A long time ago (not later than the early Nineties) I read a novel or a short story that I'd wish to read again but haven't been able to find so far.
It's science fiction, probably written in the Sixties, and it featured peaceful aliens on their planet: human researchers on that planet were interacting with them and trying to understand their society.
Sadly I only remember one thing about the plot: the aliens had an insect-like life cycle and at one point they went into a metamorphosis, at whose end they were turned into a mindless, thoughtless butterfly or moth-like creature for a short while, just before dying.
And they spent their whole lives in expectation for this short moment of utter joy.
But the human protagonist unwillingly caused an incident where one of these aliens was crippled somehow: a consequence of the crippling was it prevented the alien from reaching the metamorphosis, hence it was robbed of the very goal of its existence.
Sadly I have no clue who the author was, when it was published or what else the plot was about.