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Page 9

The next morning the Little Cook family awoke to the sound of the rain softly pattering on the roof of the house. "No chores in the fields today." Fannie told her sister. “Today it is only inside work." Lizzie came into the room at that moment and saw an opportunity to share time with her big sisters.

"Tell me a story, please." She begged.

The kitchen where Esther worked was next to the older girls room. The mother was ever alert to the goings on of her daughters. Creth glanced at her mother and Esther answered her unasked question.

"Only the story of The Boy and the Spider and the story of The Rabbit and the Sun." Esther advised Creth.

Creth patted the bed and motioned for the little sister to sit beside her. Lizzie, happy she was spending time with her sisters crawled under the light covers. The rainy day was lending a coolness to the house and covers felt good.

Creth began her story. "There were two boys who lived with their father in the timber. Their mother was dead and they lived alone with their father. Now, this man loved his boys deeply and he wanted very much to keep them with him and to let them grow up beside him. However, the youngest boy missed his mother so very much that sometimes he would walk deep into the timber. He was so very lonesome and he was too young to know that he could not find his mother. This time he had walked farther than he ever had before, hoping he would find his mother. There he was deep in the timber, so alone, and crying too. He was so sad and crying so hard he did not notice a large black spider coming toward him. The spider moved closer to the boy until she was totally out of the stump that was her home. She observed he was crying and somehow she knew why he was crying. She felt so sorry for him. Coming closer to the boy now, she spoke to him, "Little Boy, why are you crying so hard? Why you are going to break my heart if you do not stop."

The little boy was startled and he stopped crying, immediately. He looked at the spider and was frightened. Had he heard it speak to him?"

Again the big black spider spoke to the boy, "Little boy, why are you crying? I'm sure you will break my heart if you do not stop."

"Well, the boy was very lonesome and this did seem to be a friendly enough spider. He looked down at it very seriously and answered, "I am very lonesome, spider. I am looking for my mother. I thought if I walked farther and farther into the timber everyday, I would find her.”

The spider did not scold him or laugh at him, but instead she said, "I can see you are very lonesome, and I know you feel if you keep looking for your mother someday you will find her. Please, don't cry anymore,' she said. "I will help you. Come home with me and I will feed you. I will do everything to make you happy."

The little boy didn't know not to follow the spider and she seemed willing to help him. He was feeling quite hungry too. He followed her to her home in the stump and she was very kind to him. She fed him every day and she took care of him like a mother. She even taught him the things she knew and she did her very best to make him content.

As the days went by the little boy began to think of his father and about his brother he had left. He decided he must go back home, maybe just for a visit. He told his mother, the spider, he wanted to return to his father and brother only for a visit and she said to him. "Very well, my son, I am willing to have you visit them, only promise me that you will return to me."

"I promise." The boy called out to her as he started for his old home. When he arrived his brother and his father were very glad to see him. They asked him many questions as to where he had been and why he had not come back. When he told them of his home with his new mother, the spider, they understood that he was happy again. "I cannot tell you to leave you new home, my son, but I do ask that you return to visit with us regularly. Your brother missed you too, and often he wants to play with you."

The little boy was agreeable to this and as he left them he promised he would return. This he did, many times. He came and went often. He made up a little song to sing as he came towards their house. He would sing. "You have a father, my brother, who will hunt for you, and I have not. I have no father to hunt for me in order that I may have meat and soup to eat." The boy sang the song repeatedly, as he came up the road. Now, when the father and the brother heard him singing this song, coming down the road, well, they knew their brother was coming for a visit. That is how the habit of singing as we arrive at another's house started." Creth finished her story by saying, "the moral to this story is, no matter how sad you are, there will always be someone or something there for you. Even if it is only a little spider."

Lizzie knew there was another story forthcoming and she waited.

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