Page:Kwaidan; Stories and Studies of Strange Things - Hearn - 1904.djvu/207

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
BUTTERFLIES

I

Would that I could hope for the luck of that Chinese scholar known to Japanese literature as "Rōsan"! For he was beloved by two spirit-maidens, celestial sisters, who every ten days came to visit him and to tell him stories about butterflies. Now there are marvelous Chinese stories about butterflies—ghostly stories; and I want to know them. But never shall I be able to read Chinese, nor even Japanese; and the little Japanese poetry that I manage, with exceeding difficulty, to translate, contains so many allusions to Chinese stories of butterflies that I am tormented with the torment of Tantalus. … And, of course, no spirit-maidens will

181