T HIS is the story of a venturesome young Spider, who left his home in the meadow to seek his fortune in the great world.
He was a beautiful Spider, and belonged to one of the best
families in the country around. He was a worker, too, for,
as he had often said, there wasn't a lazy leg on his body,
and he could spin the biggest, strongest, and shiniest web
in the meadow. All the young people in the meadow liked him,
and he was invited to every party, or
dance, or picnic that
they planned. If he had been content to stay at home, as his
brothers and sisters were, he would in time have become as
important and well known as the
But that would not satisfy him at all, and one morning he
The meadow people, on the ground below, watched him until he got so far away that he looked about as large as a Fly, and then he looked no bigger than an Ant, and then no bigger than a clover seed, and then no bigger than the tiniest egg that was ever laid, and then—well, then you could see nothing but sky, and the Spider was truly gone. The other young Spiders all wished that they had gone, and the old Spiders said, "They might much better stay at home, as their fathers and mothers had done." There was no use talking about it when they disagreed so, and very little more was said.
Meanwhile, the young traveller was having a very fine time. He was carried past trees and over fences, down toward the river. Under him were all the bright flowers of the meadow, and the bushes which used to tower above his head. After a while, he saw the rushes of the marsh below him, and wondered if the Frogs there would see him as he passed over them.
Next, he saw a beautiful, shining river, and in the quiet
water by the shore were
How he longed for a branch to cling to! How he shivered at
the thought of plunging into the cold water! How he wished
that he had always stayed at home! How he thought of all the
naughty things that he had ever done, and was sorry that he
had done them! But it was of no use, for still he went down,
down, down. He gave up all hope and tried to be brave, and
at that very minute he felt himself alight on a great green
This was indeed an adventure, and he was very joyful for a
little while. But he got hungry, and there was no food near.
He walked all over the leaf,
When he fell asleep it was late in the afternoon, and, as
the sun sank lower and lower in the west, the lily began to
close her petals and get ready for the night. She was just
drawing under the water when the Spider awakened. It was
dark and close, and he felt himself shut in and going down.
He scrambled and pushed, and got out just in time to give a
great leap and alight on
He never liked to think of that night afterward, it was so
dreadful. In the morning he saw a leaf come floating down
the stream; he watched it; it touched
He went straight
After a few days' rest he started back to the meadow, asking his way of every insect that he met. When he got home they did not know him, he was so changed, but thought him only a tramp Spider, and not one of their own people. His mother was the first one to find out who he was, and when her friends said, "Just what I expected! He might have known better," she hushed them, and answered: "The poor child has had a hard time, and I won't scold him for going. He has learned that home is the best place, and that home friends are the dearest. I shall keep him quiet while his new legs are growing, and then, I think, he will spin his webs near the old place."
And so he did, and is now one of the
steadiest of all the
meadow people. When anybody asks him his age, he refuses to
tell, "For," he says, "most of me is