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The Legend of the First Butterfly

Precy enjoys sharing Filipino legends. She also helps in learning to speak & appreciate the Filipino language & Ilocano through writing.

What's the legend of the first butterfly?

What's the legend of the first butterfly?

Aren't butterflies beautiful? They sure are.

These day-flying insects which feed primarily on nectar comes in different colors. These creatures make gardens lovelier and you know what? They are loved by gardeners and because of that, there are some that does butterfly gardening.

Butterflies are indeed fascinating. Not only they do their fair share as pollinators but these insects are often associated as well with symbolic meanings. They are wonders of nature in their own way. But they too must have started somewhere. So where did butterflies come from?

There is an interesting Philippine legend that could have the answer for the curious minds asking where the first butterfly came from but before I go on with the legend, it is worth to share that butterfly is called paru-paro in Filipino which is the Philippine's national language. It might also have a bit of difference on the spelling as others spell it with the letter o - paro paro.

A nipa hut on the foot of the hills.

A nipa hut on the foot of the hills.

The legend of the first butterfly goes like this

There was a couple who used to live in a nipa hut in a rural area which is on the foot of the hills in the province of Albay. The wife was currently pregnant at that time. It was a peaceful place. The nipa hut was made of bamboo and of cogon grass. The couple planted vegetables and flowers and that's how they earn their living.

Soon, the wife gave birth to two beautiful baby girls. They named them Amparo and Rosalina. The birth of the twins was such a joy but the mother died from giving birth. However, the three, the father and the twins continued their lives.

The two young kids were playful and energetic. They were very helpful as they always help their fatheron tending the crops and harvesting those that are ready to be sold on the market. Amparo was known as Paro and the younger one, Rosalina, was nicknamed Rosa.

But tragedy doesn't end on their mother's death. Soon, their father died too from an illness when the twins were already 12 year olds, leaving the twins to live on their own in their hut on the foot of the hill. Paro and Rosa learned to cope on their own continuing what their father had started doing as source of living. Their father planted fruit bearing trees, vegetables and flowers. So Rosa and Paro started doing just the same, they planted all kinds of vegetables and flowers on the land while tending on the fruit bearing trees their father had left. After picking up fruits, vegetables and flowers, the twins would sell all these together on the market. They could even reach every homes on their area and in the neighboring island just to sell.

Every morning, Rosa does all the house works and the watering, picking and selling of the crops she picked.

Every morning, Rosa does all the house works and the watering, picking and selling of the crops she picked.

But as months went by

Amparo's attitude has changed noticeably. Paro was always with Rosa before, unlike now, she's been lazy and hotheaded. She doesn't help Rosa anymore. And she won't even do house chores. Paro would just let Rosa do the watering and pulling off weeds in the garden. Cooking, dish washing and house cleaning annoys her. Rosalina DOES everything.

"Could you hurry it up Rosa?!" Paro, irritated, would yell to Rosa when Rosa was slow. That is mostly when Paro was hungry.

"I don't like this! Isn't there something else to eat?" Paro would angrily stomped her feet if she doesn't like the served food on the table.

It even makes her mad if the food was tasteless and she would just go back to sleep. This worries Rosa so much. Paro would spend the whole day smelling flowers in the garden.

The following day before the sun's up, Rosa was already in the farm watering flowers and picking up vegetables that she would sell in the market. But Rosa only got a little, maybe the crops are already old that they won't bear much for her to sell.

However, Rosa still went to the market to sell her crops. And she used the money she earned to buy rice and jerked fish. And guess what she found out when she got back home? Yes. The still sleeping Paro.

The two had a discussion

And Paro hurriedly went out the hut. She went to the garden first, picked one rose before heading to the river bank.

These made Rosa so sad. Teary-eyed, she knelt in front of the altar. She also saw the scattered rice and jerked fish on the floor. She wished to God that her twin's attitude would change.

Paro, on the other hand, was so entertained looking at her reflection on the river's clear water. By that time, the worried Rosa was already on her way. She decided to follow her twin sister to see how and what she was doing.

"Paro! Paro!" she called out to her. "Where are you Paro?" But Amparo didn't show up and she had never been seen.

While the people are observing and waiting

for Paro's body to show up or float on the river as everybody were thinking she was alrady gone, the people noticed a flower bud just about to open. They all watch this flower's slow movement, opening its petals for the world to see.

To the flower's core was like a set of wings, with different colors. And to their surprise, a thing emerged from it. It flits and floats in air for a while before it took off. Rosalina and the neighbors followed the strange thing they hadn't seen before as it heads to the garden, perching on each and one of the flowers, smelling each one.

Rosa's heart raced and out of herself she had exclaimed, "Paro! Paro!"

The graceful and colorful new creature in the garden was soon called "paro paro" by the people. The flower lover insect. The first butterfly.

And so she became the first butterfly.

And so she became the first butterfly.

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