Timmy and the Spider
A crack in the ceiling caught Timmy’s eye. Surely it wasn’t there yesterday? he thought.
His sister, Maisie, came in and hugged him. “Goodness me, you’re shaking,” she exclaimed.
Timmy grabbed her sleeve and cried, “Oh, Maisie, the ceiling’s going to fall on me.”
Maisie looked up to where he was pointing. “Don’t worry, Timmy. I’m sure it isn’t. It’s only a little crack.” She smiled at him and asked, “Would you like some porridge?”
“I’m fed up with porridge.” Timmy twiddled with the cord on his pyjamas and asked, “Why can’t I have something tastier?”
“I’m sorry but we don’t have anything else,” Maisie said with a sigh. “Mister Flint pays Dad such a pittance we’ve no money until payday.”
Timmy had often heard the excuse before. “I know,” he said, “but porridge is so boring.”
After Maisie had gone, he watched a large black spider with hairy legs crawl across the ceiling and onto the window. If only he could leave his bed and open the window and follow it. What adventures he would have. But his illness meant he could not walk, and had to stay in bed all the time.
Closing his eyes, he pictured himself with perfect legs, climbing a mountain, or flying to the moon on a giant broomstick, or a magic carpet. Was the moon made of cheese, as he had read in a book? If so, he would never go hungry again, for he could just break off a tiny piece every day and eat it.
“Do you want to come with me to the moon?” Timmy whispered to the spider, so Maisie could not hear. “I could put you in my pocket. But maybe you don’t eat cheese? We’ll take a few flies with us, just in case.”
Before he could start on his adventure, Maisie returned with the porridge. Timmy ate the food quickly. It had hardly any flavour, so he imagined it tasted of cheese. He had only eaten cheese once, but he had thought it to be the most delicious thing in the world.
“Thank you,” he said as he handed her the empty bowl. “I’m off to the moon now.”
Maisie looked at him in amazement. “Did you say the moon?”
He didn’t want his sister making fun of him so he said, “Oo, I meant I saw the moon last night through the window. It was ever so big. It was so close I felt I could reach out and touch it.”
Maisie kissed him and pulled his covers up to his chin, saying, “Then I’ll make sure the curtains are open for you to see it again tonight.”
The spider still sat on the window, so Timmy beckoned it with his head, closed his eyes and imagined himself flying, sitting on a leaf, his friend in his pocket.
They had almost reached the moon when he felt a jolt, and the spider crawled out of his pocket and called, “Stop!”
“Why?” asked Timmy. “We’re almost there.”
“Well, I thought I’d spin a web the rest of the way, so we’ll have something to climb down when we want to go home.”
“What a wonderful idea,” replied Timmy. “I’m so glad I brought you.”
The spider spat on two of its legs, rubbed them together, and spun an extra thick strand of web. “Off we go again,” it called, spinning ahead of Timmy until they landed on the surface of the moon.
Timmy immediately bent down and touched the ground. “Oh, it isn’t cheese, after all. It’s just rock.”
“I can’t see any flies, either,” added the spider.
“And I forgot to bring any flies,” moaned Timmy.
“Maybe we’d better go home,” said the spider. “Good job I spun the web, isn’t it?”
They slid down the web and landed back in Timmy’s bedroom. He opened his eyes. The spider turned from the window, and he felt sure it winked at him as it ran up the wall towards the crack in the ceiling and disappeared. So that was what had caused the crack. His new friend. Maybe the spider would come back the next day and they could have a different adventure.
The door opened, making him jump, and his dad came in. “Guess what, Timmy boy?” he said in his booming voice.
“Um…” Timmy tried to think what his dad’s news could be. “The moon isn’t made of cheese?”
His dad frowned. “Um, no, of course not. Anyway, you’ll never believe this, but Mister Flint has invited us to Christmas dinner at his house.”
“Dinner?” Timmy was astounded. “At his house?”
“Yes, so, come on, let’s get you dressed.” His dad sat him up.
“But I don’t have any clothes except my pyjamas,” moaned Timmy. “I haven’t left my bed for so long, nothing fits me any more.”
His dad scratched his head. “Well, I’m hoping Maisie’s going to solve that problem.”
Timmy fell back onto the pillows but soon sat up again when Maisie ran in. “I’ve borrowed some trousers and a shirt from Missus-next-door’s brother,” she cried. “They may be slightly large, but they’ll do.”
Timmy was so excited. Except for make-believe adventures, he had not left his bed for as long as he could remember, and this was a real adventure.
Through the snow his father carried him, wrapped in a warm blanket to keep out the chill, and he gasped as they reached a big house, all lit up with lights in every nook and cranny. A huge Christmas tree stood in the hallway, covered in beautiful baubles of every colour, and twinkling with pretty lights.
The table was loaded with food, the likes of which Timmy had never seen, and he ate until he thought his stomach would burst. Afterwards they sang carols, with Mister Flint playing the piano.
Later that night, as he looked through his window at the moon, he thanked God for the best adventure he had ever had.