Mary Howitt

The Spider and the Fly

"Will you walk into my parlor?"

Said a spider to a fly;

" 'Tis the prettiest little parlor

That ever you did spy.

The way into my parlor

Is up a winding stair,

And I have many pretty things

To show you when you are there."

"Oh no, no!" said the little fly,

"To ask me is in vain;

For who goes up your winding stair,

Can ne'er come down again."

"I'm sure you must be weary

With soaring up so high;

Will you rest upon my little bed?"

Said the spider to the fly.

"There are pretty curtains drawn around,

The sheets are fine and thin;

And if you like to rest awhile,

I'll snugly tuck you in."

"Oh no, no!" said the little fly,

"For I've often heard it said,

They never, never wake again,

Who sleep upon your bed."

Said the cunning spider to the fly,

"Dear friend, what shall I do,

To prove the warm affection,

I've always felt for you?

I have, within my pantry,

Good store of all that's nice;

I'm sure you're very welcome—

Will you please to take a slice?"

"Oh no, no!" said the little fly,

"Kind sir, that cannot be;

I've heard what's in your pantry,

And I do not wish to see."

"Sweet creature," said the spider,

"You're witty and you're wise;

How handsome are your gauzy wings,

How brilliant are your eyes.

I have a little looking-glass

Upon my parlor shelf;

If you'll step in one moment, dear,

You shall behold yourself."

"I thank you, gentle sir," she said,

"For what you're pleased to say,

And bidding you good-morning, now,

I'll call another day."

The spider turned him round about,

And went into his den,

For well he knew the silly fly

Would soon be back again;

So he wove a subtle thread

In a little corner sly,

And set his table ready

To dine upon the fly.

He went out to his door again,

And merrily did sing,

"Come hither, hither, pretty fly,

With the pearl and silver wing;

Your robes are green and purple,

There's a crest upon your head;

Your eyes are like the diamond bright,

But mine are dull as lead."

Alas, alas! how very soon

This silly little fly,

Hearing his wily, flattering words,

Came slowly flitting by;

With buzzing wings she hung aloft,

Then near and nearer drew—

Thought only of her brilliant eyes,

And green and purple hue;

Thought only of her crested head—

Poor foolish thing! At last

Up jumped the cunning spider,

And fiercely held her fast.

He dragged her up his winding stair,

Into his dismal den,

Within his little parlor—but

She ne'er came out again!

And now, dear little children,

Who may this story read,

To idle, silly, flattering words,

I pray you, ne'er give heed:

Unto an evil counsellor

Close heart and ear and eye,

And learn a lesson from this tale

Of the spider and the fly.