Long ago, there were two Caterpillar people who loved each other very much. But one day the Caterpillar Man died, and this broke the heart of his widow. The Caterpillar Woman didn’t want to be around anyone; didn’t want to talk to anyone—she wrapped her sorrow around her like a shawl. She walked, and all the time she walked she was crying.
For a whole year she walked, and because the world is a circle, she returned to where she had started. The Creator took pity on her, and told her, “You’ve suffered too long. Now’s the time to step into a new world of color, a new world of beauty.” The Creator clapped hands twice, and she burst forth as the butterfly. And this is why for many communities, the butterfly is a symbol of renewal—that relief can come at the end of suffering.
(Traditional Warm Springs Story)