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Sep 29 2010

The Miracle Butterfly!

I thought I saw a butterfly,
Of all unlikely things,
Pure white against the utter black
An angel’s fragile wings
It led me on to safety
Through the darkness of the mine—
A messenger from Heaven, it
Was God’s Own Holy Sign—
A tiny little butterfly
To show His Will Divine.

It fluttered in the mineshaft
A half a mile below,
Though how it could have gotten here
I think I’ll never know;
It must have been a messenger
Sent down by God above
As a physical reminder
Of the mercy of His love
While He chose, with His omnipotence,
To give the rocks a shove.

Though He could have stopped the rockfall
And could thus be held to blame
We will marvel at His mercy
And sing praises to His name.
Let our voices rise to Heaven;
Let a joyous noise resound!
Let us praise our God, almighty,
For the butterfly we found
In the middle of the chaos
Half a mile underground.

It must be boring. Boring, that is–boring a hole half a mile down to reach the trapped Chilean miners. So we get human interest stories, rather than “yup, the drill is still progressing.” The latest human interest story seems to have some people excited and others embarrassed–it is the story of “the miners and the butterfly“.

Copiapo, Chile (CNN) — In Chile’s dry Atacama desert, folklore mixes with superstition and superstition blends with religion.

Just like, oh, pretty much everywhere else.

The story has morphed with the retelling. The original, best as I can tell, was written by Jorge Galeguillos, one of the trapped miners:

“We had been up to the workshop and as we were driving back down, a slab of rock caved in just behind us. It crashed down only a few seconds after we drove past. Just ahead I saw a white butterfly,” Galeguillos wrote in the two-page letter to his brother Eleodoro, also a miner.
“After that, we were caught in an avalanche of dirt and dust. I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face. The tunnel was collapsing and the rocks buried a backhoe. A water tank lower down was almost completely buried too,” he continued.

By the time the story is told around firesides (the CNN reporter tells us), the butterfly was a guardian angel, bringing the miners to safety. In the comments to the CNN piece, we see that the miners stopped to watch the butterfly, and by doing so were saved from the collapse. Note that Galeguillos specifies that the cave-in was behind them, and the butterfly ahead, such that if they had stopped to watch, they’d have been crushed, but let’s not let that get in the way of a good story.

Details are irrelevant when it comes to miracles. And isn’t it miraculous that, as rock fell around them, eventually trapping them underground (where good planning of emergency shelters–not prayer–saved them), they saw… an insect?

4 comments

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  1. 1
    SUIRAUQA

    And a legend is thus born. Soon there would be paeans to be sung to St. Mari Posa, the patron saint/guardian angel of trapped miners…

  2. 2
    Cuttlefish

    Wonderful, Suirauqa!!I wish I'd thought of it-the title would then be "Ave Mari(pos)a". Damn!

  3. 3
    Emily

    Reminds me of Tom Lehrer, especially the end of the second verse.

  4. 4
    Cuttlefish

    Thank you, Emily, although I will never live up to that comparison!

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