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From The suns babies by Edith Howes.
Start of Story
Age Rating 2 to 4.
"Why don't you grow wings?" asked the Red Butterfly. "And whatever is
the good of having all those legs? Eight! Why, I am sure six are
enough for anybody. You are not at all handsome."
Spinny Spider turned herself round and round, and looked her velvety
body all over with her six eyes.
"We seem to look at things from different standpoints," she said. "I
have no fault to find with my shape. I don't admire wings at all, and
I certainly need all my legs. But I have no time to argue. I have my
web to make."
She ran to the top of the hedge and found a nice space between several
twigs. Then she sat still, and from a little spinneret on each side of
her body she drew hundreds of fine threads of silk, so soft and gummy
that they looked like honey. With the tiny combs she carried on each
hind foot she combed the threads in the air till they dried and
hardened; then she twisted them into a single silken rope.
She worked hard, and soon had made enough of the rope to reach to the
opposite twig, so she put a drop of gum on it and let it float in the
air till it caught the twig and stuck there. "This is a good start,"
she said. Now she climbed a higher twig and made another rope, and
dropped it across the first one at right angles. Then she made several
more, fastening them all together in the middle and gumming them
tightly to twigs at the ends, until at last the foundation of the web
was made. It looked like the spokes of a wheel without the rim.
She began to spin a finer rope. As she spun she moved slowly from
spoke to spoke, drawing the new rope with her and gumming it firmly to
each spoke. Round and round she went in ever-widening circles, till
the web was complete.
Then she stood for a moment to admire her finished work. And well she
might admire, for a moonshine wheel in a fairy coach could not be more
beautiful than this. The delicate white silk glistened and shone in
the sunlight, and here and there on every circle were set tiny drops of
gum that gleamed like golden balls.
In the centre there was no gum, for that was to be Spinny's waiting
place. She curled herself up to rest after her work and to wait for
her tea. And her tea soon came. A gnat came flying past in a hurry,
caught one of his wings in the web, and in a moment was struggling for
his life. "The gum will hold him," thought Spinny to herself. "I need
not move." The gum did hold him, and his struggles only tightened the
web about him. In a few minutes he was dead; Spinny went over to him,
and had him for tea. Then she rolled herself up again.
Presently a big blue-bottle fly came noisily buzzing along, and
blundered into the net.
"Goodness gracious! what's all this?" he shouted; and he banged and
kicked with all his wings and legs. Such a commotion! "He will smash
my web and get away, after all," cried Spinny, and she was out to him
in a moment. Quickly she spun a few threads and bound them round him
to hold him. Then she unsheathed two sharp claws in her feelers. She
drove these into the fly, holding them still for a second while a drop
of poison from her poison bag ran down each claw into the wound. Very
soon Blue-bottle was dead.
"This is a splendid tea!" said Spinny. "The wings are too hard and
dry, but the body is just what I like."
"You savage creature!" cried the Red Butterfly, who had seen the death
of the fly. "How can you bear to be so cruel?"
"Again we look at things from different standpoints," said Spinny. "I
cannot eat honey like you, but am made to live on flesh and blood.
What seems cruelty to you is only my nature, and I cannot help my
nature. I must get my food in this way, or I should die."