The Spider that ate Bailey?
After a busy morning of learning, recess is a great way to relax, climbing on the play ground equipment, chasing your friends, and exploring the great outdoors.
Today’s recess starts out the same way that it always does, Nicholas and Jake chase Jill and Katherine. Jill and Katherine run away. Jill and Katherine throw pine cones at Nicholas and Jake to stop them.
But today something special happens. As Jill is picking up a pine cone to throw at Jake, she notices something under the pine cone, it is big, it is black, it is furry, it is a Spider!
“Wow,” screams Jill. “It’s a big, black, hairy, ….Spider!”
Soon the exciting news has flashed around the entire playground.
Every child who loves the mystery of the insect world crawls into position to observe the newest discovery. Every child who is horrified at the very mention of this beastly beast stands cautiously close by to observe the ritual which is about to unfold.
“Look at those big shiny eyes,” exclaims Nicholas who has just crawled into position.
Jill pushes even closer to the center of the excitement, “He’s got huge fangs.”
“That’s so he can eat grasshoppers,” Katherine is quick to answer.
“Grasshoppers?” questions Jill, “Spiders don’t eat grasshoppers, they eat big, fat, gooey caterpillars that are the size of my thumb.”
“The size of your thumb? I’ve seen caterpillars the size of a hot dog.” Claims Nicholas.
“Caterpillars, you’ve got to be kidding,” says Jake, “Everyone who knows anything, knows that spiders don’t eat caterpillars, they eat scorpions”
“No way, Jake! You’re just making up stories to scare everyone.” Answers Katherine, “Scorpions are way too mean, besides I heard that spiders can attack mice and eat them whole”
“One time on TV, I saw a spider swallow an entire snake just after the snake had eaten a mouse.” Spouts Jill. “And the snake was a giant Cobra that looked as big as a log.”
“Oh yea, well my Dad told me that he once caught a spider when he was a kid and he use to feed it stray cats that he found in the neighborhood.” Exclaims Nicholas.
“Cats?” questions Jill.
“Cats are tiny next to my neighbor’s Saint Bernard dog, this dog weighed like a thousand pounds and he disappeared one day and, …and the sheriff said that a spider ate the dog.” Adds Katherine.
“My uncle has a farm in New York City, and he said that he raises horses to feed to spiders.” Claims Jake.
“New York City?” questions Jill.
“Yea, well my grandpa use to own Texas,” says Nicholas, “And he had a spider that he would feed elephants to, and… and… and the spiders would eat trees, and… and small houses too.”
“Spiders eat houses?” Jill’s voice quivers.
“Yea a spider ate my cousins house in Cleveland,” adds Nicholas.
“Cleveland?” mumbles Jill.
“And if we aren’t careful this spider could eat Bailey,” shouts Jake.
“Bailey?” questions Jill.
“Yea, the entire city of Bailey Colorado!” answers Jake.
"Bailey, Colorado? What about our quiet little town of Bailey, Colorado?” questions the teacher as she approaches to see what all the excitement is about.
“Jake said that this spider is going to eat Bailey, Colorado,” cries Jill.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa, spiders don’t eat cities,” answers the teacher.
“What about houses, or trees, or horses?” asks Katherine.
“I don’t want that spider to eat my dog!” adds Nicholas.
“Your dog?” the teacher asks.
“What about small children at recess?” Jill anxiously asks.
“I think we need to get something straight here, spiders don’t eat cities, or houses, or horses, or dogs or even small children at recess,” answers the teacher.
“Yea well they bite small children, “Jake step on it!” shouts Katherine.
“Wait…., don’t step on the spider,“ yells the teacher, “It is true certain kinds of spiders do bite people, but most spiders are actually good to us.”
“What are you talking about? Jake step on it before it gets away” mumbles Nicholas.
“Let me finish…” continues the teacher, “Spiders come in many shapes, colors, and sizes. Like I said before some of them, like the black widow can bite people and even make them sick.”
“Others, like the garden spider and the jumping spider actually do us a big favor, they eat little aphids and other bugs that damage plants. Even the black widow does it’s part to eat harmful bugs, just don’t let them harm you. Millions of spiders live around us each and every day. In fact the more you learn about spiders, the more you realize that they are actually our friends. So what do you think of that?”
Jake picks up the pine cone and throws it at Jill, “You’re it!”
© 1998 Karl Egbert
dedicated to the playground kids at the local Elementary School who live this everyday...