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 THE first thing our little Spider remembered was being
crowded with a lot of other little Spiders in a tiny brown
house. This tiny house had no windows, and was very warm and
dark and stuffy. When the wind blew, the little Spiders
would hear it rushing through the forest near by, and would
feel their round brown house swinging like a cradle. It was
fastened to a bush by the edge of the forest, but they could
not know that, so they just wiggled and
 pushed and ate the
food that they found in the house, and wondered what it all
meant. They didn't even guess that a mother Spider had made
the brown house and put the food in it for her Spider babies
to eat when they came out of their eggs. She had put the
eggs in, too, but the little Spiders didn't remember the
time when they lay curled up in the eggs.
They didn't know
what had been nor what was to be—they thought that to eat
and wiggle and sleep was all of life. You see they had much
One morning the little Spiders found that the food was all
gone, and they pushed and scrambled harder than ever,
because they were hungry and wanted more. Exactly what
happened nobody knew, but suddenly it grew light, and some
of them fell out of the house. All the rest scrambled after,
and there they stood, winking and blinking in the bright
sunshine, and feeling a little bit dizzy,
be-  cause they were
on a shaky web made of silvery ropes.
Just then the web began to shake even more, and a beautiful
great mother Spider ran out on it. She was dressed in black
and yellow velvet, and her eight eyes glistened and gleamed
in the sunlight. They had never dreamed of such a wonderful
"Well, my children," she exclaimed, "I know you must be
hungry, and I have breakfast all ready for you." So they
began eating at once, and the mother Spider told them many
things about the meadow and the forest, and said they must
amuse themselves while she worked to get food for them.
There was no father Spider to help her, and, as she said,
"Growing children must have plenty of good plain food."
You can just fancy what a good time the baby Spiders had.
There were a hundred and seventy of them, so they
 had no
chance to grow lonely, even when their mother was away. They
lived in this way for quite a while, and grew bigger and
stronger every day. One morning the mother Spider said to
her biggest daughter, "You are quite old enough to work now,
and I will teach you to spin your web."
The little Spider soon learned to draw out the silvery ropes
from the pocket in her body where they were made and kept,
and very soon she had one fastened at both ends to branches
of the bush. Then her mother made her walk out to the middle
of her rope bridge, and spin and fasten two more, so that it
looked like a shining cross. After that was done, the mother
showed her something like a comb, which is part of a
Spider's foot, and taught her how to measure, and put more
ropes out from the middle of the cross, until it looked like
the spokes of a wheel.
The little Spider got much discouraged,
 and said, "Let me
finish it some other time; I am tired of working now."
The mother Spider answered, "No, I cannot have a lazy
The little one said, "I can't ever do it, I know I can't."
"Now," said the mother, "I shall have to give you a Spider
scolding. You have acted as lazy as the Tree Frog says boys
and girls sometimes do. He has been up near the farm-house,
and says that he has seen there children who do not like to
work. The meadow people could hardly believe such a thing at
first. He says they were cross and unhappy children, and no
wonder! Lazy people are never happy. You try to finish the
web, and see if I am not right. You are not a baby now, and
you must work and get your own food."
So the little Spider spun the circles of rope in the web,
and made these ropes sticky, as all careful spiders do. She
ate the loose ends and pieces that were left
 over, to save
them for another time, and when it was done, it was so fine
and perfect that her brothers and sisters crowded around,
saying, "Oh! oh! oh! how beautiful!" and asked the mother to
teach them. The little web-spinner was happier than she had
ever been before, and the mother began to teach her other
children. But it takes a long time to teach a hundred and