Dedicated to the study of fairy tales and folktales of the world.

Fairy Tales Home

Norse-Franco-German Fairy Tales
Norse Franco German Fairies
Gernan Fairy Tales
Swedish Fairy Tales
Norwegian Fairy Tales

French Fairy Tales
& More tales

Celtic Fairy Tales
Celtic Fairies
Welsh Fairy Tales
Irish Fairy Tales
& More Tales

Fairy Blog
Fairy Songs
Origins of Europes Fairies
& More Fairy Articles

Finno-Baltic-Siberian Fairy Tales
Finno-Baltic-Siberian Fairies
Finnish Mythology
Estonian Mythology
Mari-el Fairy Tales
& More Tales

Greco-Roman Mythology
Greco-Roman Fairies
Greek Fairy Tales
Roman Mythology

Slavic Mythology
Slavic Fairies
Russian Fairy Tales
Polish Fairy Tales
& More Tales

Tales of Other Lands
Fairies of Other Lands
Japanese Fairy Tales
Chinese Folktales
& More Tales

Fairy Tales for Kids
Children's Dutch Fairy Tales
Fairy Tales Every Child Should Know

Fairy Tale Stories      Children's Fairy Tales      Fairies       Faery Woodlands Magazine      Blog     About
Japanese fairy tales    Oni     Tengu     Kitsune     Tanuki     Kami

Soul in the Form of a Butterfly

There stood a small house outside a little cemetery in one of the capital’s suburbs where an old man named Takahama lived. Because of his friendly nature all his neighbors loved him, though he still felt lonely. For any man who constantly performs Buddhist ceremonies should expect that he will marry and have posterity. But Takahama had lived alone in that house from the time he was a young man, for twenty years now for he refused to have any relationships with a woman.
One summer Takahama grew deathly ill and realized that the road of his life was coming to an end. So he sent for his only sister who was a widow and her son, a young man of twenty. They arrived in the hot afternoon and began to do everything possible to somehow ease the last days of the old man. Eventually Takahama fell asleep and a large butterfly flew in and sat patiently on his pillow. Takahama’s nephew used a fan to drive it away but it returned to the exact same place. Again and again Takahama’s nephew drove the butterfly back but again and again the butterfly returned. Growing angry the young man drove the butterfly into the garden and waving the fan drove the insect through the garden and through the open gates of the cemetery near the temple. Eventually the butterfly was driven to the depths of the graveyard before vanishing on a stone.
As the young man searched for the butterfly he noticed the tombstone the butterfly had vanished on had the name “Akiko,” carved into it and an inscription which made him aware that the 18 year old Akiko had died twenty years earlier. Still despite how long ago she’d died her stone was well maintained and had fresh flowers and a recently filled water vessel.
When the young man returned to Takahama’s home and inquired about his uncle he discovered that he’d died. As death crept across the mans face he smiled. The young man told him mother abut what he’d found in the cemetery.
“Oh,” the young man’s mother cried. “It must be the same Akiko!”
“But who is Akiko?” he asked her.
“When your uncle was young he was betrothed to a charming girl named Akiko, the daughter of one of our neighbors. But she died of breast cancer shortly before they were to be married. After she was buried your uncle swore never to marry or look at another women. Then he built a small house close to the cemetery so he could always be near her grave. All this happened some twenty years ago. And every day all these years your uncle visited the cemetery and prayed at her grave. And Akiko finally came for him, her soul in the form of a big white butterfly.