Godmama Says…
a buncha stuff.

the Tiger and the Butterfly

I wrote this story when I was 16.

Two decades have passed since then (oof!) and it is still one of my favorite things I have written.

Reminds me of when I was all young and sweet and starry eyed and fairy tale hearted–

not that I’m not all those things still….

One day I will get it vibrantly illustrated  and publish the thing.

For now, it is a nice lullaby intro to my blog-thingie, and to me.



Once upon a time there was a fierce fire-eyed Tiger who lived alone
in a dark, forbidden forest.
Because he lived alone he was king of his land.
No one dared go near him, as he was known to be the most
vicious and violent killer anywhere.
It was said that he destroyed all those whom he confronted,
but he never once tasted blood:
his victims would burn to ashes in their own fear as he lunged mercilessly toward and then through them.

Once upon the same time, right at the edge of the tigers dark forest, a wonderful field alive with every color of every flower imaginable
flowed over the earth and into the distance so far that
one could not see where it ended, if it did,
but it appeared to dissolve into the sky, led by rainbows.
This mystical spread of land was home to a single butterfly
the most beautiful creature ever to rise from a cocoon, she was.

She toiled endlessly and tirelessly to keep her garden alive,

For everywhere that she would fly
To touch the earth and then the sky
A flower would bloom;

and she was the only one who dared to make her home
so very close to the Tiger.

One particularly peaceful night the Tiger silently prowled
through the trees closer to the Butterfly’s garden,
drawn by the sweetness of the air around it.
Turning his eyes toward the sky, he saw the delicate creature
flitting and twirling gracefully on the wind.
Her eyes sparkled like the stars, her wings reflected the iridescent
warmth of the moonlight; her mind was on her task.
This was a sight to be relished and indeed the thoughtful beast did so, but he wondered aloud what sort of business a butterfly would tend to with
such a dedicated performance so long after dark.

The butterfly looked up from her work.
“Say that again?” she said to the source of the voice
which had caused her flowers to tremble so.

Now the Tiger was a bit taken that she had heard him thinking,
as he was so distracted that he hadnt noticed he had spoken out loud;
however, he simply raised his voice and repeated himself.
“I said,” he growled, the ground beneath him shaking,
“what is it that a butterfly does at night?”
The question was stated as if it were a fatal riddle of some sort, but since she was a butterfly she would, of course know the answer.
“At night,” she said, with something of a giggle in her voice,
“I grow the violets and the black orchids and such.”
-and with that she went on with her work.

The Tiger seemed content enough with this, but now he was curious
(as any cat would be) to hear more from her.
He blinked his piercing red eyes and inched closer to get a better look
at the airborne gardener with its glorious wings.
After a short time, he spoke again.

“I have another question to ask of you Lady Butterfly, if you do not mind.”
“Ask it,” she smiled.
“Why are you not afraid of me?” he breathed,
staring his usually hypnotic stare at the flighty insect.
“Do you not think that I could, if I pleased, destroy you?”

“No, Dear Tiger, I do not,” she answered easily….
then she did a most curious thing:
she flew directly at the Tiger’s face and perched herself with
comfortable affection on the tip of his nose.
“You see,” she continued, “my soul – my being – is of the Wind…
and yours is of Fire; even fire will not – cannot- destroy the wind.
Wind feeds fire so that it can burn with more brilliance and power.
And as you know, my friend, everything that you ‘destroy’ leaves room for more of my flowers and rainbows and beautiful things.”

She wiggled her antennae and grinned at him. “Besides,” she said,
“I have wings which could carry me high above any cloud before you could raise a mighty paw to touch me!”
Then she laughed sweetly and was off again, tending to her night blossoms.

The Tiger watched her moonlit dance for a moment
in what was most likely admiration.
“You are very beautiful,” he said to her,
and then he turned to go back into the forest.

…and as the story goes, you may find the Tiger’s den
in the forest near a bed of fine black orchids…
and of course, tiger lilies.

only illustration I have managed to come up with for this piece in 2 decades


6 Responses to “the Tiger and the Butterfly”

  1. I like this very much.

  2. Maya, I LOVE this. You are so poetic, so insightful. Even when you were too young to be so wise. Give us more of your magical writings, musings.

  3. Very Pretty. the imagery was awesome.

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