On this day, 1952, and endearing spider named Charlotte wove her web into our hearts.
E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web, was published on this day. Illustrator Garth Williams came up with just the right combination of lines to create an arachnid children and adults would fall in love with, not despise.
Spiders get a bad rap. Yes, there are some poisonous ones, who will defend if they feel threatened.
But, spiders do a lot of good…..they eat a lot of the pests that bother us even if we don’t threaten their space.
Long ago, Native people thought Mother Spider wove stories in her web……perhaps Charlotte’s story took inspiration from this legend.
I once had a spider build a cocoon of sorts in the corner of my bathroom ceiling. We developed a kinship. Each morning, I would say hello, each evening good-night. She stayed there a very long time. Then one day, she was gone.
I like the legends of Native Americans; they revere the spider. Grandmother or Mother Spider was the mother of the universe. She wove webs that sparkled in the dew like stars, which she tossed into the sky to become our celestial dewdrops. When you gaze at the stars, remember the legend of Mother Spider.
Navajo women, known for their creative weaving, also thanked Mother Spider. Indian maidens would rub their hands in spider webs to absorb the gift of weaving from Mother Spider.
Spider webs were medically used as clean ways of sealing up wounds…..a dirty barn where a wounded soldier lay bleeding would usually have a spiderweb hanging…..these were nature’s and Mother Spider’s gifts. Modern day science has discovered webs are rich in Vitamin K…which helps blood clot. Hanging in those dusty barn rafters, was the gift of life for someone bleeding from a badly broken limb.
People even used spider webs to create beautiful works of art in 16th Century Europe. Who hasn’t gazed upon a spider web and marveled at the intricate beauty.
Next time you come upon a spider, look upon her with wonder, not disgust. She has many stories to weave……listen.
Thank you E. B. White, for a casting spiders in a new light for generations of readers…..May your words keep shining like a spider web’s dew in morning sunlight and evening stars. ❤
I have written my own fairy tales about kind spiders……This is one of my own illustrations.