Stories: Beware the spiders! - Acautelai-vos das aranhas!
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|First Ingles then Portuguese!
Once upon a time
When I was in the great city of Uberaba in the state of Minas Gerais, my companion Elder Bradley Bishop and I decided to visit a jungle preserve area that was close to the edge of town. It was fenced off and had developed neighborhoods all around the area. On our P-day we walked to the entrance and went in. There was dense growth and the trees almost completely blocked out the sun. There was a little path that was carved out through the growth. We walked down the path and it led to a bench. The bench was pretty messy with dirt and leaves and spider webs and stuff so we decided not to sit on the bench. We noticed several thick yellow/orange strings (looked like fish line) that were hanging over the path with sticks tied to the bottom. We pretty much just walked around them. On the way back they were getting annoying so I raised my hand back to swat one out of the way, when I got the distinct impression not to hit the stick. (Always listen to the spirit!) I stopped my arm from swinging and slowly followed the string up with my eyes to see where it was coming from. I had assumed it was from silly kids throwing them up and wrapping them in the trees being vandals! Boy was I wrong! I saw they were all hanging from huge spider webs with several large spiders hanging onto it. We walked away a distance from the web that I was under and I picked up a stick about a foot and a half long and at least an inch thick. I threw it up in the web to knock it down, against the advice of my senior companion. (Always listen to your senior companion!) It did not knock the web down but instead it stuck in the web! All the spiders immediately ran over to the stick and started climbing all over it. Then they just slowly spread back out over the web.
The fact that this web was so strong that a stick of this size and weight would just stick to the web and get stuck was enough to just about freak me out. The jungle area was dark and eerie anyway so we followed the path back out being very careful to stay well clear of the rest of these yellow thick spider webs hanging down with sticks tangled and hanging from them.
Now, thinking about this many times during the rest of my mission I had drawn the conclusion that the reason these sticks were hanging down was because these webs were pretty big and housed a whole family of spiders instead of just one. With a web that size (about 15-20 feet wide by almost 10 feet up and down) they could stretch it from above and all sides from the trees. The large length stretching across the bottom had nothing to tie it to though. I assumed that the sticks hanging down from the bottom of the web (about 2-3 sticks from each web) were for the purpose of helping to stretch out the web from the bottom and keep it stable.
After I had returned from my mission a few years, I met up with Elder Lyle Nielson who lives close by and also served in this same fine mission. We were sharing stories from our mission and I told him this story about the spiders. He asked me if I knew why those sticks were hanging from the web. I shared my theory about stretching out the web. He told me that he had been warned about these spiders while still in Brasil. These sticks were always hanging directly over the path at just about shoulder to hip height. I had noticed this. The purpose was that in the jungle there are animals and cows that make paths going to water holes and stuff and the spiders would hang the sticks from their webs over the path and wait for the cows to brush against the sticks and shake the web above. At that time all the spiders would drop out of the web and attack the animal and keep biting it until their venom had killed the animal. Apparently this does not even take very long. Then all the spiders would eat and lay their eggs in the corpse.
Moral of the story: Listen to the spirit and don't hit the stick!
I will post a Portuguese version as a separate story. Sorry this turned out so long.
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