Characters: Narrator, Very Important Person, Enemies (including Leader of the Enemies), Spider, and at least four Cave Rocks.
Materials needed: Grey, silver, or white yarn
Narrator: I’d like to share a story with you today – a story about a simple little spider who did an amazing thing. You’ll find versions of this story in Christian, Jewish and Muslim traditions, and in ancient Japanese folktales, as well. In the Christian version, the baby Jesus, Mary, and Joseph are hiding from king Herod; in the Jewish version, a young David is hiding from King Saul; in the Muslim version, the prophet Muhammad and his friend Abu Bakr are hiding from a crowd of people who want to harm them, outside the city of Mecca; and in the Japanese version, the great Shogun warrior Yoritomo is hiding from his enemies. In all these stories, though, the spider is – just a spider. I’m going to need some help with the scenery…
Narrator gathers at least four people from the congregation to play the part of the Cave Rocks. Narrator positions two people standing across from each other, upstage (their hands outstretched toward each other to form the roof of the cave), and two people kneeling or sitting across from each other, downstage (they will be the cave door). Optional: some people may also play the part of Enemies, who will simply follow their Leader.
Spider begins wrapping the Cave Rocks in yarn, leaving an opening at the front of the “cave.” The Very Important Person stands to the side, observing.
Narrator: Once upon a time, a Very Important Person was watching a spider weaving her web, and the very important person thought to herself:
VIP: Why in the world did God make spiders? What good are they? They aren’t beautiful or cute. They can’t do tricks. They don’t guard the house or make anything we humans can eat or wear. They don’t sing or make interesting sounds. And those webs they’re always building are just a nuisance!
Narrator: And the little spider overheard her, but she didn’t care. She just kept working on her web.
Soon, though, the Very Important Person was in trouble. Her enemies were out to get her! She had to run and hide! She hid in the deepest, darkest cave she could find, but still she was worried that her enemies would find her. (VIP runs around and then hides inside the “cave.” Once the VIP is crouched inside, Spider begins wrapping yarn across the front of the “cave,” closing off the entrance.)
Just then, she noticed that the little spider had started building a new web at the entrance to the cave. She was afraid to shoo her away, for fear that her enemies might hear, so she just stayed very quiet and watched the spider work. In no time, the cave entrance was completely covered by the web. And it was just in time, because right then, the Very Important Person’s enemies came running up to the cave, but they didn’t go in. (Angry enemies run in, several of them following their Leader, who runs up to the entrance of the cave and peers in.)
Enemy Leader: Ick! No need to go into that cave. Look at that big spider web. It’s clear no one has been in there in a loooong time. (Frustrated, Enemies sulk offstage. VIP comes crawling out from under the web and looks back at the spider, who is still working away.)
Narrator: And the Very Important Person realized something very important that day:
Very Important Person: Wow – Spiders are the best!! So what if they’re not beautiful or cute, and can’t do tricks or sing, and can’t guard the house or make things that humans can eat or wear… the spider deserves our kindness and respect, just like all animals!
Narrator: And the spider just shrugged her many little shoulders, and said…
Spider: Eh! Just doing what spiders do… but thanks for noticing.
Narrator: Have you ever looked closely at a spider’s web? Each individual thread is so thin and delicate you can barely see it (picks up one piece of yarn), but the web itself is incredibly strong (pulls at the web; the Cave Rocks should be completely bound up at this point). And this great, strong web is made by just one, little spider, just doing what spiders do best. What the Very Important Person in our story came to understand is that every being is worthy of respect and kindness. Every being has a precious life to live. Even the littlest spider can save the life of a Very Important Person. Even the littlest spider is Very Important, too.
(Narrator cuts the yarn, releasing the Cave Rocks.)