Petunia May Tarantula

Once upon a time three tarantulas were out walking. A mother, a father and their daughter, Petunia May.

After quite a while, they came to the edge of a tall cliff.

Wind blew, and made the spiders shiver in the breeze.

“What’s this?” said Petunia May Tarantula.

“This is a cliff” said her father.

“Yes and we mustn’t get too close to the edge.” advised her mother.

Petunia May Tarantula would not listen to her mother, though she was of an age that suggested she had better.
She felt that she was ready to undertake most anything, and scowled at her parent’s soft remarks, and balked at all their cautionings.

So Petunia May Tarantula stepped closer to the edge of the cliff.

“Oh my!” cried her mother, her face awake with fear.

“Petunia May Tarantula, come back here this instant! If you get to close to the edge of this cliff, you will surely fall!”

Petunia May Tarantula, who would not listen to her mother, smiled a little and said “I will not fall.”

And stepped closer to the edge.

“Oh dear, Oh dear!” Cried her mother, her legs trembling, and four eyes closed, while four others filled with tears…

“Petunia May Tarantula Come back here this instant! Surely you will fall, and we will never see you again!”

“Listen to your mother” said her father calmly.

But Petunia May Tarantula would not listen to her mother.

And with a defiant little jaunt, she stepped closer to the edge of the cliff.

Her mother was overcome with horror.

She cried out and covered all eight of her eyes with each one of her legs and shrieked “Petunia May! Petunia May! Come back here this instant!”

Her father was quite serious, issued a threatening tone, “Petunia May Tarantula, you must listen to your mother. You are our only daughter, for you do not have a brother. This cliff is very dangerous, it is wide and tall, and if you get to close to it, you will surely fall.”

But Petunia May Tarantula would not listen to her mother, and with an equal measure of conceit would not listen to her father speak.

And she stepped closer to the edge of the cliff.

She had arrived at the very edge of the cliff, smiling slightly, rubbing her soft front legs together, and staring defiantly at her parents.

“Petunia May Tarantula!” cried her father who was getting quite upset. “If you will not come back to the safety of our company, I am sure that you will perish.”

“The cliff is very tall, and surely you will fall.”

“Oh dear! Oh dear! Oh dear!” cried her mother.

“Please, please, please my darling daughter, come back to me, and the safety of your family.”

But Petunia May Tarantula would not listen to her mother.

She would not listen to her father.

She did as she pleased.

And so, with the next gust of wind…

she fell.

And never saw her family again.



  1. erin:

    that reminds me of abigail and the very sad pony by shel silverstein. i bet petunia may wouldn’t have been swayed by butter pecan ice cream either!


  2. gino:

    wow, for some reason, as i read
    i could see this all happening and
    then felt sad at the end.

    nice one sunshine.



  3. erin:

    know whatcha mean gino – i kept hoping that she wouldn’t walk to the edge and if she did that she wouldn’t fall off. :(

  4. moonbeam:

    yeah, i was very disturbed that she fell of the edge. made me very sad….

    i guess that’s what happens in real life, though, huh?

    poor petunia…

  5. Thank you for reading.

    We were playing bugs at the dinner table and my son likes me to tell stories with the bugs. I love to do it. So i thought of a few “morality” lessons in the form of bugs.

    this is the first of a series of four.

    I’m sad that Petunia May fell off the cliff as well. I suppose that falling off the cliff is a metaphor, and that while the tragedy of defiant children coddled by their parents transcends this little tale, it is positive in that when a child reaches an age where they become autonomous, they step to the edges of things, and eventually have to jump, and fall.

    like the first time you snuck out your window, or ran away from home. perhaps you waited until you were in college, but i think everyone falls, sooner or later.

    this is a horror story for parents, a morality lesson for children, and a cool story about spiders for young people, about to find themselves in a similar position themselves.

    if the spider made you sad, just wait until i get a minute to write the grasshoppers…




  6. Oh, I gasped at the end!

    Even in my adulthood, I am still teetering on the edge of the cliff.


  7. jack:

    Poor Petunia. I imagined that your family were stimulants for the story. Brought back to mind a Pop Pops who did not mind his grandson who tumbled down some front steps two weeks ago, much to Pop Pops horror!
    I neared the end and hoped that Petunia, being a smart spider, had anchored a tuft of silk to the rock, just in case. But maybe Tarantulas don’t spin silk.

  8. No, i think the source for this one goes back fruther than the other week, but i hope that i was being more truthful, and more universal than even that.

    the “fall” is a metaphore.

    if my pen is a weapon, it’s a weapon of love.

    : )


  9. fritz:

    but, unless tarantulas are especially fragile, isn’t there a chance that petunia would survive the fall by landing on a crag?
    Perhaps starting a new life with confidence gained from having taken a risk, or perhaps a sense of destiny/purpose/ gratitude / wisdom from having narrowly escaped being eaten by a fish or a sea-otter?

    Is it possible that petunia outgrew the superstitions of her parents and “stepped into the abyss”…. perhaps she died, but did so with some fundamental knowledge about the world concerning the folly and absurdity of all existence?

    I’m thinking you could drop a spider from 5000 ft and it wouldn’t incur much damage…

    I relate to petunia, I essentially did EVERYTHING my parents warned me not to… as a RULE… Maybe I needed to feel the thrill of knowing that at certain points in time, my life was in jeapardy/ in the hands of fate.

  10. joera:

    maybe the cliff was just a ditch, you know them overprotective parents, especially the tararntula’s

    i think the rhyming tall-fall is excellent, gives it the potential to stick in the memory like ancient children’s rhymes did, before we got lazy and printed books

  11. I don’t think Petunia is dead, I was startled that she fell, but glad at the same time. She listened to her own vioce and where ever she is is fine. I do feel for her parents though. They must be heart broken.

  12. I don’t have to think too hard or long to answer the question of what might be better:

    a life ruled by fear
    or a life full of the unknown