Itsy Bitsy Spider: A Bad Fable
Janet was the littlest of all the spiders in the colony. At dinner, she never got the tasty thorax or juicy abdomen of the flies captured in the silver webs– no, not even the compound eye. She scrambled against the other little spiders for bits of antennae, tough foreleg, and wisps of dry, tasteless wings. Her mothers tried to fend off the ravenous older spiders at dinner time, but Janet found herself constantly hungry.
“You’ll have to mate,” mama Goldass told her with a sigh. “To help you build your own nets. What about Armand? He seems nice.”
“Ugh,” Janet said. “He’s so ugly and hairy, and he spits and he always wobbles his spinnerets in public.”
“Some people find that charming,” mama Goldass said. “I hear his silks are strong.”
“I overheard Tippy say they sagged,” Janet said.
Mama Goldass laughed. “And how would Tippy know?” Her abdomen jiggled as she chucked softly.
But Janet knew mama Goldass was right. Without a mate, she would starve. On the night before her mating with Armand, mama Queenbutt took Janet aside to wish her well, and found her in tears. “Don’t worry, little one,” said mama Queenbutt. “Think of all the tasty Cyclorrhaphae you will feast on!”
Mama Goldass had different advice. “Just lay back and think of the downspout,” she said.
And that’s what Janet did. She thought long and hard about the downspout, she thought of its cold, slippery surface, and the way the webs created a bridge to the wall, which was softer and had hundreds of caves to build nests and bear young. She thought about it every day, and wished for than a life different from her life with Armand and his spinnerets and the waterspout, and so blamed herself when the deluge came.
Armand’s silks were strong, the webs held, and though many, including Armand, perished, Janet’s tiny weight carried her on and above the flood; she surfed it like a butterfly and started anew.
Janet bore young in the spring. She mourned Armand as widows do, and found a new mate and had many bountiful harvests. She made her mothers proud.
If Janet the spider were here now, she would say to you, go ahead and settle when life compels you, but don’t give up your dreams. A deluge may happen to sweep your troubles away and show you a path to true happiness.
*Note: This is no way like an Aesop or other helpful fable. This is a bad fable.
- Original Prompt: This Is Your Song February 2, 2016