One day Menzi was walking in the forest when he found a spider’s web. It stretched out between two trees and it shone in the early morning sun. In the very middle of the web was a big, fat spider with its eight legs spread out. Menzi leaned in close to look at the big, fat spider. Its legs were hairy and it had lots of black eyes on its head. They seemed to watch Menzi. It sent a shiver up his spine.
“You’re scary,” said Menzi, blowing on the spider’s web.
The spider pulled its legs in close. Menzi laughed. “I know what I’m going to do,” he thought.
Menzi dug around in the bushes next to the path. He found a stick. It was long, but not too long and it was brown and smooth. Menzi took the stick and pushed it into the spider’s sticky web. The spider raised its front legs and when the stick came near, it scuttled across the web and climbed onto a tree branch.
“What are you doing?” asked a deep voice from the tree tops.
Menzi stopped. “Who said that?” he asked. He looked up, but he could not see anything.
Suddenly there was a fluttering of wings and a beautiful blue feather floated down through the leaves. This was followed by a bird. It flew down and landed next to Menzi. The bird was not an ordinary bird. Menzi had seen many ordinary birds before. This bird was different. It had yellow legs, bright blue feathers all over its body and a great yellow beak. The bird looked at Menzi and said, “What a horrible thing to do! Why have you broken the spider’s home?”
Menzi looked from the bird to his stick. The stick had bits of broken web at the end that made it look like it was covered in cotton wool.
“The spider was scary,” Menzi said. But he knew he had done something bad.
“That was a nasty thing to do!” said the bird. You should not have broken the spider’s house. Now it cannot eat and it must wait until you leave before it can build another web.”
“Well, what good are spiders anyway?” asked Menzi. “My father says they are dangerous.”
The blue bird shook its head. “Some spiders are dangerous, that is true. So, to be safe, we should never play with them. But, spiders are special. They are very useful. Without them, our lives would be a lot more difficult.”
“Oh, really?” frowned Menzi. “How?”
“Well,” said the bird. “Do you like flies?”
“Of course not, flies are the worst!” said Menzi. He thought of the summer months when flies would zip and zoom around the room and land on his head, or crawl about on his food if he left it on the kitchen table for too long. Yuck!
“And what about mosquitoes?” asked the bird.
“They’re even worse!” answered Menzi as he thought of those warm nights when the mosquitoes were all over the room. He thought how much he hated it when they buzzed in his ear and bit him on his toes and fingers, so that he would itch for hours and hours in the morning.
“Well,” said the bird. “Aren’t you lucky then that spiders eat flies and mosquitoes? Without spiders, your house would be buzzing with flies and you would have to sleep in a cupboard at night to hide from the mosquitoes. How would you like that?”
“That would be terrible,” said Menzi. “I’m sorry. I was wrong about spiders.”
“Yes, you were,” said the bird, stretching out his great blue wings and flying back to the tree tops. The last thing it said was, “You know what to do now.”
Menzi threw the stick back into the bushes and he walked over to where the spider’s web had been. He looked around for a while, then he found the spider peeping out from behind a branch.
“I am sorry for breaking your home, Spider. You are wonderful and you make the world a better place. I will tell everyone to look after you from now on,” said Menzi.
Then Menzi went home.
When he was in the forest the next day, he saw that a new web hung between the two trees. It looked beautiful in the morning sun. Menzi smiled and greeted the spider.
“Thanks for gobbling up all those mosquitoes last night,” said Menzi.
The spider lifted its tiny leg and waved, but Menzi did not see. He walked on – around the web this time – thinking about spiders and wondering about the strange blue bird and whether he would ever see it again.