by Dottinous Foul
A wise spider once told me that if you judged a tarantula by its ability to eat a wizard, it will spend its entire life thinking it’s an idiot. Ok, so this quote was taken from somebody else, but it has the same meaning. That’s because the tarantula is not like the acromantula, it has its own strengths and its own weaknesses. If you judge the tarantula therefore by its ability to hunt mice or big insects, then it’s fair. These words did not leave the spiders mouth of course, but I was given this message while watching it weave its way around its web. It’s the language of webs.
I take a lot of wisdom from spiders and their webs. Without speech, they tell me everything I need to know. When a spider builds its web in stormy weather, it struggles, and it’s art is skewed. But still good. There is something symbolic about a frayed web; you can see the journey from start to finish, and the rhythmic, gothic beauty of continuing in the face of adversity.
Today I acknowledge more of my many wise spider friends who have lost their lives this week:
Weedy, the spider with the hairy head
Your place of residence was under the rim of the silver bucket near the pumpkin patch. You occasionally had parties inside this bucket, with spiders from all over the area, and your neighbours used to complain about the loud noises. But you were a rockstar, Weedy. I’ve always imagined you on a stage, with a guitar, singing hits such as Death to all Ants and The World Will Perish (Under my eight limbs). May your soul carry softly into the nether realm
Pellotina the Ballerina, who lived in the Great Hall and had long slender legs
I came to see you on Tuesday, to read to you your favourite digest from Philomena Pest’s avante-garde column in BeWitched, but I was flabbergasted to find your body squished against the cold stone. You looked serene, actually, the way your fourth leg was awkwardly bent over your sixth. And your third leg, or what was left of it, reminded me of blueberry jam on a cool autumn morning. There’s always art in death, and I know you would have appreciated this so – I made your remains into a lipstick and gifted it to my cousin Hortencia. Farewell Pellotina
Sir Timothy Tattle of the Kitchens, a marvellous eight legged chap
You sir were an aristocratic daddy long legs if ever I saw one. The way you smoked your pipe and wore one peculiar rose tinted spectacle – OK, so you didn’t smoke a pipe, but you did live in a smokey crevice above the kitchen fireplace, and you didn’t wear a spectacle but your face did have a peculiar marking that reminded me of one. I used to imagine you talking to me in this spiffing, queen’s English accent about all manners of subjects, like ant hunting and modern spider economics. You died at the hand of a particularly scared House Elf. Have a spiffing afterlife, Sir Timothy
Lastly, Big Jane, the ma-hoosive spider that lived in the potions section of the library, personally responsible for the sheer lack of students willing to venture too far inside.
Big Jane was not a victim. She was a warrior of sorts, with a body as big as an orange, and eyes as evil as anything. Even I, who speaks often with the spiders of the castle, often chose not to dwell in her slumber. For Big Jane was a spider with an appetite. I remember I once strode into the aisle in search of a book about algae, and she personally flung one directly at my head. I’m sure she did, anyway, because nobody else was around, except for Jeeves, and he’s far too much of a gentleman to have done such a thing. Goodbye Big Jane. I’m not sure how you died, but I’d imagine it was an interesting death all the same. I fed your remains to Mold, my mouse. I’m sure you wouldn’t mind.
And that is, alas, the last of this week’s obituaries. Remember – Spiders communicate with us through the language of webs. Next time you stumble across a magnificent web, take a minute to read it. You might find the answer you’ve been looking for.