FAT STANLEY, THE SPIDER WHO STOPPED SPINNING
For as long as the townsfolk could remember, Fat Stanley the
spider had proudly exhibited his intricate museum quality spider webs in a
corner inside the front window of the junk shop window on Main Street to
please the artistic eye of critical passers by. “Nuthin’ wrong with them
webs”, they would say. “Don’t hurt no one. He be a simple spinner is all.”
But Fat Stanley was much more than a simple spinner of webs. He
was also a spinner of his own stories. And inside each carefully crafted web
he had hidden one because the solitary spider had no one to tell them to. So
the stories remained silent secrets that made only him happy.
“Gotta’ spin, gotta’ spin Gotta’ spin, oh yes I do. Gotta’ spin, then spin again ‘Cause spinning’s what I’m into,”
the busy spider would blissfully sing as his endless silken thread spun
countless webs with their stories onto his little loom. Day after day, year
after year. Holidays included.
But as time passed, things changed. And so did Fat Stanley. He became compulsive. He spinned and he spun and he spun and he spun over and over and over again until his multitudes of webs with their stories draped themselves across the entire front window in thick gauzy layers of net enshrouding the entire junk shop in an eerie transparent veil of spidery lace. “Tarnation, Fat Stanley,” the townsfolk started to complain, “you are
out of control!” And they were right. The maniacal spider was so obsessed
with his spinning he just couldn’t stop. He simply did not know how. Until
one fateful day his thread ran out.
So sobbing a final farewell to his life’s greatest passion, the heart-
broken spider put away his loom and the webs with all their untold stories
forever. Then he mournfully enmeshed himself into a broody cocoon of
total forgetfulness singing one last time.
“No need to spin, spinnin’s no-win Spinnin’s what I did before. No need to spin ever again No need to spin anymore.”
Fat Stanley was a long time dangling on that last bit of silken thread.
His delicate webs spun in such passionate devotion became blanketed with
dust. And the stories woven inside them went untold and forgotten in the
musty junk shop. Folks came and went with their precious junk. But no
one noticed him anymore.
Finally someone said, “Fat Stanley, this simply will not do. It grieves us all to see such a talented spider as yourself swaying back and forth in the mid-day air day in and day out doing nothing. Get on with life. Do something constructive The pouting spider would raise a scornful eyebrow, stifle a bored
yawn with one of his eight twiggy feet then glumly ask, “And just what
might that be?” Then he would return to his sulky dangling position with
even greater determination than before.
Late that night, long after the last customer had left the junk store,
Fat Stanly had a dream. And in his dream he saw the vision of a splendid
castle with lofty turrets and towers and soaring spires and steeples spun
entirely out of his delicate spider webs that drifted high above him,
lighter than the air in which it was suspended. Truly, it was the most
beautiful thing he had ever seen. So he said to his dream, “I must have
you!” Then he set to work. Quickly he got out his loom, removed the
hidden stories from their old webs and recycled that webbing into a brand
new thread. Then switching his spinner to a thicker triple-threaded web
cord, he furiously braided, plaited, twisted, twined, knotted, knit, tied and
purled it ‘round and around until he had skillfully woven that single strand
into a tight, double-duty, elegantly tapestryed net of such overwhelming
beauty the town folk were enthralled to see it in the window the next
The glorious spider-webbed castle now stretched artfully across the
And sitting proudly in its midst was Fat Stanley, back at the his loom. And
he was singing. Gotta’ spin, gotta Gotta’ spin, oh yes I do. Gotta’ spin,then spin again ’Cause spinin’s what I’m into.”
“Fat Stanley, you’re back at it again!” someone congratulated.
“ ‘Natch,” mumbled the industriously spider absent mindedly as he busily tied off yet anther ornately filigreed turret high atop the already
towering tenth story of spires and steeples in the seven-wing spread of his
ever expanding castle paradise. “Like it?” “Love it!” someone else said. “Your best work yet!”
“But where’d you get the thread?” another asked.
“Why, I recycled my old webs, of course,” the spider blithely
explained. “Then I simply switched my spinner to a stronger, single-
stranded, double-duty, triple-threaded web cord. That’s all. . . “Oh”, he
added as an afterthought, “and all my stories that were hidden in them are
growing in front of the shop. They should be blooming soon. It’s almost
Fat Stanley’s eight spindly spider legs stepped him backwards so
the town folk could better admire his fabulous creation. Just at that
moment, a sudden gust of mischievous wind broke off a huge branch from
the Story Tree outside and sent it hurtling through the junk shop’s front
window scattering shattered glass everywhere. Then, barely missing the
stunned spider directly in its path, the wayward branch boomeranged
straight through his grand new castle, crashed to the floor and landed thud!
in the middle of its ruins.
“My castle!” raged the angry spider as it collapsed around him.
“Not my superbly ravishing castle of radiantly supreme architectural
perfection!” he screamed. “No! No! No!” he implored the thoughtless
wind which wouldn’t listen. It whipped up a few more gusts before
finally whooshing back through town at hurricane speed. “Not my
gorgeously magnificent, eternally beloved ode to pure poetry and
amorous delight!” Fat Stanley wailed after it. “My Masterpiece!”
But it was gone. Neither the determination of the broken-hearted
spider nor the strength of his strongest thread could have staved off this
disastrous catastrophe his vision had fallen upon. The greatest creation of
his life now hung tangled around him in ugly strands of stringy ruin!
Fat Stanley dismally surveyed the devastation surrounding him,
absorbing it with large, sad, buggy eyes. “There you have it, then,” he
finally sighed with solemn acceptance to no one in particular, for all the
townsfolk had gone home. “Whatever shall I do now?”
He stared absent mindedly out the window at those stories still
growing on his beloved Story Tree in front of the junk shop. Just then, in
a sudden rush from its rustling leaves, something called his name. It was
the Story Tree. And it was telling him what to do. He listened.
“Yes,” he agreed. “I shall now enter my garret period!” Fat Stanley
proclaimed grandly donning a smock and a black artists beret. So once
again, with even greater determination than before, he resolutely set about
re-weaving the webs from his ravaged castle into a simple, cozy attic loft
with an adjoining workshop and gallery high up inside a top front corner of
the junk shop window overlooking his beloved Story Tree. And all the
Townsfolk who greatly admired the spunk of the steadfast little spider
graciously allowed him a wide range of room to work, for they were well
aware of Fat Stanley’s expansive ways.
Now there in this modest space he can still be found happily spinning
his fabulous webs into such famous tapestries of unearthly elegance and
delight that he sells them to fine art collectors from all over the world.
But always at a fair price.
Ah! But his stories he saves and grows out there on his beloved
Story Tree. And when it blooms each spring, the contented spider sits
beneath it reading them to all the enthralled children lucky enough to hear
them. For those stories he created and saved so long ago now save and
create themselves anew for others each day of the many days given to
Fat Stanley in his long and happy spidery life.
© Copyright 2016 Joan Simon. All rights reserved.