The White Butterfly

white butterfly

An old man named Takahama lived in a little house behind the cemetery of the temple of Sozanji. He was extremely friendly and generally liked by his neighbours, though most of them considered him a little mad. That was because he was very old but he did not want to get married.

He did not have the desire for intimate relationship with women.

One summer day he became very ill, so ill, in fact, that he sent for his sister-in-law and her son. They both came and did all they could to bring comfort during his last hours. While Takahama fell asleep, they watched a large white butterfl y  flew into the room and rested on the old man’s pillow. The young man tried to drive it away with a fan; but it came back three times, as if it was very loath to leave the sufferer.

At last Takahama’s nephew chased it out into the garden, through the gate, and into the cemetery beyond, where it lingered over a woman’s tomb, and then mysteriously disappeared. On examining the tomb the young man found the name “Akiko” written upon it, together with a description narrating how Akiko died when she was eighteen. Though the tomb was covered with moss and must have been erected fifty years previously, the boy saw that it was surrounded with fl owers, and that the little water tank had been recently filled.

When the young man returned to the house he found that Takahama had passed away,and he returned to his mother and told her what he had seen in the cemetery.

“Akiko?” murmured his mother. “When your uncle was young he was betrothed to Akiko.She died shortly before her wedding day. When Akiko left this world your uncle resolved never to marry, and to live ever near her grave. For all these years he has remained faithful to his vow, and kept in his heart all the sweet memories of his one and only love. Every day Takahama went to the cemetery, whether the air was fragrant with summer breeze or thick with falling snow. Every day he went to her grave and prayed for her happiness, swept the tomb and set _ owers there.When Takahama was dying, and he could no longer perform his loving task, Akiko came for him.That white butter_ y was her sweet and loving soul.

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Kupu Kupu putih

 

Seorang pria tua bernama Takahama tinggal di sebuah rumah kecil di belakang kompleks pekuburan Kuil Sozanji. Ia adalah seorang yang sangat ramah dan baik hati serta disenangi oleh tetangga-tetangganya, meskipun mereka menganggap Takahama sedikit gila. Sebenarnya, kegilaan yang dilabelkan pada Takahama ini sepenuhnya hanya dikarenakan ia tidak pernah menikah ataupun memiliki hasrat untuk menjalin hubungan asmara dengan wanita.

Pada suatu hari di musim panas, Takahama jatuh sakit, sakit yang parah, hingga ia meminta adik perempuan dan keponakannya untuk datang menjenguknya. Mereka datang dan berusaha menghibur Takahama di saat-saat terakhirnya. Selagi mereka menjaga Takahama, Takahama tertidur, dan tidak lama berselang datanglah seekor kupu-kupu putih terbang masuk dan hinggap di atas bantal yang ditiduri Takahama. Keponakannya mencoba mengusirnya dengan kipas; akan tetapi kupu-kupu tersebut terbang masuk lagi, sampai tiga kali, seakan enggan untuk meninggalkan pria tua yang sedang menderita tersebut.

Akhirnya keponakan Takahama mengusir dan mengejarnya keluar hingga ke pekarangan rumah, keluar lewat gerbang, sampai ke kompleks pekuburan, dimana akhirnya kupu-kupu tersebut hinggap di atas batu nisan kuburan, dan tiba-tiba menghilang. Setelah memeriksa batu nisan tersebut, keponakannya mendapati nama “Akiko” terukir pada nisan tersebut, serta deskripsi bagaimana Akiko meninggal ketika ia berusia 18 tahun. Walaupun batu nisan tersebut telah berselimutkan lumut dan pastinya telah didirikan 50 tahun yang lalu, keponakan Takahama melihat bahwa nisan tersebut dikelilingi dengan bunga-bunga, dan cawan kecil berisi air yang tampaknya belum begitu lama ini diisi.

Ketika keponakan tersebut kembali ke rumah, ia mendapati bahwa pamannya (Takahama) telah meninggal. Ia kemudian menceritakan kepada ibunya (adik perempuan Takahama) apa yang telah dilihatnya di kuburan.

“Akiko?” gumam ibunya. “Ketika pamanmu masih muda, ia ditunangkan dengan Akiko. Akan tetapi, Akiko sakit dan meninggal menjelang hari pernikahan mereka. Ketika Akiko meninggal, pamanmu bersumpah tidak akan pernah menikah, dan ia tinggal di dekat kuburannya. Tahun-tahun sesudahnya, pamanmu tetap setia terhadap sumpahnya, dan menyimpan di hatinya semua kenangan manis dari satu-satunya orang yang ia cintai. Setiap hari Takahama pergi ke kuburan, baik ketika semilir udara harum di musim panas maupun ketika salju tebal di musim dingin. Setiap hari ia pergi menjenguk kuburannya, berdoa untuk kebahagiaannya, membersihkan kuburan dan meletakkan bunga di sana. Ketika Takahama sekarat, ia tidak bisa lagi melakukan hal tersebut, Akiko datang untuknya. Kupu-kupu putih tersebut adalah jiwa Akiko yang lembut dan penuh kasih.”

dari buku “Myths and Legends of Japan”, Penerbit GG Harrap, London, 1913

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