Page:Kwaidan; Stories and Studies of Strange Things - Hearn - 1904.djvu/220

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" Now, under the sun of spring, the winds are gentle, and flowers pinkly bloom, and grasses are soft, and the hearts of people are glad. Butterflies everywhere flutter joyously: so many persons now compose Chinese verses and Japanese verses about butterflies.

" And this season, O Butterfly, is indeed the season of your bright prosperity: so comely you now are that in the whole world there is nothing more comely. For that reason all other insects admire and envy you;—there is not among them even one that does not envy you. Nor do insects alone regard you with envy: men also both envy and admire you. Sōshū of China, in a dream, assumed your shape;—Sakoku of Japan, after dying, took your form, and therein made ghostly apparition. Nor is the envy that you inspire shared only by insects and mankind: even things without soul change their form into yours;—witness the barley-grass, which turns into a butterfly.[1]

"And therefore you are lifted up with pride, and think to yourself: 'In all this world there is nothing superior to me!' Ah! I can very well guess what is in your heart: you are too much satisfied with your own person. That is why you let yourself be blown thus lightly about by every wind;—

  1. An old popular error,—probably imported from China.