Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Ukranian Christmas Tree


Alright, so I know it's not Christmas, but stay with me and you'll see where this is going.  Ukranian Christmas trees are typically adorned with a gold or silver spider web.  My tree has a gold web with a small, marble spider on it.  Why?  Spiders are good luck.  You want to know more?  The story goes as follows:

A long time ago, in a far away land (in Ukraine), there lived a family.  The family was very poor, and they lived in a very small house with dirt floors, and they had little to eat.  Even with their meager portions, however, they managed to care for all the creatures in their house...from the largest pig to the smallest mouse.  Yes, even the mice were fed.

One Christmas, the family was really in trouble.  That winter had been particularly cold, and the family could not afford a decent Christmas meal much less presents under the tree.  Still, however, they cared for all the creatures.  Since it was so cold, all things large and small were looking for shelter, and it just so happened that a very particular spider found their small cottage.  

A few days before Christmas, the spider spun her web in the corner of the cottage.  As she sat and waited for tasty bugs to eat she observed the family.  "What a wonderful family!" she thought.  "Surely such kind people deserve better than this for Christmas.So, she saved all her strength for a few days...until Christmas Eve.  

On Christmas Eve, the spider tore down her old web and spun a new one... a special one.  On Christmas morning, when the family awoke, they notices something shimmer out of the corner of their eyes.  There, where her old web had been, this common house-spider had spun a new web of gold and silver.  The web was so grand and so large that the family never had to worry about food or cold or illness again.  Oh, and they still took care of all the creatures...including the smallest mouse (and the spider).

That's why, unless someone can tell me they're poisonous, I'm going to let these guys continue to live in the corner of my basement.  I could use some gold and silver now.

Oh, and for those of you who really hate spiders, here are a few fun spider facts:

  • A fear of spiders is called Arachnophobia.
  • Little Miss Muffet sat on her tuffet, eating her curds and whey…  Miss Muffet was a real person! Her father, Dr. Mouffet believed that spiders could heal when eaten. Eek! If he was my dad, I’d be frightened of spiders, too!
  • The largest spider in the world is the Giant Bird-eating spider. One that was found had a leg span of 28 cm (11 inches)!
  • The smallest spider is the Patu Marplesi. You could fit 10 of them on the end of a pencil.
  • The kindest and most intelligent spider, of course, would have to be Charlotte, from the book Charlotte’s Web, since she could not only spell but saves the pig, Wilbur’s, life! (hee hee)
  • Spider silk is possibly the strongest material in the world! Scientists believe that if they gathered the same weight of spider web as a piece of steel, the web would be much stronger than the steel!
  • As hard as scientists try, they cannot match or copy the silk.


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