The Legend of the Firefly - Why Do Fireflies Glow?
What could be more interesting when it comes to 'bug life' talk? Fireflies seem to always capture the interest of anyone. What's more interesting to know about them is that, they carry their own light and seeing a group of fireflies during the night is such a wonderful and magical experience.
There's also a Philippine belief that goes like, a group of fireflies fleeting at night on a tree could mean that the tree is enchanted or there is an entity residing in the tree. And it seems like it's just few days ago when I saw a lot of fireflies lightning a banyan tree that night while I was on a bus ride going home from my evening class in college. The sight was just something I enjoyed and won't forget.
But have you ever thought that of all bugs, why do fireflies lit up only at night? Why not a ladybug? I know of a legend that might just have the answer about the magic of the fireflies.
A long time ago, there was a handsome, well-built young man who is dreaming of marrying the most beautiful maiden he could lay his eyes on. He was boastful and arrogant thou.
He makes the ladies feel sorry for themselves at times being so boastful and arrogant. He would even criticize them up front without considering their feelings hearing what he has about to say.
He was on his way going up to the mountain one day to get some rattans when he came across a lovely maiden wearing the whitest dress, as bright as the rays of the sun. For him, she was the most beautiful maiden he had ever seen.
"She's so beautiful," he thought to himself as he continuously approach her. The maiden suddenly disappeared when he's getting close to her. She just vanished in an instant.
He went and searched the whole forest just to find her but to no avail. He's all out of luck, and he's so tired from all the searching that he did to find the lovely maiden. For all the time he had spent and the hardship he had endured looking for her without succeeding, he got mad and screamed:
" You're not really beautiful! Did you hear me? You have a flat nose, you're a cross-eyed and you have the biggest ears I've ever seen."
He then lied down under the shade of a tall, big tree and had fallen asleep as he was so exhausted. And guess what he saw when he woke up? The most beautiful maiden he spotted earlier who suddenly disappeared. The one he spent time on looking around and can't find. She is just so beautiful, he knew that. And all the bad things he had said when he got mad was all untrue.
"You just insulted me a while ago. So from now on, you are going to be a bug!" she said.
"For your form to come back, you have to show me a maiden that will surpass my beauty. Leave and find the lady I was talking about so you can get your old form back," the woodland fairy who disguised herself as a maiden instructed him.
Now being a bug, he fly near and far to find the maiden much prettier than the fairy. Day and night the young man turned into a bug went on search hoping to find a mortal that will surpass the loveliness of the woodland fairy who cursed him to teach him a lesson. On his search, he brought a light with him to help in his search during nighttime.
He became the only bug who has a flickering light, desperately in search of the mortal maiden that will be the key for his human form to come back.
He is still in search until now and the reason why fireflies llights up only at night. In time these lightning bug is what we now know as "alitaptap." The Filipino word for firefly.
Explore with Your Imagination with a Filipino Book of Myths, Legends and Folklore
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