A tale by Puccini
Cio-Cio-san was a beautiful girl. She lived in Hiroshima, Japan. There was a war between Japan and the U.S. One day, the war was over. Japan lost. Cio-Cio-san and her family were sad. Her father was an important official. To restore the family’s honor, Cio-Cio-San’s father offers his daughter to an American offical.
The American officer was named Captain Pinkerton. He was tall and handsome. Cio-Cio-San saw the handsome officer and she was smitten. When her father said, “My daughter, you are going to marry this American man,” she was happy.
But Captain Pinkerton was not happy with the marriage. “Marriage? I am not looking to get married,” said Pinkerton. Another American officer said, “Oh, it is a Japanese custom. It is not a serious marriage. Have some fun now, then in a few months, you can forget her and go back to America.”
Cio-Cio-San’s father presented her to Pinkerton. She was very beautiful. Curious, Pinkerton said, “What is your name?”
“Cio-Cio-san” said the beautiful girl. She understood some English. But Pinkerton didn’t speak Japanese, and he didn’t try. He said, “I can’t pronounce that! I will call you Madame Butterfly.”
Pinkerton was charmed by the beautiful girl. So he married Cio-Cio-San. All the while, he thought, “I will divorce her. This is not serious.”
But for Cio-Cio-San, it was serious. Quickly, she fell in love with Pinkerton. She loved her adorable name, “Madame Butterfly.”
In a few months, Cio-Cio-San got pregnant. She was excited to have a baby. But Pinkerton was not. He did not want to be married and he did not want a baby.
One day, Pinkerton disappeared. “Where is Pinkerton?” asked Cio-Cio-San. She was very sad to lose him. Her family told her that Pinkerton had to go back to America. Her father said sadly, “He had an order to go. But he will come back very soon.”
Months passed. Cio-Cio-San was so sad. She had lost the man she loved. Day after day, she looked over the water. She looked for his ship, with the red, white, and blue American flag. But the boat never arrived.
Cio-Cio-San was sad, and her only happiness came from her baby. It was a little boy. He had blue eyes like his father. For three years, Cio-Cio-San was alone, but she had her baby. She loved Pinkerton, but she loved her baby even more.
One day, Cio-Cio-San looked on the ocean. Finally, she saw Pinkerton’s ship. He returned to Japan. She cried for joy, “He has returned! My love came back for me!”
All night, she waited for Pinkerton to arrive at her house. She did not sleep; she did not eat. She closed her eyes and imagined Pinkerton.
The next day, Cio-Cio-San heard a man’s voice. It was Pinkerton! For one moment, Cio-Cio-San was so happy. Her husband had returned!
Pinkerton was talking and he said, “I don’t want the girl. I want the baby.”
“But she is your wife,” said Cio-Cio-San’s family.
“It was not a serious marriage. I have a new wife. Here, this is Kate. She is my real wife. She is American and we are going to bring my baby to America,” said Pinkerton.
Cio-Cio-San was behind the door. She head Pinkerton’s conversation. Pinkerton did not love her. He did not want her. He wanted to take her little boy!
Cio-Cio-San was devastated. She had not hope. Pinkerton was a very important man. He would take her baby boy.
So, Cio-Cio-San took action. She put on her wedding dress. She put rouge on her cheeks. She had never looked more beautiful. She put nice clothes on the baby.
She hugged the little boy. “Say hello to your father,” said Cio-Cio-San. “I love you. Goodbye.”
Then, she put a blindfold on the boy’s eyes. She took a long sword. The sword had the words: “If you cannot live with honor, die with honor.” The beautiful Cio-Cio-San took the sword and killed herself.