The Web of Friendship
Once upon a time in beautiful forest far-far away lived a poor widow and her five children. It was Christmas Eve, and because the summer had seen little rain, the woman fretted and worried about food for her family. She went to bed that night with a heavy, sad heart.
Thoughts of the family gathering for a special holiday feast around a beautiful tinseled and candle lite Christmas tree that had traditionally adorned their cabin were now just a distant warm memory.
All summer the widow and her children worked hard to grow enough fruit and vegetables for the winter. They never hurt the animals that lived in the forest around them, oh no! The widow taught her children that all that lived in the woods had loving spirits, not just the animals, but even the rocks, and the trees. She explained to them that "all" were of Mother Earth and must be respected. Treated with loving gratitude, they would protect Mother Earth. And so the small family remained at peace with and watched over the living forest in which they lived.
One summer evening a giant spider was spotted by the youngest boy who was about to stomp on the creature. For he was young and did not remember well the lessons of his mother. His mother stopped him and gathered her children around explaining, "Do not hurt that precious spider, for when spiders are around all other bothersome bugs are at bay. Also," She went on, "spiders are very-very-very good luck, their beautiful and delicate webs are strong enough to catch good fortune in the winds. So when a spider builds a web in your home or near your home, the fortune is yours, as spiders are in no need of such things." She finished happily.
Now while all this was happening, the wise old owl of the woods sat quietly in a tree above the family watching and listening, and he was delighted. So that winter when he heard of the caring family's troubles he gathered his woodland family and told them of a long forgotten, hidden treasure. They all decided on a plan.
The next day the family awoke on Christmas morning to discover that a spider had covered their tree in a dazzling, shimmering web. The owl had brought the long-lost golden coins that the spider weaved into the web, so the tree sparkled and gleamed like a gem. Other forest animals brought chestnuts for roasting and branches for a friendly warm fire. The widow and children brought out all the apples and other vegetables they had stored. The greatest of friendships formed on that Christmas Day!