Mim (stinksap) wrote in little_details,

ISO Author and title of butterfly perfume story.

I read this story a number of years ago and I hope someone will recall the source.

It was set in ancient Japan or China. A famous courtesan was admired by a nobleman with terrible B.O. He loved her, and wrote her poetry, but was too ashamed of his odor to approach her.

He heard about a perfume, distilled from a rare butterfly, that was so powerful that applying one drop would scent a person for the rest of their life.

Desperate with love, he spends his fortune to aquire the perfume and uses it. Alas, the courtesan is inexplicably terrified when he approaches- it seems she has an irrational fear of butterflies and the fragrance of the permanent perfume repels her utterly.

Does this sound familiar to anyone?
Is it a folk tale or modern short story?

ETA- I googled this every which way but all I come up with are 'Madame Butterfly' related pages and advertisements for butterfly perfume bottles.
Tags: japan: folklore, ~literature

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