When our school went on the field trip to the silk factory, we learned all about the silkworm. A moth lays eggs (about 100 eggs). The eggs hatch into small silkworms and eat and eat and eat until they become an adult silkworm. Once the silkworm become an adult, it spins a cocoon. While in the cocoon, the worm becomes a moth, hatches out of the cocoon and the cycle repeats itself. In the silk factories, once the worm spins a cocoon, some of them are left to continue the cycle but most of the cocoon's are boiled in water, killing the worm. A machine then spins the silk from the cocoon onto spools of thread and the silk is then spun into silk fabric. The fabric is then dyed and sold for garments.
All of the students from Yoyogi school spent the day learning all about the cycle of the silkworm and we saw some beautiful bolts of silk fabric ready to become kimono's. As we left, each of us were given a silkworm to take home. We were given instructions on caring for our new little buddies, and then we returned home. I named my silkworm the Japanese word for "Honorable Little Gentleman". I went out each day and collected Mulberry leaves from a nearby Mulberry tree, which is what all silkworms eat. I fed him and fed him and fed him. He ate and ate and grew and grew and grew into a fat little silkworm. Finally, he began spinning his cocoon. It took several days but he finally completed the cocoon and he went to sleep.
That is when my Mother put her foot down and put it down hard. She wasn't going to have one hundred or more little silkworms hatching in her house! So I was ordered to boil the Honorable Little Gentleman. I was very sad, but I recovered.
I carried the deceased Honorable Little Gentleman in his cocoon with me for many years, a memory of the true value of a piece of silk fabric.