This is a very old Japanese folk tale. This version is from F. Hadland Davis, Myths and Legends of Japan, London: G. G. Harrap and Company, 1913.


A young man of Matsue was returning home from a wedding party when he saw, just in front of his house, a firefly. He paused a moment, surprised to see such an insect on a cold winter's night with snow on the ground. While he stood and meditated, the firefly flew toward him, and the young man struck at it with his stick, but the insect flew away and entered the garden adjoining his own.

The next day he called at his neighbor's house, and was about to relate the experience of the previous night when the eldest daughter of the family entered the room, and exclaimed, "I had no idea you were here, and yet a moment ago you were in my mind. Last night I dreamt that I became a firefly. It was all very real and very beautiful, and while I was darting hither and thither I saw you, and flew toward you, intending to tell you that I had learnt to fly, but you thrust me aside with your stick, and the incident still frightens me."

The young man, having heard these words from the lips of his betrothed, held his peace.

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