Once upon a time, the Emperor of Heaven had a daughter. She was a beautiful princess. Her name was Orihime, which means “Weaver Princess”. Orihime was a good weaver. Every day, she went to the Amanogawa, (“Milky Way”), to make beautiful cloth for her father, which made him very happy. But she was lonely and very sad.
Then one day she met Hikoboshi who lived on the other side of the Amanogawa. He was a cowherd. Orihime and Hikoboshi fell in love at once, and got married. The two were so happy together that Orihime forgot to make cloth for her father, and Hikoboshi forgot to take care of his cows.
This made Orihime’s father very angry. He told them that they could never meet again, Orihime had to go back home. While she was rising up toward Heaven, she called out to Hikoboshi, "If you love me, weave a thousand pairs of straw sandals and bury them around the bamboo tree. If you do that, we'll be sure to see each other again. Please do this. I'll be waiting for you." Orihime rose up higher and higher and returned home to Heaven. The young man was very sad, but he knew what to do.
On the very next day he began making straw sandals. He continued weaving them day and night. At last he finally finished making his last pair and buried them all around the bamboo tree. Right away the bamboo tree began to get bigger and bigger, and it grew higher and higher into the sky. The young man immediately began climbing the tall bamboo tree. He climbed higher and higher until he was almost able to reach heaven.
The two of them were so happy to see each other once again. But Orihime's father was not happy that she had married a man from the world below. He separated them by a galaxy, a river from heaven, for eternity. In an instant the two were pulled apart from each other. The two lovers looking across the river at each other became the stars Altair and Vega.
But Orihime was so sad that her father was unhappy, too. So he allowed her and Hikoboshi to meet each other across the Amanogawa once a year. The day they meet is called Tanabata. To this day these two stars face each other across the Milky Way, shining brightly.