Why Spiders are Found on the Ceiling

When Hungry Season came Spider and his wife grew very thin. One day as Spider was searching for food in the forest he came on a little stream, and here he met a man who said:

“If you whistle the song of the Pepper Bird three times I will supply you with all the food you want, and you can come her as often as you wish. But never eat the kernel of a palm nut here.”

Spider quickly whistled the Pepper Bird’s song three times, and all kinds of food appeared before him. He ate and ate till he could eat no more, then went home empty-handed and abused his wife because she had no food for him.

Spider went to the stream two or three times every day; he became fat, and his wife wondered why. She sought the advice of a Medicine Man, and the Medicine Man told her what she should do.

She boiled a piece of elephant skin, and when she gave it to her husband she said an elephant had been killed in a distant place. Greedy Spider ate the skin and hurried away to find the elephant, for elephant meat is good to eat and grows in large quantities. While he was away his wife went to the stream, on the Medicine Man’s advice, and whistled the song of the Pepper Bird three times. She filled her house with food, then broke the magic law by eating the kernel of a palm nut near the stream.

Spider searched for days and found no elephant, for the simple reason that there was no elephant to find, and half crazy with hunger he hurried to his home. When he came to the stream he whistled the song of the Pepper Bird three times, but nothing happened. He whistled more loudly. He whistled as loudly as he possible could, but the stream just sang its song and nothing happened.

Spider sadly went home and begged his wife for food; but as her children had died from hunger several days before she was feeling very angry with her husband. She beat him with a stick and he ran away. She told him never to come back. Early next morning Spider lay down outside the house, pretending to be dead. His wife found him, and thinking he was dead she buried him a little way from the kitchen. Spider lay in the ground until night fell, then climbed inside the kitchen and ate all the food he could.

He did this every night until his wife began to wonder who was stealing the food at night. She went to the Medicine Man, and on his advice she made a boy from beeswax and left him in the kitchen. Spider came again that night, and as he was eating he saw the boy.

“What are you doing in here?” he demanded. “Are you a thief?”

The wax boy did not answer, so Spider slapped his face. Spider’s hand stuck. He tried to get his hand free, but his other hand stuck too, and so did all his feet. He was still there in the morning when his wife came. She seized a stick and thrashed him until he bled, but finally he managed to struggle free of the wag and scurried up to wall of the hut to hide high in the ceiling.

And Spider is still there today, catching flies and insects, frightened to come down.