Short, scary ghost stories

short, scary Ghost Stories home | Japanese Ghost Stories | Classic Ghost Stories

WANTED short, scary ghost stories - fiction or factual - for publication on this site.If published, we will be happy to list author's biographical details and a link back to your Web site.Copyright will remain with authors. Send submissions/outlines to abracad.

page 3 of 5 | page 4 | page 1 | table of contents


KWAIDAN: Stories and Studies of Strange Things (Lafcadio Hearn) online

Kwaidan: Ghost Stories and Strange Tales of Old Japan


[How the butterfly strives to compete in lightness with the falling flowers! [8]]

Chocho ya!
Onna no michi no
Ato ya saki!

[See that butterfly on the woman's path,-- now fluttering behind her, now before!]

Chocho ya!
Hana-nusubito wo

[Ha! the butterfly! -- it is following the person who stole the flowers!]

Aki no cho
Tomo nakereba ya;
Hito ni tsuku

[Poor autumn butterfly!-- when left without a comrade (of its own race), it follows after man (or "a person")!]

Owarete mo,
Isoganu furi no
Chocho kana!

[Ah, the butterfly! Even when chased, it never has the air of being in a hurry.]

Cho wa mina
Jiu-shichi-hachi no
Sugata kana!

[As for butterflies, they all have the appearance of being about seventeen or eighteen years old.[9]]

Cho tobu ya --
Kono yo no urami
Naki yo ni!

[How the butterfly sports,-- just as if there were no enmity (or "envy") in this world!]

Cho tobu ya,
Kono yo ni nozomi
Nai yo ni!

[Ah, the butterfly! -- it sports about as if it had nothing more to desire in this present state of existence.]

Nami no hana ni
Tomari kanetaru,
Kocho kana!

[Having found it difficult indeed to perch upon the (foam-) blossoms of the waves,-- alas for the butterfly!]

Mutsumashi ya! --
Nobe no cho. [10]

[If (in our next existence) we be born into the state of butterflies upon the moor, then perchance we may be happy together!]

Nadeshiko ni
Chocho shiroshi --
Tare no kon? [11]

[On the pink-flower there is a white butterfly: whose spirit, I wonder?]

Ichi-nichi no
Tsuma to miekeri --
Cho futatsu.

[The one-day wife has at last appeared -- a pair of butterflies!]

Kite wa mau,
Futari shidzuka no
Kocho kana!

[Approaching they dance; but when the two meet at last they are very quiet, the butterflies!]

Cho wo ou

[Would that I might always have the heart (desire) of chasing butterflies![12]]

* * *

Besides these specimens of poetry about butterflies, I have one queer example to offer of Japanese prose literature on the same topic. The original, of which I have attempted only a free translation, can be found in the curious old book Mushi-Isame ("Insect-Admonitions"); and it assumes the form of a discourse to a butterfly. But it is really a didactic allegory,-- suggesting the moral significance of a social rise and fall:--

"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. Soshu 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. [13]

Notes | Next