Welcome back to the Lab!

And Merry Christmas! We’re diving into more folklore this week with the legend of the Christmas Spider! This tale has its origins in Eastern Europe, and tells the story of how we began decorating our trees with tinsel. The legend begins:

Once upon a time, long ago, a gentle mother was busily cleaning the house for the most wonderful day of the year…. Christmas! Not a speck of dust was left. Even the spiders had been banished from their cozy corner in the ceiling to avoid the housewife’s busy cleaning. They finally fled to the farthest corner of the attic.

At last it was Christmas Eve. The tree was decorated beautifully and the children were delighted. But the spiders, banished to the attic, were most unhappy that they could not see the special tree. The oldest and wisest spider suggested the spiders wait until the family fell asleep to sneak down from their attic hideaway to see the tree in all its glory.

Once the family retired to their slumber, the spiders crept silently into the room, one by one. The tree towered so high they could not see the top. In fact, the spiders’ eyes were so small they could only see one ornament at a time. To get a better look they scurried up the trunk and over every branch. They were filled with joy as they danced among the branches, leaving a trail of silk behind them. By the time they were through climbing and inspecting, the Christmas tree was shrouded in their webs!

When Santa Claus came with the gifts for the children, he saw the tree covered with spider webs. He smiled as he saw how happy the spiders were. But he knew how heartbroken the mother would be if she saw the tree covered with the dusty webs. So with a wave of his hand, he turned the webs to silver and gold.

Hearing the sounds of the family stirring, the tiny creatures deserted the tree and retreated to their attic hideaway. From down below came the sounds of delighted children. The tree was shining with the golden garland in the Christmas Day sun! It sparkled and shimmered, and was even more beautiful than before. Ever since then, we have decorated our trees with tinsel and some families even include a spider ornament amongst the branches.

Until next time, Merry Christmas, and thanks for visiting the lab!

Bug Wrangler Brenna

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