Fire-Fly Lovers


0. General Information

Dear readers,

'The Fire-Fly's Lovers' by William Elliot Griffis was published in 1908. It contains a number of Japanese legendary stories, the main one being 'The Fire-Fly's Lovers' which is about the force of flames killing many potential suitors of a princess. .

This book has been digitalized and made available on The scanning process resulted in many strange characters, spelling errors, poor quality pictures, and other problems in the file. I have tried to correct as many errors as I could find, but you may still find other issues occasionally. I hope you'll accept the imperfections but still find value in reading this story.

The images on this website are taken from

K. C. Lee
Mobile Story Enthusiast

From Project Gutenberg: This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at

Princess Fire-Fly is put in prison.

To my classtnate
who in student days opened
for me the jewelled gates of

Open Sesame

IN the old feudal days of Japan, a knight or gentleman riding on horseback within city limits was always preceded by a groom, who ran ahead and shouted to the people to get out of the way, warning the children at play, lifting the babies out of danger, and thus making a clear track for the rider who followed him. His bare back was tattooed with wonderful figures of heroes, dragons and the many strange creatures that dwell in fairy-land. Indeed, when I lived in Japan I was first attracted into the wonder-world of the people by studying the legends and marvels thus pictured on human skin. Thence I went to the flower shows and tableaux, by which, in living blooms and ingeniously blended colors, the florists of Nippon set forth the national lore. My studies were more advanced and my delight greater when, in the art and language, new doors were opened into the treasure chambers of " The Country Between Heaven and Earth."

The stories in this little volume are the direct result of what I saw and studied through these inviting doors. Some were suggested by native custom, and artists' pictures, while others were spun from my own brain. But all of them, I feel sure, reflect the spirit of Old Japan. '' The Fire-Fly's Lovers," " The Child of the Thunder," '' Little Silver's Dream," '' Lord Cuttle-Fish's Concert," " Lord Long-Legs' Procession," and " The Gift of Gold Lacquer," exist in no Japanese text. They were suggested by what I saw of the lovely, the comic, or the pompous side of life in a Daimio's Castle. Several of the others have been adapted from native legends and operas. Such old friends as " The Tongue-Cut Sparrow," " The Ape and the Crab," " The Two Frogs," and " The Idol and the Whale," are partly folk-lore, and partly of definite authorship.

As for the Japanese names and phrases, I think you will have no trouble with them, if you will remember that a is pronounced as in father, ai as in aisle, e as in prey, ei as in weigh, o as in bore, and u as in rule, or as in boot. Thus, Fukui sounds as if spelled Foo-koo-ee, Benkei as Benkay, Rai as rye, etc.

So, " ide nasari " (please, honorable one, enter) as they say in Japan.

W. E. G.

Ithaca, N. Y., April, 1908.