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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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WHY SPIDER WAIST IS TINY

SPIDER HAS ALWAYS BEEN A THIEF AND A ROBBER. HE IS
ALSO KNOWN AS A COWARD. HE IS FOREVER RUNNING,
OR IS READY TO RUN, THE MOMENT HE THINKS HE IS
DEFEATED BY ANYONE STRONGER THAN HE IS. THE SPIDER
ALSO SNEAKS UPON THOSE LARGER THAN HIMSELF BY STABBING
THEM SUDDENLY WITH POISONOUS DARTS. WITH STEALING
AND RUNNING, HE HAS DEVELOPED AMAZING SPEED AND
SURPASSING AGILITY. BUT ONCE HE OUTSMARTED HIMSELF
AND HE CAME CLOSE TO DEATH. HE WAS MAULED, LACERATED,
AND HAS RECEIVED SCARS OVER HIS ENTIRE BODY THAT HAS REMAINED
WITH HIM TODAY. IT OCCURRED DURING A FAMINE WHEN THERE WAS
HARDLY ANY FOOD AROUND. THIS PERIOD WAS VERY HECTIC FOR ALL
INCLUDING SPIDER. SPIDER STEALING HABITS BECAME VERY VICIOUS.
HE WAS CONSTANTLY TRYING TO FIND WAYS TO STEAL FROM OTHERS.
IT IS TO BE NOTED THAT SPIDER WAS AFRAID TO OPERATE AT NIGHT
BY HIMSELF. NIGHT AS WE ALL KNOW IS A GOOD TIME TO STEAL.
SPIDER NEEDED A LITTLE LIGHT TO STEAL SO HE MADE FRIENDS WITH
FIREFLY. HIS STRATEGY WAS TO FORM A PARTNERSHIP WITH
THE FIREFLY, PROVIDED THE FIREFLY GIVE THE SMALL AMOUNT
OF LIGHT NEEDED FOR SPIDER'S DARK OPERATIONS. HE AND FIREFLY
WOULD STEAL A LOT OF FOOD WHILE THE ENTIRE VILLAGE WAS
ASLEEP AND DIVIDE WHATEVER THEY HAD EQUALLY. UPON MEETING
THE FIREFLY, SPIDER SAID, "HELLO, I CAN RECOGNIZE YOU BY
YOUR LIGHT". "AH AND BY MY LIGHT I CAN EASILY RECOGNIZE YOU",
SAID THE FIREFLY SARCASTICALLY. AFTER THEIR BRIEF
INTRODUCTION, THE SPIDER TRIED TO CON THE FIREFLY
"THE VIRTUE OF YOUR LIGHT WILL NOT SAVE YOU FROM
STARVATION IN THIS FAMINE". "WHAT DO YOU WANT HERE?" ASKED
THE FIREFLY ANGRILY. "IF YOU ARE WAITING FOR MY LIGHT TO
DO A DIRTY DEAL, FORGET IT, YOU MAY AS WELL BE WASTING
GLORIOUS TIME. I WILL PUT NOTHING PAST YOU". " OH, DROP YOUR
SUSPICION", THE SPIDER ANSWERED QUICKLY. "ACTUALLY I WAS
LOOKING FOR YOU WITH A PURE HEART. I DON'T WANT ANY FUSS.
I HAVE A LOT OF RESPECT FOR YOU. YOUR LIGHT CAN BE A GREAT
SERVICE TO US DURING THIS FAMINE. I COULD SAVE YOUR
LIFE OR WE COULD DIE TOGETHER." "ALRIGHT, ALRIGHT", SAID THE
FIREFLY. "THAT SOUNDS LOGICAL", SAID THE FIREFLY WEAKLY. "WHAT WILL
I GET OUT OF THIS DEAL?" "LOOK", SAID THE SPIDER. "IF I COULD
OPERATE AT NIGHT WHEN ALL ARE ASLEEP, I COULD
GET SUFFICIENT FOOD FOR US TO EAT. "ONLY IF YOU WOULD COME
ALONG AND MAKE SOME LIGHT WITH YOUR PRESENCE". "OKAY", SAID
THE FIREFLY RELUCTANTLY. "YOU ARE VERY WISE. THE GOOD ARE
SELDOM WISE. YOU HAVE HEARD THE CALL OF DUTY AND HAVE NOT
HESITATED WITH TEARS LIKE A SCARY CHICKEN". AND SO IT WAS. THE
FIREFLY AND THE SPIDER WENT OUT AT NIGHT TOGETHER. THE FIREFLY HAD
HIS LIGHT AND THE SPIDER PULLED THE BASKET OF FISH FROM THE
RIVER INTO SEVERAL BASKETS. HE ALSO STUNG THE FISH TO DEATH
AND EXTRACTED THEM ONE BY ONE FROM THE BASKETS. BY THE FIREFLY'S
DIM LIGHT HE DRAGGED THE FISH TO HIS HOUSE AND DIDN'T GIVE THE
FIREFLY ANY FISH AS WAS PROMISED BY THE SPIDER. THIS
CONTINUED UNTIL THE FIREFLY BECAME RESENTFUL AND ANGRY.
HE TOLD HIMSELF THAT HE WILL REPAY THE SPIDER FOR HIS SELFISHNESS.
THE FOLLOWING NIGHT THE SPIDER COLLECTED MORE FISH. HE WAS
ABOUT TO DRAG THEM HOME WHEN SUDDENLY THE FIREFLY PUT OUT
HIS LIGHT AND FLEW AWAY. HE ALSO DIDN'T TELL THE SPIDER
THAT HE WAS LEAVING. SPIDER IMMEDIATELY CAME TO THE CONCLUSION
THAT THE FIREFLY HAD PERISHED. SPIDER QUICKLY COLLECTED THE
FISHES AND DRAGGED HIMSELF TO A HOUSE WHICH HE THOUGHT
WAS HIS HOUSE. WHEN HE OPENED THE DOOR HE WAS GREETED BY
THE LION. THE LION QUICKLY TIED SPIDER WAIST AND BEAT HIM
UNMERCIFULLY. THE LION TOOK A BRIEF REST AND SPIDER SNEAKED
AWAY. THIS TIME HE MADE IT HOME WITH A TIED WAIST, BROKEN RIBS
AND SWOLLEN EYE. THE TIGHT CORD AROUND SPIDER'S WAIST
DIVIDED HIS BODY INTO TWO PARTS. EVEN SPIDER'S WIFE WAS
UNABLE TO UNTIE HIS WAIST FOR FEAR THAT SHE MIGHT SEPARATE
HIS TINY BODY INTO TWO PARTS. THEREFORE, SPIDER'S BODY NEVER
LOOK THE SAME AGAIN. HOWEVER, HE IS STILL KNOWN AS THE THIEF
COWARD AND RUNNER THROUGHOUT THE VILLAGES OF LIBERIA
AND AFRICA. AS FOR THE FIREFLY, HE NEVER REALLY FORGIVE
HIMSELF FOR NOT USING HIS LIGHT CORRECTLY. EVEN TO THIS DAY
HE HAS TRIED TO CORRECT HIS MISTAKE WITH THE SPIDER
BY TURNING ON ALL OF HIS LIGHTS FOR THE WORLD OF THE BUGS.
AND EVEN SO, MANY OF THEM PREFER THE DARK.

Submitter comment: THE MORAL OF THIS TALE IS THAT INDIVIDUALS SHOULD
BE TRUTHFUL AND RESPECTFUL TO EACH OTHER AND
NOT TRY TO PLAY GAMES BY BEING DECEITFUL.

Where learned: LIBERIA ; MONROVIA

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- B246
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Characteristics of Animals
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Animal Tale

Date learned: 00-00-1969

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