When I was a preschool teacher, I noticed the children were frightened when a spider crawled into the classroom during a storm. They thought the spider wanted to hurt them, so they tried to hurt it first. I knew they would be less afraid and more compassionate if they understood that the spider was just trying to get out of the rain. So, I made up a story about a big wet spider seeking refuge from a storm.
After a few years, I finally wrote the story down on some construction paper and tied it together with yarn. Unfortunately, I am not an illustrator–so I cut the story short (I got tired of trying to draw). My colored pencil spider resembles an M&M with legs. The little yarn-bound book has been sitting on my bookshelf since the late 1980s, gathering dust. Here it is:
“I need to be warm! I need to be dry!
Look out everybody, I’m coming inside!”
Into my house that wet spider crawled
up through the window
down through the hall.
When he got to my room,
he jumped on my bed
and his eight legs wiggled
too close to my head.
“I’m afraid of you, you big wet spider!
Go back outside, before I call mother.”
That’s when the spider started to cry–
“Can’t you see? Oh me! Oh my!
I need to be warm! I need to be dry!
Please let me stay here,” he said with a sigh.
“O.K.,” I replied, “but not on my bed.
Just settle down on the floor instead.”
I gave him a towel to wipe his feet
I gave him a cookie for something to eat.
“Good night,” I said after I lied down.
He smiled at me and didn’t make a sound.