Weaving spiders, come not here. Hence, you long legged spinners, hence!

Christine Silver as Titania in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, 1913, © National Portrait Gallery, London

Unlike Titania I have no fairies to sing me to sleep or to enact vermin control by incantation. If you’re wondering what daft line of thought I’m following I will let Mr. Shakespeare explain:

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

SCENE II. Another part of the wood.

Enter Titania, Queen of Fairies, with her train.

TITANIA 
Come, now a roundel and a fairy song;
Then, for the third part of a minute, hence—
Some to kill cankers in the muskrose buds,
Some war with reremice for their leathern wings
To make my small elves coats, and some keep back
The clamorous owl that nightly hoots and wonders
At our quaint spirits. Sing me now asleep.
Then to your offices and let me rest.

(She lies down. Fairies sing.)

FIRST FAIRY
You spotted snakes with double tongue,
Thorny hedgehogs, be not seen.
Newts and blindworms, do no wrong,
Come not near our Fairy Queen.
*
CHORUS
Philomel, with melody
Sing in our sweet lullaby.
Lulla, lulla, lullaby, lulla, lulla, lullaby.
Never harm
Nor spell nor charm
Come our lovely lady nigh.
So good night, with lullaby.
*
FIRST FAIRY 
Weaving spiders, come not here.
Hence, you long-legged spinners, hence.
Beetles black, approach not near.
Worm nor snail, do no offence.
*
CHORUS
Philomel, with melody
Sing in our sweet lullaby.
Lulla, lulla, lullaby, lulla, lulla, lullaby.
Never harm
Nor spell nor charm
Come our lovely lady nigh.
So good night, with lullaby.

*
(Titania sleeps.)

SECOND FAIRY 
Hence, away! Now all is well.
*
(One aloof stands sentinel. Fairies exit.)
*
My misadventures with things that go bump in the night began early this summer. A sentinel or two would have been welcome.
*
It all began one morning when my shower was stone cold.
*
*
Climbing down the stairs to the cellar I was surprised to see water shimmering below. The basement was flooded, what I was seeing ripple before me was a shallow cement pond holding the contents of a rusted out water heater. Shelves at the back of the cellar held our earthquake supplies. Bottled water, canned goods, and a fifty pound bag of rice wrapped in plastic and bound with tape were perilously close to being soaked. I picked up the fifty pound bag in my arms and it disintegrated — in a gnawed through shower of rice, rat droppings, and shredded plastic. I screamed, then quickly shut my mouth wondering what pathogens I was inhaling. Happily I can report I was hunky-dunky — physically. Emotionally I was steamed.
*
The mess I cleaned up with a wet vacuum, the heater was replaced with a nice new point of contact thingy that has already sent our utility bill plummeting. The rats were driven away, and for a couple of months all was good between me and the animal kingdom. Then August arrived, another fateful morning dawned and I woke with three scarlet pinpricks by the corner of my mouth. Over the course of the day they became a swollen mess and I was on antibiotics. Turns out I was a midnight snack for some tiny toxic spider.
Five weeks later and I am slated for a little blast from a laser and perhaps a cortisone shot to mitigate the scar. Here’s my advice for you, poppets — vacuum your window screens and under your mattress and be vigilant. All apologies to Charlotte, I’ve been sweeping away every spiderweb I see and last night I wrapped a rag around my broom and was bashing it against the bedroom ceiling in pursuit of my eight legged nemesis.
*
Have a safe weekend, never harm nor spell nor charm, and if you drop by tomorrow there will be another excerpt from my novel.

8 comments

  1. But with deer, come ticks? What a lot of beasties have come to bother you! I had rats in the house this winter for the first time ever. They were stealing mandarins and nuts from the lower level of a tea trolley. I removed the food supply and I haven’t seen any rat evidence since. But for all I know they could be in the attic making nice little nests out of old clothes.

    • We do have ticks, which keeps me aware of brushing against Oleander shrubs, which is a good idea in general because their sap is toxic and causes a rash. The only rats I’ve seen recently have been outside, they resemble cartoon critters, big ears, big eyes, and the larcenous one I saw was carrying off a nice plump fig. Which has turned me off picking fruit, oh well!

  2. George Kaplan

    Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to…uh, get bitten on the kisser by a skeave?! Okay maybe not. What a horrible thing to happen, Susie. I hope it clears up before you have to have the procedure. Beware, long leggity beasts, beware!
    As for the coyotes, what thoughtless neighbors!

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