Volcanic Blues: or, How the Butterfly Tamed the Volcano

Robert Michael Pyle

An old tale from somewhere around the Pacific Rim of Fire relates how a village was threatened by a fierce volcano. The People importuned the volcano spirit, but she only puffed more steam and ash at them. Eagle and Raven also appealed to the volcano to spare the village and the forest, but the volcano rebuffed them too. They flapped raggedly back down the mountain, singed and covered with ash, and shrugged. Finally, a mere butterfly fluttered up the long steep slopes to the volcano’s crater and deliver ed her own petition in her tiny voice. This time the volcano heard, and giving Butterfly time to get out of the way first, she promptly erupted. She spared the village, but leveled about half of the forest. Butterfly was happy, for she knew that without a good eruption now and then to clear the deep, dark forest, the meadows and sunny slopes that her kind needed would cease to exist. Eagle and Raven and People had only asked for safety; Butterfly had asked for renewal.

    Or if there is no such tale, there ought to be

From In the Blast Zone, page 28. (OSU Press, 2008)

Full Publication from Oregon State University Press