“Oh, look at that great ugly spider!” said Ann;
And screaming, she brushed it away with her fan;
“‘Tis a frightful black creature as ever can be,
I wish that it would not come crawling on me.”

“Indeed,” said her mother, “I’ll venture to say,
The poor thing will try to keep out of your way;
For after the fright, and the fall, and the pain,
It has much more occasion than you to complain.

“But why should you dread the poor insect, my dear?
If it hurt you, there’d be some excuse for your fear;
But its little black legs, as it hurried away,
Did but tickle your arm, as they went, I dare say.

“For them to fear us we must grant to be just,
Who in less than a moment can tread them to dust;
But certainly we have no cause for alarm;
For, were they to try, they could do us no harm.

“Now look! it has got to its home; do you see
What a delicate web it has spun in the tree?
Why here, my dear Ann, is a lesson for you:
Come learn from this spider what patience can do!

“And when at your business you’re tempted to play,
Recollect what you see in this insect to-day,
Or else, to your shame, it may seem to be true,
That a poor little spider is wiser than you.”

Vintage illustration by Kate Greenaway for The Spider - poems for kids

Vintage illustrations by Kate Greenaway

Header illustration by iff.



1. Anne’s mother notes that the spider has a better reason to be afraid of Anne than she does. Can you think of any other animals that might have a better reason to be afraid of you, than you of them?

2. When a spider bites, why do you think it does this?


3. Some animals can hurt you, and others can’t. How do you think is the best way to treat animals that can hurt you? How about animals that can’t?