It was a book with a few different stories but I'm fairly certain it was the one author. One story in particular centered on a teenage boy who lived in the woods, or near a swamp, and collected moths and butterflies, to pin to a board. One day he found a particularly large moth and killed it and pinned it. That night moths started beating at his door and windows until eventually he was 'taken' outside. It ends with other people finding him in the woods, pinned to a tree.

I'm desperate to find this story or the book that included it. Any help would be so much appreciated.

  • I've been trying to find that book! That's the only story I remember. The book cover had a spider or something, I think.
    – user17761
    Commented Oct 4, 2013 at 17:43
  • I was just thinking about this story today and Googled it and found this page. I remember this story from reading it in the '70s. I agree with Nirvana's description, I just cannot remember the name of the story. Commented Sep 22, 2017 at 20:37

3 Answers 3


The closest thing that I can find is "The Cocoon" by John B. L. Goodwin. It was in a short story anthology edited by Ray Bradbury called "Timeless Stories for Today and Tomorrow"

(Short synopsis)

Boy finds an unusual caterpillar, raises it and then kills it for his collection. Later that night he starts hearing beating wings, which continues until the unusual moth takes its revenge.

  • I recall reading the same story, though I don't know that it was in that book. Is it possible it was reprinted in other volumes? This definitely sounds like the story nirvana was referencing, though.
    – Jeff
    Commented Aug 13, 2013 at 15:34
  • @Jeff - It's been in quite a few anthologies and collections. Story was originally written in the 1946. One of the more recent that I could find is "Some things strange and sinister" published in 1973.
    – JohnP
    Commented Aug 13, 2013 at 15:50
  • Here is a list (probably incomplete) of publications of that story, and here are the covers.
    – user14111
    Commented Oct 24, 2015 at 2:23
  • Goodwin's "The Cocoon" does not seem to fit the OP's description very well: it is not in a single-author collection (as far as the ISFDB knows; the boy finds an extraordinary caterpillar, not a butterfly; and he is found dead in his room, not in the woods. Alicia's answer, "The Collector" by J. B. Stamper, at least is in a single-author collection; I don't know how well it fits the rest of the description.
    – user14111
    Commented Oct 24, 2015 at 3:38
  • This work was accepted as an answer at scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/240417/… for the sake of cross-references.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Dec 14, 2020 at 19:37

"The Collector" by J. B. (Judith Bauer) Stamper, in her 1987 collection More Tales for the Midnight Hour.

Toby is a young boy who collects moths. He is warned by an old woman down the road that a particular moth is considered bad luck to catch, but he nevertheless snags one and kills it in his killing jar (glass jar with a chemical in the bottom used to suffocate an insect without damaging it) whereupon he's set upon by moths in revenge, who burst through the screen of his house, and harry him into the swamp.

It can be borrowed from the Internet Archive here, and ends with the moths leaving Toby pinned against a tree as part of their human collection.


The Cocoon is the closest one I can think of. I remember reading it as a child and still hate moths today; some creepy little fear in the back of my mind. The book had maybe ten to twelve stories and that was one of them. One of the first books I bought with my "own" money from allowances and cutting grass etc.

  • Hi there! Did you wish to expand on JohnP's answer which already mentioned this one? If so, can you maybe edit in quotes, for instance? If this was "just" a "yep that's totally what John said" comment, that's what it should have been - a comment, not an answer. You can comment everywhere when you have 50 reputation. Can I encourage you to take the tour to see how things work?
    – Jenayah
    Commented Nov 5, 2018 at 3:10

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