The Legend of the Christmas Spider
(A folk legend from Germany and the Ukraine)
Once upon a time, long ago, a gentle mother was busily cleaning the house for the most wonderful day of the year... the day on which the Christ child came to bless the house. Not a speck of dust was left. Even the spiders had been banished from their cozy corner in the ceiling to avoid the housewife's busy cleaning. They finally fled to the farthest corner of the attic.
T'was the Christmas Eve at last! The tree was decorated and waiting for the children to see it. But the poor spiders were frantic, for they could not see the tree, nor be present for the Christ child's visit. But the oldest and wisest spider suggested that perhaps they could peep through the crack in the door to see him. Silently they crept out of their attic, down the stairs, and across the floor to wait in the crack in the threshold. Suddenly, the door opened a wee bit and quickly the spiders scurried into the room. They must see the tree closely since their eyes weren't accustomed to the brightness of the room... so they crept all over the tree, up and down, over every branch and twig and saw every one of the pretty things. At last they satisfied themselves completely of the Christmas tree's beauty.
But alas!! Everywhere they went they had left their webs, and when the little Christ child came to bless the house he was dismayed. He loved the little spiders, for they were God's creatures too, but he knew the mother, who had trimmed the tree for the little children, wouldn't feel the same, so He touched the webs and they all turned to sparkling, shimmering, silver and gold!
Ever since that time, we have hung tinsel on our Christmas trees, and according to the legend, it has been a custom to include a spider among the decorations on the tree.