Dumas The Spider
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Dumas was an unusual spider because he wasn't content just to catch his prey in his web, he made a game out of it. He would sit for hours waiting for some poor insect to land in the web he had made.
But after a while he became bored. In a forest deep in Rakidom, he slowly weaved very fine threads from tree to tree and from bush to bush. These were not strong enough to catch any prey, but they signalled that a web wouldn't be far away.
What the flying and jumping creatures didn't realise was that they were being slowly made to go the way Dumas wanted, straight into a fine intricate web from which they didn't stand a chance of escaping.
Creature after creature landed in his web until he left them there to rot because he had more food than he could eat. The other spiders in the forest were going hungry as Dumas caught all the best, fat, juicy insects. Several spiders tried to break his network of fine lines, but he just made more.
Anger, envy, and then hate spread throughout the forest and Dumas was either spat at or ignored by all. Many spiders left to find new homes away from the forest where he ruled supreme.
Rakidom is a special place where magical creatures live for hundreds of years. As most of the spiders had left, slowly loneliness crept in until Dumas gave up weaving his wonderful webs and set off to find a new home for himself far away, where other spiders would speak to him.
The journey took him many weeks, he only stopped to weave webs and catch what food he needed to survive. Finally he came upon a cave made out of shells and stopped to investigate. Had he known it belonged to a witch, he might have carried on with his journey.
Everything was quiet so he slipped inside the cave. He stopped and stared in fear. A chill ran down his spine as he looked around at the dead and dried creatures hanging from the ceiling.
There were jars full of the most disgusting things he had ever seen, newt's eyes, lizard tails, bat wings and several other things that he didn't know, and further more, didn't want to!
Lying on a bed fast asleep was a two-headed cat who suddenly open a lazy eye and looked directly at him, licked its lips, but thankfully went back to sleep.
Dumas was just about to make a quick exit when he was scooped up, and he found himself sitting in the hand of the ugliest person he had ever seen.
She had different coloured eyes, one green and the other brown, and as she laughed at the shaking spider in her hand, he saw that she only had two teeth, one silver and one gold.
"Spiders are supposed to do the catching," she cackled, "not be caught."
Dumas gulped in fear and closed his eyes thinking his life was about to end.
He felt a gentle tap on his head and opened his eyes as the witch chanted,
"CREATURE OF STEALTH AND WEAVER OF WEBS, I GRANT YOU THE POWER OF SPEECH. TELL ME YOUR STORY AND MAKE IT GORY OR YOU WILL END UP IN MY STEW."
Dumas told her how, in the end, he had become the ruler of the spider's world in the forest but at the cost of losing all his friends.
"Is that it?" the witch asked. "No blood and gore?"
She threw him on the table in disgust, and as he lay on his back a dish with claw feet tried to scratch him. He curled into a ball and lay there shaking. Peeking trough his legs, he saw the witch watching him carefully.
"So you set traps and lured your prey into your webs, eh?" she asked with interest.
Dumas nodded yes.
"Uumm, maybe I can use you, but you are too small to scare the type of visitors I have."
The witch pointed an old gnarled stick at Dumas and said, "ENLARGE!"
He felt himself growing to triple the size he had been.
Dumas became the guard at the entrance of the witch's cave. He wove intricate webs everywhere and knew in advance if anyone was approaching.
He found out that her name was Moragan, and he met her beautiful but evil half-sister, Charmadene, a couple of times.
Charmadene worked for the Dark Wizard in exchange for the potion that made her beautiful. She always made a grand entrance, arriving in a cloud of purple dust that made Dumas sneeze. She hated spiders and destroyed his web every time she came. She really hated spiders!
Over the years he saw many strange creatures visit Moragan, and most left clutching a magical potion. Dumas realised that for all her looks and evil sounding cackle, Moragan was in fact a nice witch, unlike her sister.
He guarded the cave with pride, even when one of Moragan's closest friends, Murphy the Leprechaun, visited and either teased or tricked him.
Dumas didn't miss his spider friends anymore, he was quite content to live with a witch and reign supreme once again.
(If you would like to read more about Moragan the Witch and her friend Murphy, see Book One in the series of 'The Murphy Stories', 'Hoonraki Moon'.)
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