Portugal | Pedroso: The Spider

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The Spider

THERE lived once a boy whose father and mother were desirous that he should learn some trade. He had no wish to do so, but, as his parents insisted upon it, he undertook to learn the trade of a shoemaker. But as soon as the father died he desisted from work and gave up making shoes. The mother was very angry with him for this and turned him out of doors. The boy told his mother that he would be sure to return home a rich man some day, and that he meant to marry the first female he met on his way. He took a basket with all his shoemaker's tools and went away. He journeyed many leagues through some forest and overgrown places, and meeting with a large square stone on his way he sat upon it, took out a loaf' from his basket, and began to eat. From under the stone a large spider came out, and the boy had hardly seen her when he said to her, "You shall be my wife." The spider upon hearing this crawled inside the basket, but the boy made a hole in the loaf he carried and put her in it. He walked and he walked, and he sighted at a great distance an old house. He entered it, placed the basket on the floor, and the spider came out of it and went crawling up the walls until she reached the ceiling, and commenced to make a web. The boy turned towards her and looking up said, "That is the way I like to see women, fond of work." The spider made no answer. The boy then went seeking for work at a neighbouring village. As it happened that in that village there were no shoemakers he was welcomed among them, and they gave him plenty of work to do. As the youth found that he was making a fortune he engaged a servant-maid to attend upon his wife, and brought her to the old house where the spider had remained. He furnished the house and bought a little clay stove and some plates and dishes for the dinner. He then went out and left the servant with the spider. The maid remained much astonished, and wondered still more when the spider told her to open a certain door which led to the fowl-house and kill a chicken, and afterwards to open a cupboard where she would find everything necessary for cooking and for the general use of the house. When the youth returned home he found the house swept and a dinner prepared of the best and most delicious viands. Being very pleased, he turned round to the spider and said, "See what a good choice I have made in my wife!" The spider from the ceiling threw down all manner of embroidered stuffs which she had worked for beautifying her house: and after they had lived in this way a whole year, and the youth had already become very rich, and no longer required to work at his trade, for everything he required in the way of clothing and food and everything else necessary for life always made its appearance without his knowing how, he resolved to return to his mother's house as he had promised her he would do at the end of a year. He ordered two horses to be saddled and got ready, and said to his servant, "You shall now act as my wife, because I am going to tell my mother that I am married." The maid was delighted at this and mounted the horse prepared for her and went with the youth. The spider came down from the ceiling and went to the fowl-house where she only found a cock left. She got inside it, and thus went walking behind the two on horseback. On reaching the forest they entered it, and both sat on the same stone, from under which the spider had come out before. They were looking on the ground when they saw the cock and heard it crow:

"Ki kiri ki,
Ki kiri kioh!
Here is the king,
And I am the queen oh!"

At that moment the stone, broke open in two parts, and became transformed into a splendid palace. The spider was turned into a beautiful princess and married the youth, who became king and she a queen. They then sent for the mother; while the servant-maid continued with them as lady in waiting.

The text came from:

Pedroso, Consiglieri. Portuguese Folk-Tales. Folk Lore Society Publications, Vol. 9. Miss Henrietta Monteiro, translator. New York: Folk Lore Society Publications, 1882. 
[Reprinted: New York: Benjamin Blom, Inc., 1969.]
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