Once upon a spider web, a child placed a dead mosquito, and the two spiders who lived there became her friends. She fed them regularly, and admired them and their handiwork. Perhaps she talked to them. She didn't say.
It hurt me to hear that the housemaid, one callous day, calmly and efficiently--but not unwittingly--wiped out the web, the friends, and, no doubt, some of the little girl's faith in the ways of grown-ups.
I wonder how many of us adults thoughtlessly wipe away the cobwebs we see without stopping to look at them with a child's heart.
How often do we do "the right thing"--in the guise of religion or discipline or tradition? Or even just in the name of housekeeping? And in our smugness at a job well done, neglect to notice how cruel we can be to the children in our lives.
She must have been a lonely child, to look to spiders for companionship. And she must also have been an amazing child, to be able to, at that age, go beyond the creepy-crawly, to recognise the miracle of the web and see the art in a spider's delicate frame.
Small wonder, then, that she is now an amazing woman.