Category Archives: Readers’ Stories

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An Unhappy Mason Jar Story

From a retired science teacher in St. Louis, Missouri:

Illustration by John Carrozza

When my mother was young, she slipped out one evening with her Mason jar to collect some fireflies. As she ran through the grass, she tripped and fell on a rock, and the jar shattered in her hands . A sharp glass shard sliced its way through her finger. Even though she eventually lost that finger, she never did lose the love she had for these silent sparks.  


A Very Lonely Firefly

Eric Carle 2From Jay, a software engineer in Bangalore:

Recently I was startled to find a lonely firefly wandering around my Bangalore apartment. My children had never seen a firefly! But I grew up in a town called Payangadi in Kerala, South India. In the 1980’s electricity was scarce and most nights we had no power. In my memory there used to be trees so brilliantly lit up with fireflies, they looked like Christmas trees. Mostly these fireflies appeared just after the rains, when the leaves were still moist. I’d sit and watch them through the window for hours.

LA Fireflies: Mythical or magical?

From Kevin, in Los Angeles:

Some 50 years ago in my childhood home (Mt. Prospect IL) some sort of research group offered a penny for every two fireflies us kids could collect. I’m sure we didn’t make a dent in the dense lightning bug population, but we tried. A candy bar was a nickel back then. It was the most lucrative romp imaginable.  Illustration by P.D. Eastman

Then 25 years later in Los Angeles, a good friend and native LAvian was reading a children’s book about fireflies to my kids. Afterward he said: “It’s a shame they are only a myth. It would be so magical!” It took some days and a visit to the library to convince him they were real after all. He was astonished.