Our next story is all about the amazing spider. I actually learned something about spiders that I didn’t know from this story!
I will tell you what my little niece Mary found out about the spider. She learned it all from books, and told it to me as I now tell it to you.
Spider is very greed’y and very cun’ning. In less than one day he will eat more than twenty times his weight. If a little boy should get up in the morn’ing, and eat a fat pig, and ten tur’keys; and then, about noon, eat a few more pigs; right before he went to bed, eat a sheep or two, — he will not do more, accord’ing to his size, than the spider can do.
The spider makes his web so that he may catch flies, moths, and such small things. But, if a bee or a wasp gets caught in his web, he will run and help him to break away; for he does not quite like the ways of bees and wasps.
The spider’s eyes bright: sometimes he has eight of them. He can smell, hear, and taste. Once a year he changes his skin, and has a new set of legs. If one of his limbs gets torn off, he does not mind it much: it will soon grow again.
He has eight legs; and these are joint’ed like a crab’s, and have claws at the ends. He has two short fore-arms, with which to hold his prey.
He knows when there is to be a change of weath’er. By watch’ing his hab’its, we can learn to fore-tell a great storm or a great frost. He goes out of his web when rain or a bad storm sets in.
A spider may be tamed. A man in prison once tamed a spider, so that it would come and eat out of his hand.
I will tell you a story in which a spider plays a part. There was once a young prince, who said, that, if he had the power, he would kill all the spiders and all the flies in the world.
One day, after a great fight, this prince had to hide from his foes. He ran into a wood; and there, under a tree, he lay down and fell asleep.
One of his foes passed by, saw him, and, with his drawn sword in his hand, was creeping up to him to kill him, when all at once a fly stung the prince on his lip, and woke him. He sprang to his feet, and the foe ran off.
That night the prince hid himself in a cave in the same wood. In the night, a spider wove her web across the entrance of the cave.
Two men, who were in search of the prince that they might kill him, passed the cave in the morn’ing; and the prince heard what they said.
” Look!” cried one of them. “He must be hid in this cave.”
“No,” said the other, “that cannot be; for, if he had gone in there, he would have brushed down that spider’s web.”
And so the men passed on, and did not try to look in the cave.
As soon as they were out of sight, the Prince thought how his life had been saved, one day by a fly, and the next day by spider!
He raised his eyes and his hands to heaven, and made a prayer of thanks to God. He prayed, that, where he could not see why God has given life to this ugly thing and to that, he might learn to trust in God, and to wait for more light.
Did you know spiders shed their skin? I didn’t!
Yay! A poem! This is an adorable little poem all about a party for birds. Many curious names in this one.
The Birds’ Party
The birds gave a party one bright summer day:
It was held in a meadow of newly-mown hay,
Close by an old orchard, where apples of June
Kept the throats of the choristers sweetly in tune.
A hedge of wild roses this meadow concealed
From the farmers at work in the neighboring field;
While the hum of the bees, and the murmuring brook,
Made a paradise quite of this dear little nook.
The sweet MEADOW LARK was the hostess that day,
Of manners so gentle, and temper so gay!
Though ’tis whispered discreetly, half-earnest, half-fun,
That her graces were learned at the Court of the Sun.
The first to arrive was the CARRIER DOVE:
She bore the regrets of her friends at the grove, – – –
The POUTERS and NUNS, – – – who have serious reason
To give for thus slighting “the ball of the season.”
Next came in COCK ROBIN with sweet JENNIE WREN;
The BLACKBIRDS, a family-party of ten;
The THRUSHES in brown, and the JAY-BIRD in blue,
With gay BOBOLINKUM, who makes such ado!
In strutted the PEACOCK, a vain, gaudy bird,
And rendered himself by his heirs quite absurd;
But the DAWS, in a corner, just whispered together,
And soon the poor creature had scarcely a feather.
On a high mossy rock which o’ershadowed the gate,
The BALD-HEADED eagle was seated in state,
And bore a broad ribbon, on which was decried
E PLURIBUS UNUM — America’s pride.
In a bower of ivy, screened off from the day,
The OWL and the BAT dozed the morning away;
While the WOODPECKER’S tap, and the CATBIRD’S wild scream,
Failed to rouse the dull souls from their indolent dream.
The KINGBIRD and suite next appeared, I am told,
With the ORIOLE, dressed all in velvet and gold;
And the CARDINAL thought it no shame to be seen
In humble attendance upon the gay queen.
They danced and they flirted, they twittered and sang,
Till the neighboring woods with their merriment rang;
And, seated on couches by nature designs,
On the sweetest of berries they daintily dined.
The tables were cleared; and in bumpers of dew
Many healths had been given, when over them flew
A pert little sparrow whom nobody knew.
“Farmer Seedwell!” he cries: ” ladies, fly for your lives.”
Then into a thicket of roses he dives.
The birds gave a flutter; and off they all flew,
Without ever bidding their hostess adieu!
Laura S. Hagner
It’s a lot of fun to write out these stories. I hope you’re enjoying them too!