Page:Kwaidan; Stories and Studies of Strange Things - Hearn - 1904.djvu/211

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fly may be the soul of a dead person as well as of a living person. Indeed it is a custom of souls to take butterfly-shape in order to announce the fact of their final departure from the body; and for this reason any butterfly which enters a house ought to be kindly treated.

To this belief, and to queer fancies connected with it, there are many allusions in popular drama. For example, there is a well-known play called Tondé-déru-Kochō-no-Kanzashi; or, "The Flying Hairpin of Kochō." Kochō is a beautiful person who kills herself because of false accusations and cruel treatment. Her would-be avenger long seeks in vain for the author of the wrong. But at last the dead woman's hairpin turns into a butterfly, and serves as a guide to vengeance by hovering above the place where the villain is hiding.

—Of course those big paper butterflies (o-chō and mé-chō) which figure at weddings must not be thought of as having any ghostly signification. As emblems they only express the joy of loving union, and the hope that the newly married couple may pass through life together as a pair of butterflies flit lightly through some pleasant garden,—now hovering upward, now downward, but never widely separating.