Once there was a spider, a large yellow and black spider, known as a garden spider. She kept to herself and tried not to be a bother to anyone. She would catch flies and other bugs to eat. She was very good at what she did, and enjoyed being a help to others around her.
One day she found a new place to build her web. She found a doorway which always had a breeze blowing through it. Many bugs would be blown through, so she thought it a fine place for web-spinning. In the late afternoon sun she worked to build her web so it would be ready for the evening. She finished it just in time to catch all the bugs that would come out in the dim light of the end of the day. That night she caught many insects. She ate well and rested happily, knowing that she had done well.
The next morning, however, she was chased out of her web by a boy. This boy she had never seen before. He had a stick and shook her web with it. She ran off up the side of the wall around her doorway. The boy tore her web down with his stick, then washed the doorway with a hose until it was all wet and unfit for spinning a web.
The spider didn’t know what to do. She crawled around until she found a shadowy corner of the wall. She slept. She awoke in the afternoon light. No one was around. A light breeze reminded her of the fine air the day before, in which she had spun her fine web. The doorway was still there, all dry and ready for her to use again. She walked over on her light legs, took another careful look around, then began to spin a new web.
She finished just as the sun went down, and again ate well during the night.
Brett was a helpful boy. He enjoyed working outside in his father’s yard. The sun and breeze reminded him of adventurous islands he had seen on TV where pirates hid their treasure and dinosaurs roamed behind the trees. Sometimes he would stop his work and close his eyes, imagining that he was helping to lower a treasure chest, or running to keep up with a T Rex.
Brett’s father was working this day, building a new garden shed. Brett helped by getting tools for his dad, and his dad showed Brett how all the tools worked. At the end of the day Brett and his dad looked at their work. The afternoon sun cast small shadows across the new siding, giving the shed stripes. Dad said ‘Tomorrow would you help me by painting the shed”? Brett had never been asked to paint by himself before. He said ‘You bet!” without even thinking how much work it might be.
That night, he went to sleep looking forward to painting designs on the wood siding all the next day. Maybe polka dots, or blue, green and yellow stripes.
In the morning, father sent him out to check the shed before getting the paint out. “Make sure the wood is clean, and there are no leaves or spider webs on it”, his father said as Brett went out to the yard.
Brett saw the spider’s web from across the yard. He picked up a stick and cleared it off the shed’s open doorway, chasing a big yellow spider away. Then he noticed all the dirt, leaves and bugs caught up in the web now stuck to the shed’s siding. He took the garden hose and sprayed the whole side of the shed. Leaves & dirt went flying. He even caught a few mosquitoes flying by and washed them out of the air.
When he was done, the shed was clean, but way too wet for painting. “No problem”, he thought, “the sun will dry it in time for me to paint this afternoon”.
Afternoon came, but Brett was busy with his father mowing grass. He asked if he could paint it tomorrow.
The next morning Brett woke up, ate breakfast and went down to his father’s garage. He found yellow paint, red paint, green paint and blue. He found a handful of old paint brushes, some with the bristles stuck together from the last time his father painted the window trim on their house.
He turned the corner from the garage into the back yard and headed toward the new, unpainted shed. He would start with yellow, then see what red stripes would look like.
Then he saw the shed doorway, the spider web, and the spider. That spider had ruined his doorway again. No painting. No fun. Again. He took one of the paint brushes in his hand and headed for the spider.
“Stupid spider”, Brett said as he stomped on it. He washed the doorway again, as the day before. Later that afternoon he and his dad painted the shed red, yellow, green and blue, one color for each side of the shed. They shared a hug, each proud of the other’s work.
Copyright Chris Jamison 2005