The other night I was in bed, all tucked up and reading my book while my husband snored away happily beside me. All was still and relatively quiet (except for the snoring). Suddenly from the corner of my eye something moved. It was a spider – a large one and he scuttled across the floor And under a chest of drawers. I dug my beloved in the ribs


a big hairy spider has just crawled under the chest of drawers,” I said in my best damsel in distress voice.

shut up and go back to sleep” was the response and the snoring resumed.

So I did what I normally do when my husband won’t engage with me, I grabbed my phone and sought sympathy and reassurance from Twitter.

The response was not entirely as I would have liked. I did get some kindness and understanding. Some helpfully advised me to just relax as spiders are not really into engaging with us humans. Others thought it appropriate it send me photos of huge hairy spiders and shared with me tales of spiders making nests and spawning thousands of new spiders in the night Time!

Spiders are my least favourite creepy crawly. I think it is because I usually can’t tell which way they are facing and because of the way they move – suddenly and erratically. But we do live with them, especially at this time of year when they move indoors and up plugholes to sit in our baths.

What did our ancestors think about spiders? What nuggets of spider wisdom can be found in folklore?

Most people know that spiders are linked with money. Apparently if a spider crosses your palm you will receive a windfall. The larger the spider and the later in the day your encounter, the more money that is on your way. On that basis I should be winning the Lottery this weekend.

Killing spiders is often seen as bad luck. You will be told you will lose money, your house will never be clean and in our family we believed it would cause it to rain.

There is a rhyme that goes….

If you wish to live and thrive

Let the spider run alive

Can I suggest that you learn that off – and erase from your brain the other cruel one…

Spider, Spider on the wall

Ain’t you got no sense at all

Ain’t you got no mom and dad

Squishy squashy, that’s too bad.

In Native American folklore Grandmother Spider was credited with bringing light to the world. The story goes that in the early times, all was dark because the sun was on the other side of the world. The animals decided that people needed to see so they set about bringing the sun back. The Possum and the Buzzard both tried and failed. Finally Grandmother Spider said that she would go and fetch the light back.

Using her legs she made a bowl of clay. She rolled this bowl across the world, weaving a web as she went. She found the sun and carefully placed it in the bowl and then following her web she returned, spreading light all the way.

There now – doesn’t that story change the way you think about spiders? Next time you meet one, remember she is Grandmother Spider who brought the light to the world.

However an old Wiccan piece of folklore suggested that if a witch eats a spider sandwiched between two pieces of bread, her powers will be increased dramatically. Ha – I’ve gone and spoiled it all now, haven’t I!

Hairy spider sandwich anyone?

This post comes without a photo for obvious reasons

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Writing and Talking.... on the radio, on the telly and in the papers. Debut book out in Spring 2022


  1. Thanks for reminding me of the spider poem. The first two lines of the version I learned were a little different:

    “Little spider on the wall/ Ain’t you got no home at all…”

    But the punchline is the same 🙂

    Jane Powers

  2. This is creepy, as I just woke up from a dream about a HUGE spider!

    I never hurt a spider and I am often rescuing 'rookie' spiders in our house, young ones that have spun tiny webs in totally inappropriate places.

    But I too get the eebie jeebies at the large fast moving ones and without any control over my self I run screaming like a proper girl until Joe can safely relocate it outdoors.

    I loved the grandmother spider story. 🙂

  3. Ok! Am now scratching and looking around. As I've gotten older, I mind them less and less. Nowadays I don't mind if there's one in the bedroom, unless of course, it's actually in the bed!

  4. Ooo poor you! A huge hairy spider ran up the leg of my grown-up daughter's jeans last winter!! She ran from the room screaming and pulling her jeans off as she went, despite the fact that her uncle was in the room. He looked rather shocked and we all laughed ourselves silly… with guilty feelings of schadenfreude.
    Jane Gray

  5. 1. Thank you for not having a picture with this post.

    2. Spiders are my “least favorite” also…of anything in the universe. Ever.

    3. It is now quite obvious why I can never seem to prosper as I feel I should, and why my house never seems clean!

    Before I moved to the city 4 years ago, I lived in the country in a charming house that was over 100 years old. There was much to love about the house and the location. But its worst drawback, worse even than the ability to ever actually get the house warm in the winter, was the constant presence of spiders. And not just little, easily-dismissed ones. Oh no, I'm talking about 'wolf spiders' the size of tennis balls. YOU COULD HEAR THEM WALKING ACROSS THE FLOORS!!! It was maddening. One of my greatest sources of pride is that I was able to live in that old house for many years as a single woman.

    And now I feel extremely grossed-out and on the verge of girly histrionics.

  6. I am lucky as spiders don't scare me – my pet hate are bluebottles as the noise of them does my head in, and I know they want to land their germs everywhere – also they are stupid – generalisation I know – but my opinions are my own! I was always told that spiders in your house are a good sign, as they mean you have a dry house, which isn't a bad thing to have when you think about it! Apologies for the essay, blame being sick for 2 weeks with little adult company!

  7. ha Jane… there was another one about the wall being plastered…..

    Susannah… yeah big bolshie me turns into a right girl when a spider is to be dealt with. Poss one of the reasons I got married… that and bins!!! Ha ha – only joking Sherwood.

    Carole – the one in the bed was removed.. I posted youngest child as witness…

    Jane – aghhh spider in your jeans aghhhh

    Tangled Mess – spiders you could hear walking across the floor – aghhh again.

    Of course they come up the plughole Travers – although I forget you live in Outer Mongolia – spiders are probably different there!

    HI Louise – essays always welcome – dont like bluebottles either – dirty yokes but would swap you one for a huge hairy spider

    Hazel – thanks for laughing!!!!

  8. Um, I'm scared of spiders even if they are really small, but wolf spiders! NO WAY. Ick. I won't kill them, any of them, but I surely will run screaming too. Call me a girl! 🙂
    Recently I've been dreaming of them though, constantly. They are chasing me in some, maybe or they are minding their own business and I'm just being a paranoid freak in my sleep. They keep popping up and one also has been squatting in my bathroom and closet, watching me. What is going on? I'm being stalked by a wee brown spider. Maybe she's my good luck for the New Year?–Shiree (in spidery WI)

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