The butterfly and the lamp Tuesday June 14, 2005, 0 comments

Near sunset, a butterfly was happily flitting in the last rays of the sun before retiring for the evening when he spotted a pretty young butterfly behaving in a most peculiar matter. He watched as she would fly about a bright lantern until the candle inside would eventually dim, then frantically make a dash for the next brightest lantern. About this lantern she would loop and swoop till it in turn dimmed. She would repeat her unusual flight over and over. Intent on discovering the nature of her strange actions, he approached her.

“What are you doing?” he asked, still trying to puzzle out the strangeness of her actions. He was finding it difficult to keep up to her as she dashed madly toward the next bright light.

“Quicky! To the light! To the light!” she chortled as she approached the lamp and resumed her lazy looping about it.

He followed her, more puzzled than ever. “Buy why?” he ventured.

“I don’t know. I like the lights,” she answered, dodging the dull moths as they too circled the lamp, vying for proximity to its heat and glow.

Now the butterfly thought he understood. He admonished her. “I see. You are doing as the moths do. Flying from light to light, for no other reason than because it is light. You are smart and beautiful, and the moths are dull and stupid. Why would you act as them?”

“Because it seems such a simpler life than flitting from flower to flower trying to find nourishment. It is easy to see which lights offer warmth and comfort, while it is difficult to determine which flower hides something sweet!” she called back to him. She had spotted a light brighter than all the others, and was racing to get there before any of the moths.

The butterfly raced after her, amazed by her silliness. He was about to express his disapproval of her undignified behaviour when she reached the bright light and burst into flame, not having noticed in her haste that the flame of the lamp was unprotected. In a second there was nothing left of her, and the moths flitted around the open flame at a safe distance.

“It is a far better thing to live as yourself than to die pretending to be someone else. And the problem with burning out instead of fading away,” the butterfly mused sadly as he sought refuge for the evening, “is that you’ll not be around to wonder which is better.”


Commenting has ended for this post, but I'd still love to hear from you.

The website of Adrian Lebar

A Rain of Frogs is written, designed and built by Adrian Lebar, a twenty(!) year veteran of web design and development. He is currently managing web and mobile development teams at Canada’s largest and most beloved classifieds site, Kijiji!

He is a father, sailor, snowboarder, skier, cyclist, writer, artist, graphic designer, classically trained musician and afraid of heights.

Adrian is not currently available for freelance and contract work. Learn more.

There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.”
- Peter Drucker


  • @mrmatthogg You certainly want to work with him. Tuesday May 12, 2020
  • @mrmatthogg Lately you sound like me 3 years ago, failing agains the profligate use of users bandwidth and computin… Monday May 11, 2020
  • Do you remember when you joined Twitter? I do! #MyTwitterAnniversary Well, I didn’t, but twitter reminded me. Wednesday April 1, 2020
  • Weeks of coding will save you hours of planning. Thursday February 6, 2020
  • Hey @nationalpost your website is unreadable on mobile thanks to your slow loading, crufty page and your display ad… Wednesday January 29, 2020
  • Putting Devs Before Users: How Frameworks Destroyed Web Performance by @GamingReinvent Thursday January 2, 2020
  • There’s an important difference between an inexperienced developer and a bad developer. Tuesday December 3, 2019
  • This is utterly unacceptable, GO Transit. Should we expect an apology for the inconvenience, coupled with a statem… Thursday November 21, 2019