《蛙文》/ Frogscript 6 • 郭少鳳 Evette Kwok

Japanese Frog for Frogscript_Thumbnail_2 FEB 2018

Please scroll down for the English translation!

《蛙文:蝴蝶》

郭少鳳著

我對蝴蝶真係又愛又恨:每次行山都好大機會遇到佢哋,佢哋一啲都唔怕羞,總會出嚟打個招呼,有時會單獨赴約,有時會一雙一雙咁出現,有時甚至成群結隊喺一樖開緊花嘅植物上聚餐,見到咁嘅情景真係愛死佢哋。

但當我拎起部相機想同蝴蝶們影返張沙龍靚相時,佢哋總係企唔定,明明喺度採緊花蜜,但我一行到適合拍攝嘅距離,佢就會飛走,仲要喺我面前飛嚟飛去,又唔會飛到好遠,然後又停低再採花蜜,我跟住過去,但佢一見到我,又再飛走,唔知佢係特登整蠱我,定係想同我玩伏匿匿呢。有啲蝴蝶雖然會停下來採蜜,但又不停咁拍翼,總之好唔容易先會影到張靚相。不過有時我都會諗,我食緊飯嘅時候,都唔想俾人騷擾嘅。

其實細細個嘅時候對蝴蝶冇咩好感:老師教我哋蜜蜂係勤力嘅昆蟲,每天工作採花蜜,儲有足夠糧食可以渡過嚴寒嘅冬天;蝴蝶就啱啱相反,每日顧住扮靚、玩樂、唔願工作,到咗冬天佢哋就餓死嗮。雖然老師教識咗我哋勤力嘅重要性,但可憐嘅蝴蝶就俾我誤會咗咁多年,對唔住呀!

原來蝴蝶本來嘅壽命就唔長,視乎唔同嘅物種,長則幾個月,短則只有兩個星期,想想動物得短短兩個星期嘅壽命,佢哋會做咩?!蝴蝶就選擇履行天職,繁殖下一代。所以我哋好多時會以為蝴蝶只顧玩耍,互相追逐,其實佢哋嘅目的係求偶和交配。

唔知點解,蝴蝶俾我嘅感覺就係高傲嘅美女,佢哋花枝招展,擁有修長嘅身體,再配上美麗嘅翅膀。但同時又覺得佢哋係比較柔弱嘅生物,可能有太多天敵啩,包括青蛙丶蜥蜴、蛛蛛同埋螳螂,真係數極都數唔完,蝴蝶應該係食物鏈中最底層嘅生物。

生活喺最底層,蝴蝶要有保護自己嘅方法,有啲有保護色,成塊枯葉咁,避開天敵嘅視線;有啲鐘意扮嘢或者喬裝,佢哋嘅翅膀會有大眼睛嘅圖案,讓天敵以為係佢哋係較大型嘅動物而唔敢走近。

我屋企露台種著一樖小小嘅檸檬樹,記得有一次幫佢淋水時,喺葉面見到好多雀仔嘅便便,諗住用水沖走佢哋,但冲唔走,再望真啲,原來唔係鳥糞,係一條條嘅蟲蟲 — 蝴蝶嘅幼蟲,見到咁特別,即刻上網揾資料,原來係一種鳳蝶嘅幼蟲,扮成便便,避開敵人嘅目光,真聰明。同時心諗:蝴蝶果然係完全變態嘅動物,好難想像咁肉酸嘅蟲蟲,會化成蛹,再搖身一變,變成一隻姿態優雅嘅蝴蝶!

蝴蝶嘅幼蟲其實都幾揀飲擇食,如果植物唔啱佢哋嘅胃口,佢哋寧願餓死都唔食,佢哋只係會食所謂嘅寄主植物,所以蝴蝶都好聰明咁喺寄主植物產卵,好讓佢哋一出世就有嘢食。

西方人有羅蜜歐與朱麗葉,我地中國都有梁山伯與祝英台嘅故事,兩者都係喺當時社會制度下嘅犠牲品,為愛殉情嘅悲劇。但梁祝嘅故事多咗一份悽美感,梁祝二人死後,最終雙雙化成美麗嘅蝴蝶,在人間翩翩飛舞,從此蝴蝶係中國文化中或多或少都有渴求浪漫、追求自由嘅象徵。人嘅生命本來就同蝴蝶嘅壽命一樣咁有限,當我哋會問蝴蝶點樣過佢哋短短嘅生命時,我哋係咪都要問吓自己想點過呢!

Hong Kong Club Silverline Butterfly

Frogscript ● Butterflies

by Evette Kwok

I really love butterflies — and I hate them with a passion, too. Every time I go out hiking I get plenty of opportunities to cross paths with them and, not being in the least bit shy, they always come and say hello, sometimes just one keeping its appointment with me, sometimes a number of them, making their appearance one after the other, and sometimes a whole cloud of them will gather together for a meal on a flowering tree — at such times I really am so terribly fond of them.

Whenever I take out my camera, however, to take a beauty snap of my butterflies, they never stand still: there they are, clear as the nose on my face, collecting flower-nectar, but when I get close enough to be able to take a photo, they fly off, dancing back and forth right in front of me — not venturing too far away — before settling down again for some more nectar. Again, I go over to them, but as soon as they catch sight of me, off they flit again. Are they doing this on purpose just to tease me or do they want to play hide-and-seek with me? Some butterflies that keep fluttering their wings even when they settle to sip nectar, making it almost impossible to take a beautiful shot of them. But then sometimes it occurs to me that I wouldn’t like it much either if someone tried to take a photo of me while I was eating.

I had no special feelings about butterflies when I was small: our teachers taught us that bees were industrious insects, working every day to gather nectar so that they would have enough food to get through the Winter. Butterflies were quite the opposite, spending their days dressing up, fooling around, not bothering about work and, when Winter came, the lot of them all starved to death. Although our teachers had drummed into us the importance of industriousness, this left me with a misunderstanding of the poor old butterflies that lasted for many years.

Butterflies do not live very long lives. Depending on the species, some can live for several months, while others only survive for a couple of weeks. Imagine: what on earth would a creature do if it only lived for a mere two weeks? Butterflies choose to carry out their God-given duty and procreate. Most of the time, when we think that butterflies are just fooling around and chasing one another they are actually doing so in order to find a partner and to mate.

I’m not sure why, but butterflies give me the feeling that they are proud and beautiful women, dressed up in the most lovely clothes, possessors of tapering, slender bodies, and blessed with gorgeous wings as well. At the same time, however, I have the feeling they are rather weak creatures, with perhaps too many natural enemies, including frogs, lizards, spiders as well as praying mantises ― actually there are too many to count ― ad this fact probably puts butterflies right down the very bottom of the food-chain.

This being the case, butterflies have to have ways of protecting themselves. Some are camouflaged with protective colouring and look like dead leaves, thus enabling them to escape the notice of their predators. Some enjoy acting in dramatic ways or disguising themselves, with large eye-spots on their wings that fool their enemies into thinking that they are larger animals not to be approached.

On my balcony I keep a small lemon tree. Once, when I was watering it I remember seeing bird-droppings on many of the leaves and I tried to wash them away with water, but without success. When I looked a bit more closely, I realized that they were caterpillars ― butterfly caterpillars ― and since they looked so distinctive, I looked them up on the internet and found that they were the caterpillars of a kind of swallowtail butterfly that disguised themselves as bird-droppings to escape the notice of their enemies. How smart is that?! At the same time it occurred to me that butterflies were certainly perverse creatures, and that it was hard to imagine that such ugly grubs could become chrysalises, then change their identities again and transform into elegant butterflies!

Butterfly caterpillars are actually very fussy in their eating habits and if a plant doesn’t happen to suit their tastes, they prefer to starve to death rather than eat it. They are only able to eat [the leaves] of their host plant and it is for this reason that butterflies lay their eggs on such plants so that their larvae will have something to eat as soon as they hatch out.

In the West, they have Romeo and Juliet, while here in China we have the story of Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai. Both are tales of sacrifice caused by the social structures of their day, tragedies of death for love. But an extra layer of desolate beauty is added to the story of Liang and Zhu when, after their deaths, they are eventually turned into beautiful butterflies that flit and float in the realm of human beings, and from this point on butterflies to a greater or lesser extent become symbols in Chinese culture of the desire for romance and the quest for freedom. Human life is ultimately limited like that of butterflies, and when we ask how butterflies spend their short lives we are also asking ourselves what we should do with our time on earth.

Translated by Simon Patton

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s