モラエス ガ ミタ ホタル
The Firefly Which Wenceslau De Moraes Saw
old children's song
“Será Ó-Yoné... Será Ko-Haru?...”
Wenceslau de Moraes
A Portuguese writer, Wenceslau de Moraes (1854-1929), who lived in Tokushima 1913-1929, wrote the essay “Será Ó-Yoné... Será Ko-Haru?...” in June, 1918. In this essay there is a scene in which Moraes heard some children singing an old song of firefly-catching popular among people here in Tokushima in those days. He heard and wrote down the word “tané-mushi” in the song, and he seemed to have thought this word meant a firefly. However, it must have been his misunderstanding of “ta-no-mushi” which is found in an old children’s song handed down in Tokushima district. The word “ta-no-mushi” means an insect of a rice field, indicating a kind of firefly, Luciola lateralis. In the essay, Moraes wrote that just after hearing the children’s song, he saw a firefly in front of his house that was located near Mt. Bizan, and the firefly helped him find the keyhole to open the door of his house by its illumination.
Today four species of firefly are found to live in Mt. Bizan: Luciola cruciata, L. lateralis, Lucidina biplagiata and Pyrocoelia disciollis. According to the interviews with some of the elder people in this area, and taking into consideration of the habits of the four firefly species, L. cruciata seems to be the most probable species which Moraes saw in the essay.
LID201312022002.pdf 653 KB