EU | ES | FR | EN
Facebook Twitter Vimeo Youtube
Euskal Idazleen Elkartea

Joxemari Carrere Zabala > Extracts

Narrative (short story and novel)

The story of the spider that was fed up with eating flies |

There was once a spider just like many others in the world. And just as all spiders do, she would start making her web early in the morning, because a spider without a web is not a proper spider. The morning dew would form glistening drops on the fine threads, and the spider liked the way the glistening reflected the day. And she thought that the fly that got caught in her web would prefer to stay in that coolness and not in another spider’s web that was dark and dry.

But there was something worrying our spider. She was fed up with having to eat the flies that got caught in her web just as they were without any preparation. Her food always tasted the same. It was boring. And particularly so, when she thought about the delicious herbs she noticed all around her. And when she smelled the sweet blackberries hanging from the canes that held her web. “Yummy! What a delicious fly cake I could make with such sweet blackberries.” And with sweet-smelling mint the fly would certainly have a different smell and would tastier. But what would the other spiders say? In fact, she knew very well that spiders are very traditional: “We spiders have always eaten flies in the same way,” her elderly aunt would tell her. “As soon as they fall in the web we go up to them and eat them by sucking out their insides. That is how it has been, and that is how it will always be.” But she did not see why she shouldn’t try other things. Our spider had ideas like these buzzing around her head and turned them over in her little head so much that in the end she didn’t fancy having any breakfast or any lunch, either. Often, when she saw a fly stuck in the net, she would go up to it and let it go, because she did not feel like eating it and preferred to imagine that fly with the sweet-smelling cake she was going to make with blackberries and mint.

One day, and without saying a word to anyone, she took a couple of blackberries that were cool and fresh in the morning dew and hid them under a leaf. Then she finished her web, and after that took a leaf of mint that was below and hid it with the blackberries. And she waited. All of a sudden she saw an absent-minded fly approaching the glistening threads. The spider thought: “These flies are real birdbrains, with so many eyes they can’t see anything, goodness knows where their heads are; of course, with so many eyes there’s no room for a head.”

Flies and spiders are always saying unkind things about each other; anyway, despite having so many eyes and trying to be alert as possible, it is really difficult to see those fine spider’s threads. Haven’t any of you ever bumped into one of those webs with small, fine threads by mistake? Thank goodness we are bigger than flies and don’t get caught up in them, otherwise… goodness me! Just thinking about it is enough to frighten anyone! But let’s get back to the spider’s story.

A few seconds later the fly had got stuck in the threads. And the spider imagined the breakfast she was going to make that lovely morning. “Yummy. Fly cake with blackberry and mint!” And her mouth watered just at the thought of it. She went up to the fly on her eight thin, black legs and took hold of it. By that time it was neither breathing nor moving, and wrapped it up in a big leaf. The upper part of the leaf was nice and hot because of the sun’s rays. “Just right for making a cake,” thought the spider. She took the blackberries and mint leaf out of their hiding place and put them together with the fly in a walnut shell. Where did she get the walnut shell from? Well, it was on the ground. How did she break open the walnut? She did not break herself, because she was not strong enough, she was a spider after all! Someone had thrown it away and she had found it. Perhaps a squirrel had thrown it away, after eating what was inside of course. Do you eat walnut shells? Well, neither do squirrels. And don’t ask any more questions, otherwise we’ll never get to the end of the story. Now, I’ve lost my place; where was I? Oh, yes, the spider was making a cake. After putting the fly inside the walnut shell she added some milky juice from a blade of grass. She sweetened the mixture with some tips of moss. She stirred everything with a little bramble twig and put the walnut shell on the hot leaf. At first she did not notice anything. And she shouted to the sun to send more and hotter rays. But you need to be patient if you want to prepare delicious food; everything prepared with loving care turns out delicious. Anyway, it was normal for the spider not to know that and feel nervous, because it was her first cake. And we all know that when we do things for the first time, they do not turn out as well as we would like. I remember the first time I baked a cake, it turned out blacker and harder than a lump of coal. Can you see this missing piece of tooth? It broke off when I tried to eat the cake! Just imagine! It was harder than stone. But now I make lovely cakes. Yummy! Chocolate cake… that’s delicious. Well, one day I’ll treat you to one, but now I have to finish the story.

The sun continued to heat the leaf and the leaf the walnut shell, and the walnut shell the mixture inside it and the spider was impatient. And then she saw that the mixture inside the walnut shell had slowly begun to brown and rise. And, goodness me! What a delicious smell she noticed rising up to her nose! She was hungry because she had had no breakfast, and thinking about the kind of cake she was going to eat made her even hungrier. Then she thought the cake might be done. So she picked up the little bramble twig she had used to mix the ingredients together and slowly pushed it into the cake. When she took it out, she realised that the cake was still too soft and decided to let it cook for a little longer. All her eight, long black legs were rapidly and nervously twitching. She started going up and down the web thinking about the breakfast she was going to have that morning. When she could wait no longer, she pushed the little bramble twig once again into the cake that was cooking and when she took it out she was pleased to see that it was dry, and not only that, the cake was a lovely golden brown and the smell coming from it was… goodness me! How delicious! She could wait no longer. She took the walnut shell off the leaf and turned what was inside it out onto another leaf, very carefully otherwise she would burn herself and that would not be very nice. And she had her first cake right there in front of her. Nervously, she took a small piece with her two front legs. It was hot. She blew on it and it cooled a little. Then she put it into her mouth… Oh! How delicious it was! She took another piece and put it in her mouth. And that way, bit by bit, not a single crumb of the blackberry and mint cake was left.

And from then onwards she made up more recipes. At first she did not tell anyone but her best friend. But as time went by more and more spiders found out about her skill in making fly cakes and used to go to her to eat cake and to ask her for the recipe as well. Her aunt also found out that trying out new things was not such a bad idea after all, and once a week used to join her for tea. And telling this story has made me terribly hungry, so I’m off to make a strawberry tart. It would be better if you made one as well, instead of going on listening to me. One day I’ll tell you the story of the fly that didn’t want to eat dung, but that will have to be another day.
2011 Euskal Idazleen Elkartea
Zemoria kalea 25 · 20013 Donostia (Gipuzkoa)
Tel.: 943 27 69 99 - Fax.: 943 27 72 88

iametza interaktiboak garatuta