The Butterfly

The Butterfly

“Just living is not enough,” said the butterfly, “one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.”

Hans Christian Andersen

Isn’t that a lovely quote? Don’t we all wish to have more in life? Just living is not enough. We want sunshine and warmth, freedom to do what we want and when we want it. And who doesn’t want a flower? I love flowers. They are beautiful. Often I find that one little flower can be more beautiful than a whole bouquet.

As I am a curious person, and not a native English speaker, I often will do some research on the quote provided and the person quoted. I read the quote in German and some background on the quote and the person.

I did the same this time. Hans Christian Andersen isn’t unknown to me. There are several stories and fairy tales written by him that I’m familiar with. “The Princess and the Pea”, “The Little Mermaid”, “The Little Match Girl”, just to name a few. Many of those stories don’t necessarily have a happy ending.

But I had never read “The Butterfly”, so that’s what I did. And it was not what I expected. But I can so very much relate.

Looking around, looking for that special something or someone. And the moment one believes to have found just the thing, something new comes along and makes us question everything.

I will just mention that the butterfly seems to be a bit superficial for my taste, but that is beside the point I want to write about.

Never settling, always wondering what might be out there, is hard. How should one know? Is it better the settle and then realise that it was the wrong choice? Or maybe it’s better to only realise what one could’ve had, when it’s too late.

The Butterfly realises in the end that being alive is not enough.

For me, while I don’t find the butterfly very likeable, I think there’s an important lesson for us to learn. There are so many more things we need as well, just like the quote says. But most of all, it’s important to have someone to share the freedom and the sunshine with. Friends, family, partners.

Have you read “The Butterfly” by Hans Christian Andersen? If you haven’t, here’s a link.

Want to think what others think about that quote?


  1. Thanks for this… I hadn’t thought to approach the quote in this way… I am off to read the story- I have always loved Hans Christian Anderson’s stories…

    I agree wholeheartedly with this, “it’s important to have someone to share the freedom and the sunshine with.” I always need a tribe or community around me!

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