations had lived at the bottom of the bald cliff, but very few had felt the need to reach it's summit; there were fish to clean and nets to carry and there was nothing but bare rock and sand at the top of the cliff. But Pachi would bare the raw winds and sudden pitfalls on the path to the crest of the cliff that shadowed his little house night after night. He would sit with his legs dangling over the sharp drop of the craggy edge, his eyes gazing into the glittering sky. He would spend hours watching the night sky, exploring the sea of stars and his eyes never seemed to touch the same one twice. But he was especially enamored with the moon. Her graceful path through the stars was like the sailboats Pachi could see drifting in the sea as he stood on the shore. Sometimes, as if she knew of her admirer, she would float lower, just above his cliff and Pachi would study her glowing light until his eyes would be pulled shut be sleep.
It was one such night when Pachi was contemplating the liquid moonbeams as they lay over the rocky ground that he felt the cliff beneath him shudder like a great sleeping beast and a sound like thunder roll through the air. The moonbeams vanished like startled deer and the dark moved in to cover everything. It was as if an unseen hand had extinguished all the light in the sky and Pachi climbed warily to his feet, aware even in the blackness of the shattering drop on either side of him. He could still hear the distant roar from the sea below and he remembered his little house. He turned and shuffle footed away from the edge, back to the path, but stopped when he noticed a very faint glow several yards from him. Thinking it wiser to bring some light with him down the treacherous cliff side, he made his slow way towards it. As he came closer he realized that the light was spreading out like spilt milk from a trench cut into the cliff top the size and depth of his little cabin. When he stood at the edge he looked down into the hole with widened eyes. There, at the bottom of the crater where it had come to rest, was the moon.
As Pachi stood staring blankly, the weak light suddenly flared in an attempt to chase away the thick darkness but only pulsed like the tender heart of a bird fallen from her nest. Flinching, for he had expected the light to hurt as the soft radiance poured into his wide eyes, Pachi slid and stumbled his way into the gaping hole and stood looking at the moon as it lay in the dirt. He raised his eyes to the sky searching for the familiar presence, for surely he must have fallen asleep; but no, the black expanse looked empty and hollow and even the stars seemed sick and despondent without their mother's gentle light.
Turning back to the moon, Pachi tentatively reached out one calloused hand and laid it respectfully on the milky surface. He gasped at the strange warmth and pulsating vibrations emanating from it, this was the moon's heartbeat. Drawing a shaky breath, Pachi began to walk around the glowing sphere, examining every inch he could touch. But as he pulled his hand away to study another place on the surface, a thick, milky-clear strand of light clung to his fingers then dropped to the ground. Pachi stared, horrified as more and more of the moon started to melt and drip into the dirt where it would glow weakly before absorbing into the ground.
He took a step backwards and examined the moon, the pulsing hum was slowly dying and the sphere was shrinking as more and more of her light soaked into the ground. Before his mind could order, Pachi had his shoulder against the waxy surface and his heels were digging into the crumbling ground of the crater. Sweat began to pour over his brow and muscles far from their prime clenched and struggled to lift his burden up the shifting trench wall. But years spent hauling nets sagging with wriggling bodies had developed strength, if not a determination to overcoming impossible loads. After several labored moments that seemed like years and that had to be started over when he slipped, Pachi at last heaved the weight over the lip of the basin.
He laid face first and gasping into the dirt alongside the moon, rolling one eye warily to gaze upon the dying globe. She was now the size of the cart Pachi used to take his fish to the market in. Resolutely, he picked himself up and once again put his shoulder under the moon and began pushing and rolling it toward the cliff edge. Pachi strained and grunted with all his might and it felt like she grew heavier despite her diminishing size; but every time he caught sight of the cold dark sky, his efforts were renewed.
When at last he reached the very end of the earth beneath him, he stopped and peered over the edge. Far below, the grey waters thrashed and boiled; the waves leaped like ravenous dogs after wounded prey. Where did he take the moon now, there was no way he could lift her into the sky, it had almost taken all his strength to get her this far. What did he think he could do now? But standing behind the moon, both hands braced against her weight, Pachi was aware of the growing coldness seeping into the surface, of the quiet heartbeat which was weaker than before. It pulsed slower and slower and slower and after one last breath, Pachi closed his eyes and pushed with all his might.
The moon left the cliff and hung in the air for a few breathless seconds before Pachi realized that her warm radiance was still washing his face. He opened his eyes to see that she was floating in the air just an arms distance away and not plunging into the sea to be swallowed whole. She seemed to be waiting for something so Pachi reached out his hand, a ripple of warmth move up his arm and into his body from where his fingers met the surface. Along with the warmth came a voice, which spoke in his heart without words. It was the moon and she was singing to him. She showed him all the wonders of her home in return for his help when she had lost her way. Offering him a place in her heart, to sail through the waters of the night and leave his little house behind. This was a frightening thing, to give up his familiar life by the sea and he hesitated. But the moon's pull was stronger, and like the tide, he relented to her feeling his feet let go of the earth. The moon's song became stronger and Pachi closed his eyes as he was pulled into the sky; into her heart where he curled like a child in the womb. Then the moon grew fat and heavy as the warmth gently dissolved the fisherman into herself. Shining brightly, the moon returned to her place in the night sky, stars brightening in welcome. Alone on the shore, the little house became old and rotted and was eventually washed away by the sea. But some nights, when the sky is darkest as the moon hangs just above the waters near the bald cliff, moonbeams as delicate as fishing line are cast into the sea; a face can be seen gazing at it's reflection in the waves and the iron colored fish glint silver in the moonlight.