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The Spider And The Fly

Mary Howitt

“Will you walk into my parlor?”
  Said a spider to a fly;
“’Tis the prettiest little parlor
  That ever you did spy.
The way into my parlor
  Is up a winding stair,
And I have many pretty things
  To show you when you’re there.”
“O no, no,” said the little fly,
  “To ask me is in vain;
For who goes up your winding stair
  Can ne’er come down again.”

“I’m sure you must be weary
  With soaring up so high;
Will you rest upon my little bed?”
  Said the spider to the fly.
“There are pretty curtains drawn around;
  The sheets are fine and thin;
And if you like to rest awhile,
  I’ll snugly tuck you in.”
“O no, no,” said the little fly,
  “For I’ve often heard it said
They never, never wake again,
  Who sleep upon your bed.”

Said the cunning spider to the fly,
  “Dear friend, what shall I do
To prove the warm affection
  I’ve always felt for you?
I have, within my pantry,
  Good store of all that’s nice;
I’m sure you’re very welcome—
  Will you please to take a slice?”
“O no, no,” said the little fly,
  “Kind sir, that cannot be;
I’ve heard what’s in your pantry,
  And I do not wish to see.”

“Sweet creature,” said the spider,
  “You’re witty and you’re wise;
How handsome are your gauzy wings,
  How brilliant are your eyes.
I have a little looking-glass
  Upon my parlor shelf;
If you’ll step in one moment, dear,
  You shall behold yourself.”
“I thank you, gentle sir,” she said,
  “For what you’re pleased to say,
And bidding you good-morning now,
  I’ll call another day.”

The spider turned him round about,
  And went into his den,
For well he knew the silly fly
  Would soon be back again;
So he wove a subtle web
  In a little corner sly,
And set his table ready
  To dine upon the fly.

He went out to his door again,
  And merrily did sing,
“Come hither, hither, pretty fly,
  With pearl and silver wing;
Your robes are green and purple,
  There’s a crest upon your head;
Your eyes are like the diamond bright,
  But mine are dull as lead.”

Alas, alas! how very soon
  This silly little fly,
Hearing his wily, flattering words,
  Came slowly flitting by;
With buzzing wings she hung aloft,
  Then near and nearer drew—
Thought only of her brilliant eyes,
  And green and purple hue;
Thought only of her crested head—
  Poor foolish thing! At last
Up jumped the cunning spider,
  And fiercely held her fast.

He dragged her up his winding stair,
  Into his dismal den
Within his little parlor—but
  She ne’er came out again!
And now, dear little children
  Who may this story read,
To idle, silly, flattering words,
  I pray you, ne’er give heed.
Unto an evil counselor
  Close heart and ear and eye;
And take a lesson from this tale
  Of the spider and the fly.
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