For years, Beatrice Bowles, practitioner of the ancient craft of storytelling, has been sharing tales from all over the world.
At first, because Miss Muffet ran away when a spider sat down beside her, I was scared of spiders. Then I read Charlotte’s Web, which changed my mind. Now as a writer, gardener, and storyteller, I find inspiration in spiders’ crafty webs and all the good they do, and in the survival secrets they spin.
Spiders have survived on Earth for more than 360 million years, and exist everywhere from sea level to cloud level. Spider silk is still the strongest, most flexible fabric of all. Scientists now claim that evolution happens in lateral as well as linear directions-as a web, that is. Nature’s own brilliant web keeps revealing new secrets.
Many cultures from Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas have long respected spiders as witty little teachers of children. In Cherokee, Hopi, and Native Northern California traditions, children learn to listen for Spider’s Grandmother‘s soft voice to guide them on the risky road of life. So I tell spider stories to children to connect them to their own spider guide inside. The seeds of goodness and wisdom lie within us, always ready to sprout.
Since the human race has made such “a queer mess of the planet,” wrote EB White, author of Charlotte’s Web, spiders’ survival wisdom is sorely needed, perhaps more than ever before.