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How did the moon=green cheese myth start?

Dear Cecil:

How did the myth about the moon being made out of cheese start?

Yoshi1009, via AOL

Cecil replies:

That’s the problem with being a smartass. You unload some priceless bon mot and 400
years later, out of context, you sound like an idiot. Here’s an early green cheese
citation from John Heywood’s Proverbes (1546): "The moon is made of a
greene
cheese," greene meaning new, unaged. One can find similar quotes in the
works of Francois Rabelais and Thomas More. I’m hearing sarcasm here, but in that era
before one can’t be sure. Other citations are clearer: "You may as soon persuade
some Country Peasants, that the Moon is made of Green Cheese (as we say) as that ’tis
bigger than his Cart-wheel" (Wilkins, New World 1, 1638), the implication
being that Luna’s non-cheesiosity was not a matter regarding which even the rustics were
in doubt.

Cecil Adams

Send questions to Cecil via cecil@straightdope.com.