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Friday, October 28, 2011

The spider

Halloween is coming, so for the next three days my blog entry will be scary.  Halloween used to be about ghosts, goblins and witches, bats and crows.  Lately though, spiders have been added to the cast, which gives me the creeps.

I do, however, have good story about a spider, but for obvious reasons there will be no accompanying picture today.  I suffer, and I do mean suffer, from arachnophobia.

The following is a true story my grandmother told me ...

It was 1929, and my grandmother's neighbors had found a spider in their house. But not just any spider, this was a creature of monstrous proportions. If rumors were to be believed, this beast was the size of a dinner plate.

The neighbors, unable or unwilling to kill the spider, had caught it and deposited it in an empty aquarium. They even turned it into a little business. Whoever wanted to see the amazing spider had to pay a small fee.

At first my grandmother had claimed to have no interest in the spider; but finally, curiosity got the better of her and she, too, went off to have a look at the monster. After paying the fee, she was admitted to the parlor where the spider was in residence.

Grandmother, a woman who was not easily shaken, came back shivering all over.

"It really is a monster," she reported to all willing to listen. "Black and hairy, and so big it wouldn't fit on a dinner plate. And it has eyes and a mouth."
"Well of course spiders have eyes and a mouth," one of her listeners said. "How else would they see and eat?"
"Knowing that they have eyes and a mouth is one thing," grandmother said. "Actually seeing those black beady eyes and black thin mouth is quite another."
"You saw the mouth?" another listener asked.
"Well, I didn't actually see the mouth," grandma confessed, "but a pencil lead was dropped into the tank, and the spider bit it in two. I swear it! I saw it with my own two eyes."

By now more people wanted to see the spider, but the very next day the neighbors had bad news ... the spider was gone.
"WHAT?" was the general reaction.

Suddenly the whole street, neighborhood, and city lived in fear.  Most of them were not afraid of a spider, but this was no average spider, this was a creature of horror. Everybody searched high and low, but the spider could not be found.

Meanwhile in a local pub, Janet, one of the customers, reported that she had been hearing the sound of a bell, but when she went to open the front door, there was nobody there.  At first she smiled, thinking the neighborhood kids were playing a trick on her, but after the 5th or 6th trip to the front door, the game wasn't funny anymore.

"Take me to your house," a man dressed as a sailor commanded the woman.  When she spluttered in protest the sailor held up his hand and went on "Madam, I have a strong suspicion that the spider that was discussed earlier is in your house."

Janet didn't need telling twice.  She immediately made her way home, with the sailor and several others in tow.  At the precise moment that Janet and the sailor walked into the house, a wall mirror that was suspended at an angle by an inch thick twine cable came crushing down.  On the wall at the other end of the cable sat the incredible spider.

Once again the sound of a bell chimed through the house, but this time the sailor commanded Janet to remain where she was, not to move an inch, and not panic.

Meanwhile he slowly produced a knife and in one fluent motion threw the knife in the direction of the spider. The knife hit and pinned the spider in place.

As the sailor explained, the spider must have been there for weeks as it had bit by bit chewed its way through the thick twine cable.  Chiming like a doorbell was its way of communicating fear and frustration.  As long as it was hidden by the mirror, the spider had been at ease, but once exposed the spider had chimed in anger and would have jumped and could have killed someone.

When asked how come he knew so much about spiders, the sailor confessed that it was probably his fault to begin with that this spider had ended up in civilization.  A few weeks ago he had returned from South America, and he guessed the spider had been a stowaway in his suitcase.

The dead bug was taken away by the fire department and donated to the zoo where it was put on display.

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