Accipiter G. Goshawk
Due to a cold and a very full week, I wasn’t able to write a new piece for today.
So, I decided to post a little tale that I wrote a while ago.
A long time ago, between the first Dream and the second, there lived a young Spider. She was one of the many thousands of sons and daughters that came into the world from the eggs of Old Black Widow, the queen of all eight-legs.
All the children were taught at a very early age to be vicious and merciless hunters. Once an eight-legged child got its fangs, Widow would take it out into the wilds and teach it to hide in the trees and pounce down on unsuspecting prey. The best among Spider’s brothers and sisters had even managed to slay the mighty Kuzuku and the tricky ones had successfully fooled the clever Turirek.
When an eight-legged child got its claws, Black Widow would take them into the forest and there teach them to burrow traps in the ground. Many a speedy Garoplish and agile Suropluss had fallen prey to this clever ruse and to Old Black Widow’s deadly brood.
Spider however was different from her brothers and sisters. There could be no doubt that she could pounce and trap with the best of her siblings, but from a very early age her mother had noticed that the young eight-legged child spent most of her time staring at sunsets, or observing the garish colors of the Zukazuk Bird.
Old Black Widow did not like this at all and resolved to correct her daughter’s odd behavior. She took her out to hunt more dangerous and clever prey; she took her on long excursion through the wilderness to test her endurance and break her spirit, so she could make it anew.
All to no avail. Spider hunted and trudged, but her many eyes and her soul were elsewhere.
One night, as the endless brood settled down for sleep, a stray dream chanced upon Spider’s wondrous soul; and seeing the magic within it, the dream nestled close and became as one with the sleeping maiden.
The next morning, Spider awoke with wonder in her sparkling eyes. As she slept, she had dreamt she was walking along a strange plain of waving rainbow-grass. After wandering for some time, she came to a mountain, which she knew to be Sun Peak. Once she reached the top, she had found a marvelous object, an odd combination of wires, wheels and string. Eagerly she had stretched out her clawed hands and delicately began to play with the extraordinary thing for which she had no name. To her immense joy, as her hands flew back and forth, the machine began to produce a wondrous silky thread. It was so fine and beautiful, that the sun and the rainbow itself could not help but be caught in its soft strands. This caused the fine silk to take all the colors and hues of the world and display them for all to see. These same colors wrapped themselves in the depths of Spider’s eyes, where they would live until the end of all dreams.
As soon as she rose from her bed, Spider ran to tell her brothers and sisters of her dream. She dashed from one to the other, chittering excitedly, recounting the feeling of the silk on her hands, the magic of the endless colors she had seen and caught in her little web.
However, her brothers and sisters did not understand. Why would one of the eight-legs concern itself with the spinning of silk? This must be a dangerous idea, an idea that would cause nothing but trouble and weaken the family. Mother must be told immediately!
Shortly afterwards, Spider found herself waiting in front of her mother’s massive throne room doors in the depths of the dark caves beneath the nest. They opened ominously into darkness and the small eight-legs shyly walked forward, her dream still firmly clutched in the back of her mind.
“So, what is this nonsense about silk and rainbows?” came the dry hiss from the shadows of the throne.
Spider quaked a little.
“If it please my mother, last night I had a dream. It was unlike any dream I have ever had. In it, I saw myself spinning a silk so fine that even the rainbow could not escape its strands. With it, I then wove the finest web the worlds have ever seen. If it please my mother, I would like to try to make this web. I would like to follow my dream.”
From the depths of shadows, Old Black Widow clicked her deadly fangs twice in angry frustration. Her eyes narrowed, as what she had always suspected played itself out before her eyes. Her daughter was weak. She was losing herself to foolish ideas and by so doing, was putting her survival at risk.
Much can be said of Black Widow. She was without a doubt a peerless hunter and a merciless assassin. But no creature in the worlds would be telling the truth, if they said she did not care for her children above all else. Unfortunately for Spider, her endless love and concern had been tempered by long cold nights, endless days spent with an empty belly and the dire trials sustained during the primordial days of the world.
“This is nonsense daughter. It is trouble and I will hear none of it. A foolish idea for a foolish girl,” lashed out the eight-legged queen, trying to break the idea before it had the chance to grow. “For spreading this madness, I must punish you. You will clean out the nest for the following three days. You will also go on all the hunting trips and only rest when you are too spent to stand upright. Now go, and forget this nonsense!”
Spider left the throne room, sad and dejected. She was only mildly concerned about the extra duties her mother had piled onto her back: after all, she was a very hard worker. She had hoped that her mother would understand her dream; accept it, even.
The three days went by uneventfully. Spider cleaned, Spider hunted, Spider fell exhausted on to her bed. She spoke no more of spinning silk and her brothers and sisters felt reassured; the dream had been crushed and all was as it should be.
However, that was not the case. For three days, Spider did clean, Spider did hunt, but the dream was always with her.
In the beginning, it only whispered sweet nothings in the back of her mind, fearful that someone might discover it. As the days went by, it grew stronger, and what was once a wheezing gasp of phrase bloomed into a melodious song.
And for three nights, Spider dreamed. In the realm of Oneiros, she spun and wove for countless hours, learning in her mind the craft that she had been forbidden to learn in the waking world.
Finally on the fourth night, under cover of darkness, Spider snuck out of the nest and made her way to the hill of the Moon. Here she set up the meager materials she had on hand and tried to spin. She started by using a stone top and the strands from the Tchuka Tree. She soon managed to make a small length of string, but she remained unsatisfied: it was coarse and the color was wrong. She tried again; this time she used a wooden wheel on a peg she had carved with her sharp claws and some fleece of a GreeGree she had hunted earlier that day. The fine thread she spun was soft to the touch and pearly white. To any other creature, this thread alone would be a marvelous achievement.
But Spider remained unconvinced.
As she began her third attempt, the Moon wandered into the sky and seeing someone on her hill, decided to investigate. She sailed into the sky, and soon she was just above the toiling eight-legs. The Moon was curious by nature and was immediately taken by the obvious mastery of the many-armed maiden.
“Hello, little one,” she addressed the concentrated Spider politely. “Might I ask what it is you are trying to make on my hill this night?”
Spider immediately stopped her spinning and realizing the nature of the person who had addressed her, curtsied deeply.
“Greetings Great-Grandmother Whiteface. I apologize for occupying your hill with my work, but I needed a place far from my family to work in secret. You see, I am trying to spin a web of dreams.”
The Moon was pleased to be addressed in such a courteous manner and decided to help her toiling great-granddaughter. With a small skip, she lightly stepped on to the hill, and bending down peered critically at what Spider had wrought.
“This is very masterful work, child. However, I fear you do not have the tools to successfully weave a web of dreams.”
For the first time, Spider was seized by dismay and her eyes fell.
The Moon however smiled benevolently, and reaching into her silver bag, pulled out four pairs of bracers adorned with mother of pearl.
“Take these, Great-granddaughter and don’t despair. These are my Spinnerets; they are my gift to you. With these, I am confident you will be able to spin the most beautiful silk in the worlds. Do so with my blessing.”
With that, the Moon left the little eight-legs and stepped back into the sky.
Spider quickly clasped the bracers to her eight legs and began to spin. By the end of the night, she had spun many, many yards of exquisite fine silk and she was much happier. She was not however completely satisfied. Something was still missing.
As the Sun rose, Spider silently crept back into the nest, her new bracers hidden under her long sleeves and her silk tucked away in her bag.
Unfortunately, she had not counted on her mother’s unequaled instinct and hunting skills. Even as she lay down in bed, pretending to fall asleep, the dark hands of Black Widow descended upon her from the shadows.
“I am disappointed in you, Spider. You have disobeyed me. What is this?” the dark matriarch hissed furiously, as she emptied her daughter’s bag.
“Ssssilk?” she spat disgustedly. “You have gone too far daughter. Your penalty is to be hung upside down, until the bad ideas that have rotted your mind have all left your head.”
And with that, she took Spider to the Hanging Room but not before having shredded her beautiful silk thread to rags. In the Room, the queen of the eight-legs grasped her daughter’s many-legs in one clawed hand and clamped them in an iron manacle, which she then strung up to the ceiling by a chain.
“You shall stay here until I see fit. Grandmomma Long-Legs will be your guardian and will see to it that you do not escape. I suggest you take this time to think about your actions.”
With that, the dread queen scurried off, leaving Spider alone in the dark with her old grandmother, Mrs. Long-Legs.
Now, Grandmother Long-Legs was an old creature. She had been born in the far off time, some said even before the first dream. She was ancient and although now she only ate the most tender meats, she had once been a fearsome hunter. She was however, quite different from her daughter. Stern she was, oh yes and maybe sometimes even cruel. But she was also crafty, wise and her eyes and ears saw things others did not.
It was because of this that she noticed the glint of mother of pearl adorning Spider’s wrists.
“Tell me grand-daughter, how did you come by those Spinnerets?” she creaked curiously.
Slowly, Spider recounted the wholes story of her dream, her punishments, her toil on the hill and her meeting with her Great-grandmother. Mrs. Long-legs listened carefully and in the dank dark, she smiled a toothless grin.
“Great-grandmother you say? And you want to catch a rainbow?” she chittered thoughtfully to herself for a moment before drawing an old key from out beneath her long skirt.
She quickly and quietly opened the manacle keeping Spider to the ceiling.
“Go, granddaughter. Make use of the Moon’s gift. I believe your dream will not only benefit yourself but all of us. That is after all, the nature of dreams,” she murmured.
Spider hugged her grandmother fiercely and the older eight-legs was briefly taken aback. Then, her shoulders softened and she hugged the small maiden back.
“Go, love. I believe in you!”
Spider waited for night to fall again and finally, when the Moon had set, she left her nest and sped through the grasslands, straight for the Mountain of the Sun. It took her most of the night to scale it, but in the hour between shadow and light, she reached the top of the unforgiving peak. Here she settled down, and baring her silvery Spinnerets for all to see, she spun a silk thread so fine that sparks of the stars themselves were woven into its making.
Finally, as the Sun left its bed in the east, an exhausted Spider took her masterwork and wove it into a gorgeous web, strung between two pine trees at the top of the mountain. It shone and sparkled like a thousand diamonds and the Rainbow itself was forever caught in its magical strands.
Creatures from all the corners of the world came to see the wonder that Spider had spun. The Moon and the Sun both sailed through the sky that day, just to look at their great-granddaughter’s masterpiece. From the entrance of the nest many miles away, Mrs. Long-legs squinted outwards, smiling as the ethereal light played over her craggy wrinkles.
That day, Spider returned to the nest and was greeted with cheers and loving embraces. Many of her siblings came to compliment her and ask if she could teach them as well. And Old Black Widow, fiercest of all the assassins ever to walk the earth, hung her head in shame, as she realized the terrible mistake she had made.
However, her shame and sadness were short lived. She soon felt a small hand tugging at her skirts and lifting her head she found Spider proudly beaming up at her.
“I’m sorry child,” murmured the eight-legged Mother “I was blind.”
“I forgive you Mother. I know that all you did was for me. You tried to keep me as safe and happy as you could. I love you so very much and truly, I am very happy.”
She smiled and her mother smiled back.
Soon afterwards, many among the eight-legged people asked the Moon if she could spare some more Spinnerets; even Black Widow was tempted by the look and feel of her daughter’s magic web. Great-grandmother Moon obliged and soon countless young eight-legs were learning how to spin and weave. Thanks to a clever idea from old Mrs. Long-Legs, the family of hunters began using the magic thread to hunt and ensnare. Their catches doubled, and soon only full bellies could be found in all of Old Black Widow’s brood.
That is the story of how spiders found their silk.
It also shows that dreams have a way of spreading out and bringing their magic to all those they touch.
That is what Spider thinks anyway: last time I saw her, she was still happily working on her web, without a care in the world.-