2017-12-17 / Family

The Spider and the Christmas Tree

Inspired by a German Folk Tale
By VALERIE L. EGAR
Author

A teeny spider, Itsy, lived on the ceiling in the corner of a snug cottage with her Mom and Dad. From the top of the ceiling, Itsy and her family watched the human family come and go. They saw three children, a boy and two girls, go to school each day, their back packs heavy with books. They watched as the mother rushed out of the door shortly after to work in the bakery. They saw the father amble outside, coffee mug in hand, on his way to his shoe repair shop.

Once the humans were gone, Spider School was in session. “Do I have to go?” Itsy asked. “I think I sprained my leg.”

“Which one?” Mom asked and looked her over. “You’re fine. Off to school!”

Itsy slowly walked across the ceiling to Spider School. Ariel was showing off, spinning a delicate web that covered most of the corner. Tark and Zoom raced each other by dropping from the ceiling on spider thread to see who got to the floor first. Itsy sat quietly and watched. The teacher, Ms. Spindra, soon appeared.

“Yesterday’s quiz on flies of the world was a great disappointment!” she announced. “Only Itsy named them correctly.”

“But she can’t spin a web,” said Ariel under her breath. “That’s what spiders do!”

Zoom laughed, too. “Her last web looked like a tangled ball of yarn.”

Itsy wished she could just disappear. Everything they said was true. Though her mother said her weaving skills would improve with time, they hadn’t. Her legs went one way and the thread another, until she got herself knotted in the middle and had to yell for help. On another day, she managed to start weaving and thought she was doing well, but instead of a web, she had woven a ladder.

“Look,” Tark laughed. “Itsy built a fire escape.” Itsy didn’t feel like a real spider at all.

That night, the human family brought a tall fir tree into the house. They strung lights on the tree and decorated it with shiny balls and glass icicles.

“May I go see it?” Itsy asked.

“No,” Dad said. “People are frightened of spiders.”

“How about when they go to sleep? Please?”

“I think it would be all right when the people sleep, don’t you?” said Mom.

He nodded. “All right, but you’ll have to be very careful.”

When the house was quiet, Itsy dropped from the ceiling and onto the tree. She started to explore.

The tree was beautiful. A red bird on one branch, a little soldier with a crooked smile on another. Each branch held a different treasure and Itsy wanted to see every one. Up and down she went, around and around, branch to branch. She was so busy exploring, she didn’t pay attention.

All of a sudden she heard a noise. “Oh no!” She looked through the branches and saw a jolly man with twinkling eyes dressed in red.

“Someone’s been working very hard,” Santa said. “How beautiful you’ve made the tree!”

Itsy looked around. Beautiful spider webs adorned the tree, top to bottom and glistened silver. She looked for Ariel, Tark, and Zoom. With surprise, she realized she had spun the beautiful webs.

“You’ve done a magnificent job, little one,” Santa said, “but I think it best if people don’t realize spiders share the house. Do you agree?”

Itsy nodded.

Santa waved his hand and a few webs became a delicate lace tablecloth on the dining room table. Another wave and a few more webs became sugar frosting decorations on cookies. He snapped his fingers and webs of frost glittered on the windowpanes.

Only one web remained, near the top of the tree. Santa turned that one gold and it shimmered near the top.

Itsy was asleep when the family woke up. She didn’t hear them ooh and ahh over the beautiful web near the top of the tree and all she and Santa made together, but Itsy didn’t mind. She knew she was a very gifted spider and that made her very happy.

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