By Mary Howitt
If ever there were a story for children with a terrible warning, it is this. You will find it hard to miss the moral of this classic verse from the Victorian era. Natasha reads the Spider as a silky-throated villain, who weaves his web with flattery. His victim is the gauzy-winged fly.
Colin the Carp has a different interpretation. He thinks that flies are just scrumptious.
Mary Howitt has double-fame in the realm of Children’s literature. She was the first English translator of Hans Christian Andersen.
Text of The Spider and the fly by Mary Howitt (1799 to 1888).
“Will you walk into my parlour?” said the Spider to the Fly,
‘Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy;
The way into my parlour is up a winding stair,
And I have many curious things to show you when you are there.”
“Oh no, no,” said the Fly, “to ask me is in vain;
For who goes up your winding stair can ne’er come down again.”
“I’m sure you must be weary, dear, with soaring up so high;
Will you rest upon my little bed?” said the Spider to the Fly.
“There are pretty curtains drawn around, the sheets are fine and thin;
And if you like to rest awhile, I’ll snugly tuck you in!”
“Oh no, no,” said the little Fly, “for I’ve often heard it said
They never, never wake again, who sleep upon your bed!”
Said the cunning Spider to the Fly, “Dear friend, what can I do
To prove that warm affection I’ve always felt for you?
I have within my pantry, good store of all that’s nice;
I’m sure you’re very welcome – will you please take a slice?”
“Oh no, no,” said the little Fly, “kind sir, that cannot be,
I’ve heard what’s in your pantry, and I do not wish to see!”
“Sweet creature,” said the Spider, “you’re witty and you’re wise;
How handsome are your gauzy wings, how brilliant are your eyes!
I have a little looking-glass upon my parlour shelf;
If you step in one moment, dear, you shall behold yourself.”
“I thank you, gentle sir,” she said, “for what you’re pleased to say;
And bidding good morning now, I’ll call another day.”
The Spider turned him round about, and went into his den,
For well he knew the silly Fly would soon come back again;
So he wove a subtle web in a little corner sly,
And set his table ready to dine upon the Fly.
Then he came out to his door again, and merrily did sing,
“Come hither, hither, pretty Fly, with the pearl and silver wing;
Your robes are green and purple, there’s a crest upon your head;
Your eyes are like the diamond bright, but mine are as dull as lead.”
Alas, alas! how very soon this silly little Fly,
Hearing his wily, flattering words, came slowly flitting by;
With buzzing wings she hung aloft, Then near and nearer drew, –
Thinking only of her brilliant eyes, and green and purple hue;
Thinking only of her crested head – poor foolish thing! At last,
Up jumped the cunning Spider, and fiercely held her fast.
He dragged her up his winding stair, into his dismal den
Within his little parlour – but she ne’er came out again!
And now, dear little children, who may this story read,
To idle, silly, flattering words, I pray you ne’er heed;
Unto an evil counsellor close heart, and ear, and eye,
And take a lesson from this tale of the Spider and the Fly.
An excellent selection rendered effectively and charmingly. My young granddaughters will enjoy this poem immensely. Thank you!
August 23, 2006
i ahte this story cause fly died hahahah
April 9, 2015
I love it lol
January 10, 2016
the fly died
October 2, 2016
I have loved this poem/story since I heard it as a child….now I am old and trying to remember the whole story. Am so pleased I could find it on internet. Thank you!!!! Love it! Am going to pass it on to my great grandchildren. I doubt they have heard it. Such good things have been forgotten.
October 12, 2006
I enjoyed this poem/ story…it helped my cute lil brother learn about poems!!!
May 31, 2007
this is a amazing story i listen almost everyday
August 10, 2007
September 30, 2007
this is a magnificent story and it tells a good lesson hoping that all kids will follow.
October 30, 2007
yo yo yo my name is pete
October 30, 2007
The story was awesome and I like it
February 22, 2008
It is wonderful,damesh garm
March 3, 2008
It is wonderful..
March 3, 2008
I think that this poem is wonderful because it is very realistic
April 21, 2008
[…] blog StoryNory é possível fazer o download do poema declamado, em formato MP3, com 6MB. Infelizmente, não […]
I’ve always loved this story and haven’t heard it in a while, so I said to myself, ‘To the internetz!’
October 8, 2008
I really loved this story.
I wish I really could read it all and all over again
December 21, 2008
I know I am famous but my cousin Angie told me that Storynory is the best website she ever read in her whole life
jonas sister —
December 21, 2008
This poem say’s a lot !Not only for young children,but teenagers as well.It warns them to beware of things some evil ones might say just to get them to do or go somewhere they shouldn’t.
March 9, 2009
I learnt this story from one of the West Indian Reader books as a child and always use the moral of the story when advising teenagers of the plots, schemes and devious ways of those who are up to no good. Con men are very good at this and the internet is full of them.
July 23, 2009
I love it
September 5, 2009
I love your story so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Todat my muisc teacher read it to me.Her husband wrote A song to go with it she also read it to me because she thought it is spoky for Holween.Please write back
wowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww wonderful story even though I hate spiders and flies I guess I have 2 say good bye know Natasha
October 27, 2010
that was a bad story you can do what ever you want to do
October 27, 2010
that was a good story to do something
October 27, 2010
BeAuTiFuL StOrY I HoPe cHiLdReN LeArN FrOm tHiS LeSsOn AnD So dO I
November 9, 2010
acctually i am writing a summary on it…and ive just gotten a great idea!!!
November 9, 2010
what kind of poem is this
November 10, 2010
Hi guys and girls!I invite you all to the storynory paraed and after I have a concert and everyone who wants to come gets in the limmo after the paraed.If any of you want to know more about the storynory paraed ask your questions on this page!I HOPE YOU ALL CAN COME!
JUSTIN BEIBER —
November 16, 2010
I really love this poem, its one that always sticks in your mind.. well the concept anyway ;D
December 8, 2010
this was cute if you go to artsonia . com , the elementary kids did artwork based on it .
January 14, 2011
this story was good and had a boom moral at de end
January 17, 2011
I played the fly from this poem in a skit put on by my third grade class for the entire school. It has been fifty years since I had to memorize this poem and I CAN STILL RECITE THE WHOLE THING. I loved it and now I have it for my own grandkids to enjoy.
March 2, 2011
I had to a paper about this poem when i was in school and i couldn’t get it out of my head for the life of me… i almost went crazy
Through the Looking Glass chapter one, in which Alice has fallen into the Looking Glass and finds a book upon on a table with a poem called the Jabberwocky written it. at first it appears like Hoboken gook but when, she holds it up to a mirror finds that it is written in back to front language. The poem written by Lewis Carroll is very famous and written in lexicon language which is like nonce or made up verse. See PRC Lewis Carroll lexicon and verse language.
I’m 55 years old now (2011) it was 4th. grade when we read this (1966) it was 1978 when I got the Tatoo (rightside front shoulder) and I am asked all the time “Why a spider and a Fly?” so I tell them Because it’s so becomming of me.
July 29, 2011
Listening to this poem made me a bit scary; just a bit =))
August 2, 2011
The spider and the fly by Mary Howitt, written in the Victorian era. A poem in two parts where the spider tries to charm the fly. The spider is quite cruel and the fly timid, both have strengths and weakness’.
I learned this poem long time ago when I was a child. I have concerns about my teen daughter who has just aged into a young adult and not keeping the best company with individuals. She is young and has many life plans and at the start of her career. As parents we have many concerns re: this issue and have been trying a number of avenues to withdraw her attention and direct it toward her career and the limitless opportunities. All of a sudden this morning when she walked in at 6:00 am after drinking and with spider, (oh did I mention she has to be at work at 9:00 am)the story of the spider and the fly entered my mind. (She is familiar with the story from when she was a child) I said to her, the spider is spinning the web and more and more every day, where does that put you? Very concerned mom. Hope she can relate this story to her current situation, and move forward toward the beginning of her career. Thanks!!
August 11, 2011
Dear Mom, yes, some of the Victorian poems have very good morals.
Thank you for your comment
The spider tries to lure the fly into his parlour. Lure is an old
English word to mean ‘tempting’ and parlour is an olden world for a kitchen.
Written by Mary Howett in the 1800’s the poem is Victorian in feel.
This poem by Mary J Howett is an amazing story in poetic form.
The young Spider asks the nervous fly to step into his parlour but the fly wisely is very cautious for fear the spider will ensare him in his evil web.
Thanks for listening
i love the story soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much then do when like that thank you for that that nice story by sumaya yusuf in aldermoor farm primary school in year 6
February 26, 2012
i love it i hpe you carry it on
February 26, 2012
April 15, 2012
The Spider and the fly is a wonderful poem by the Victorian poet Mary J Howett. The young fly learns to be very cautious of the spider that is invites him into his parlour. There are other Victorian poems you may enjoy including The Tyger by William Blake and The Pied Piper of Hamelin by Robert Browning
I loved it , it was soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo awesome. It was also a bit scary. But most of all, I loved how YOU SAID IT
May 4, 2012
VERY NICE NATASHA
May 4, 2012
Hello, I’m happy to find this story. I would love to see it illustrated.
June 3, 2012
As I was searching for this poem The Spider and the fly, I accidently discover storynory.com. Listen to poem and loved it. I will share it tomorrow with my students. We are teaching poetry this next week.
Thanks a million!!!!!!!!!!11
September 16, 2012
The story of the spider abd the fly is great and i love it 😉 🙂
October 7, 2012
lovely story but poor fly. Thank you
December 29, 2012
i loved it sooooooooooooooooo much that little kids would 2
i love this book because it talks about never to speak to strangers and don’t be slik or sly
April 10, 2014
this is awesome poem this give us a wonderful and teachebal lesson.
April 13, 2014
its amazing poem
April 13, 2014
This story was very awesome and interesting!!!!! It was very different than other stories. I loved the spider. He is so awesome because he is sarcastic and witty like Jack Frost. The fly was cautious for a little bit but was lured in by the sweet song.
Third Grade- FPS —
May 8, 2014
It is an adorable story !!! I loved it!!
Hi mrs Williams !!!!!
Arieanna Massey —
May 12, 2014
wow this is wooftasic aooo bark woof woof
May 30, 2014
Very interesting although I prefer cats-fluffykitten
just plain AWESOME!!!-megaben
Fluffykitten and megaben —
September 7, 2014
i also like it and read it when i was in 4 class
October 29, 2014
it is a wonderful website to learn how to read and understand many other wonderful and boring………………..stuff
November 3, 2014
Her voice seems too child friendly and it kind of annoys me.
December 1, 2014
This book is good!!!
December 11, 2014
CREEPY!! :0 :O
January 14, 2015
January 30, 2015
What’s the problem and solution about the spider and the fly?
February 1, 2015
the story is very nice who wrote thi story ”hadsoft” to them
There are many different reasons why we enjoyed this story. There were however a few reasons why we thought the story could be improved. We liked how the spider tricked the fly into being eaten. We kinda liked the story but at the same time, we did not because it was a little creepy and weird. Why does the narrator speak in a British accent? We were wondering but we also kinda like it and the spider’s voice. The story was pretty good because we liked how the spider tricked the fly but the fly keeps saying no and standing his own ground. Was the spider singing in the story? We also liked it because it was very detailed and we are learning all about using details in our paragraphs. Did the spider also live in the city? This story was an exciting and fun story because one part your heart stops beating and the other part, it was funny. Thank you for this great story, it was good and bad at the same time. For example, the voice sometimes sounded weird but it was kinda cool at the same time. They gave a lot of detail how the spider was trying to trick the fly into eating him. However, we didn’t like how the spider jumped up and put the fly in the den. The story gave us a really good feeling that it was good at the beginning but sad at the end. Those are the different reasons why we liked or did not like the story called “The Spider and the Fly.”
Mrs. Williams’ Third Grade Class March 29, 2017
Mrs. Williams' Third Grade Class —
March 29, 2017
Dear Mrs. Williams’ Third Grade Class Thank you for your feedback. This is an old poem – first published in 1829. I agree it’s a little creepy – but exciting too. The narrator’s accent is British because we are British !