by Jeva Lange
“During the recent mild weather butterflies are reported as having been seen on the wing in various parts of England; and doubtless as many of them as possible were killed. It is a common rustic superstition that to fail to kill the first butterfly one sees abroad in spring is to earn bad luck for the year; and, like most such superstitions, it is based on misunderstanding. It is reasonable to kill queen wasps in the spring, if it happens that you do not like wasps. From an economic point of view it is at least arguable whether the wasp does not do more good to the agriculturist than harm; but it would be idle to pretend that wasps are popular and, to speak generally, it may be said that every queen wasp which lives through the spring means a nest of wasps later in the year. It is doubtless on the same principle that the countryman kills early butterflies. Inasmuch as caterpillars eat cabbages and caterpillars are undoubtedly the children of butterflies, the more butterflies which go unkilled, he argues, the fewer cabbages. Unfortunately the earliest butterflies of the year are not of the kind the caterpillars of which are cabbage-eaters.”
–The Times of London, February 5, 1914.
Butterfly by Natalie Sayin