Web and the Kingdom
sat down on the stool to rest for a moment. He house was one
of the few that were left standing. He had been scrubbing
and sweeping all morning. His mother went to the manor house
each day to work. His father was away in the army fighting
in a distant land. So it was left to Bertrand to keep the
He leaned back and noticed something moving in the corner
of the ceiling. It was a spider, hard at work spinning her
web. Bertrand climbed up on the stool to get a closer look.
As he watched, a fly was caught on one of the sticky strands.
The fly struggled, and the spider raced over, running quickly
along the web. In a second she lassoed the fly with a silken
strand and wrapped him up in a white cocoon. Then she returned
to the edge of the web.
reached up and pulled the fly out of the web. He wanted to
look at it more closely. But when he pulled the fly out of
the web, he ripped one of the strands.
there was a loud rumbling noise outside. Forgetting about
the fly, Bertrand ran over to the window. But he could see
evening, when Bertrand's mother returned from the manor house,
she was bubbling over with news. "Bertie!" she cried. "Did
you hear the big crash at noontime? The bridge up the road
collapsed. There were horses and carriages backed up for miles."
next day Bertrand noticed that the spider had repaired the
tear in her web. And that evening his mother told him that
the bridge had already been miraculously fixed.
that week a bumblebee got caught in the middle of the web.
It thrashed and struggled, and the spider raced over. But
she seemed afraid to go too close, and her silken lassoes
fell short. The bee struggled so mightily that it broke strand
after strand. Finally it wrenched itself out of the web and
then a storm blew up outside. The sky darkened, and lightning
flashed through the sky. In the center of the kingdom, miles
away from Bertrand's cottage, a bolt of lightning struck the
palace tower. In one sudden thunderous crash, the tower crumbled
to the ground. A second bolt set the stables ablaze. For days,
people buzzed with the news of the damage to the palace.
wondered about the strange web. He decided to try an experiment.
Carefully he snapped one strand at the edge of the web. The
next day he heard about an avalanche. Half of the mountain
crashed down and stopped up the main road leading out of the
Bertrand realized how important the web was. In some mysterious
way it seemed to be linked to the fortunes of the kingdom.
He began to care for the spider, catching flies for her to
was careful never to let anything disturb the web.
evening Bertrand's mother noticed him carefully placing a
fly in the spider's web. "What are you doing, Bertie?" she
told his mother about the strange powers of the spider's web.
"You silly boy," she laughed. And with that, she took a broom
and swept the web away.
very moment the lands of the kingdom were shaken by a huge
earthquake. Walls and towers came crashing down. Bertrand's
house was one of the few that were left standing. Following
the earthquake, disease spread throughout the kingdom. Bertrand
was one of those who fell ill. For days he tossed in his bed,
burning with fever.
last he was well enough to get up. "The spider!" he thought.
"I must find the spider to save the kingdom."
looked at the torn bits of web that still clung to the ceiling
and walls. But the spider was not there. He crawled around
the whole cottage, looking for her. Finally he found her in
a crack in the stones in the fireplace. She was hurt. Carefully
he picked her up. She hardly moved. She had been too weak
to spin a new web. And so she had not eaten all the time that
Bertrand had been ill.
took some pieces of the spider's old web and put them in an
old cracked cup. Then he laid the spider carefully inside
and placed the cup on the mantel in the corner. Day after
day he caught flies and other insects to feed to her. As the
days went by, she grew stronger.
one day, when Bertrand looked into the cup, she was gone.
He looked up. There, in the corner, was the beginning of a
kingdom quickly recovered from its disasters. Villages were
rebuilt, and people played and laughed again. The spider and
all the generations after her continued the work of tending
the web. Bertrand and his children made certain that the web
the kingdom prospered.
2013 The Silversteins