Seaside and Wayside, Book One  by Julia McNair Wright

The Spider at Home

T HE spider is busy all the time. It is not cross like a wasp. The bite of a spider does not do a man or a child much harm. A spider does not bite unless it is hurt, or when it kills its food. It bites to kill flies, bees, ants, and such things, to eat.

Spiders make webs, nets, and snares. They can spin, weave, dig, and hunt. Some can build rafts, and others make mud houses.

Their webs are to live or lie in. They are also to catch insects. The nests are for baby spiders.

The snares are to catch food. The silk of the web is very fine, but it is strong. It will hold up a big, fat spider. It will hold fast a wasp or a bee.


The Spider's Swing

Do you see the spider on his thread? It is his swing. He can swing as the boy does in his rope swing.


The Child's Swing

Do you see the spider lie at rest in his web?


The Spider at Rest in His Web

Do you see the child rest in a web made of string?


The Child Rests in a  Web Made of String

How does the spider make his web?

First he finds a good place. He presses the end of the tube he spins with, and makes a drop of glue fast to a wall, or leaf, or stem. Then he drops away; and as he goes, the glue spins out in many fine streams, which unite into one, and stiffen to silk-like thread. If he does not find a good place to make his web fast, he can climb back!

How can he climb back? He runs up his line as fast as he came down. If you scare him, he drops down on his line like a flash. It will not break.

If you break it, he gets away quickly. Then he runs off to find a new place to which to make a line fast.

The long lines in the web are called rays. The spider spins the rays first. The rays are spread out like the spokes of a wheel.

The spider guides the lines with his feet as he spins. He pulls each one to see if it is firm. Then he spins a thread, round and round, from ray to ray, until the web is done.

Webs are of many shapes. You often see the round web spread on the grass on warm mornings. People call them "Ladies' Mantles."