Ging-Gu the Firefly


There was a farmer named Huo-Wang, who lived in the Chihkan region of Tainan. His wife fell ill and passed away, leaving behind two young daughters. The older sister was Ging-Gu, and the younger sister was Ging-Jen.

One day, Huo-Wang went to the city to sell rice, leaving the two sisters at home. After dinner, the sisters sat at the door waiting for their father to come home. Ging-Jen held out her pinky and told her older sister, “Let's make a bet! If father doesn't come home tonight, I will move all of the rice into the barn tomorrow.” Ging-Gu replied, “You are still young, and too weak to move all the rice.” Ging-Jen said, “I will surely win! If you lose, you will move the rice into the barn tomorrow.” Ging-Gu had no choice but to make a bet with her sister.

Just then, their neighbor Uncle A-Mu came and told the sisters, “I have a message from your father. He says he hasn't finished selling his rice, and he won't be coming home tonight.” Ging-Jen was so angry at having lost the bet, she ran toward the city to look for her father. Ging-Gu chased after her little sister, but it was so dark, she soon lost sight of Ging-Jen. Ging-Gu kept calling, “Ging-Jen! Ging-Jen!” And searched for her sister along the narrow paddy embankments. Ging-Gu searched everywhere, but she couldn't find her sister. It was pitch dark all around her, and Ging-Gu was very frightened. She thought to herself, “If only I had a light to see with.” Suddenly, she lost her balance and fell into the water and drowned.

Even after she died, Ging-Gu still worried about her little sister. She turned into a swarm of glowing insects, and flew across fields and pastures, along the river, and into the woods, searching everywhere for her beloved sister. Villagers named the glowing insect “Fiery Ging-Gu”, which is another name for the firefly.