Thursday, December 07, 2006

Kum Ba Ya--Part 2

All afternoon, while the rest of the girls spent their free time swimming, canoeing and what not, little Becky made friends with that goliath tarantula. Myself, I couldn't get used to the idea of a giant spider crawling on my skin, let alone one the size of a dinner plate; but Becky took to the critter like it was a big, fluffy kitten. She even gave it a name--Mondo.

Well, enough of all that. You want to hear about the night that folks around these parts still talk about to this day. You see, the last thing before turning in, the tradition was then, and I'm pretty sure it still is today, that they build a big campfire, sing songs and drink hot cocoa. Then, on the very first night, the camp director stands up and tells a scary tale. Since Ol' Pete was laid-up, the duty fell to me.


The fire had burned down mostly to coals, and the dying flames gave off only enough light to cast eerie shadows on our faces. I held my flashlight against my chest, pointed it up at my chin and turned it on. A few girls giggled and more than one screamed, but most put on a brave face, although their eyes were wider than normal.

"This is the story of Mondo, queen of the spiders," I said in a grim tone. "It was a hundred years ago, somewhere in these very woods, a wagon train stopped on their way out west. Now on this wagon train there was a passel of kids, in all shapes and sizes, but there was only one Becky Lu. It turned out that Little Becky Lu was special because everywhere she went, wild animals would come right up to her.

"Now this made some of the other kids jealous. They ganged up on her, said mean things and loved to make her cry. No matter how hard Becky Lu tried to be nice to them, those kids just grew meaner and meaner. It got so that none of the other kids would play with her for fear those mean kids would pick on them too. Poor Becky got so lonely it broke her heart in two and she cried herself to sleep almost every night. Then one day she prayed for God to send her a friend all her own, someone who would protect her from all the mean kids."

I looked, and every eye belonging to the girls in Becky's group looked sad and guilty, that is, all of them but Mrs. McGraw. Her eyes burned holes right through me. She knew I was talking about her group, and she didn't like it one bit. (Well, if she'd only stopped the behavior, I wouldn't be tellin' this tale right now.)

"Then one night not far from here, the people from that wagon train was sitting around a campfire, just like this one. Some say God answered Becky Lu's prayer by sending an angel, and others say it weren't no kind of angel at all. But that very night Mondo, the giant queen spider dropped down from a tree and landed on top of Becky Lu's head.

"Mondo just sat there as friendly as can be. She liked Becky Lu. But when those ornery kids went to bed--oh, ho-ho, it was a different story! Mondo was busy all night. The meanest of those kids were found in the morning, all wrapped up like mummies in a cocoon of spider webs. Oh, they didn't die. Becky Lu wouldn't let Mondo eat them. But the giant spider did crawl all over their bodies while they was wrapped up. Might even have taken a nibble or two."

I looked around the campfire at all the girls, my voice lowering to a hush. "Don't you forget Mondo still lives in these woods. Now. To this very day."

Suddenly--a cry sounded on my right. The girls all screamed bloody murder and leapt to their feet. I whipped the flashlight around. Becky jumped from the shadows--with a huuuuge spider on top of her head.

"Ahhhhh!" I yelled. "It's Mondo!"

Becky ran into the midst of the stumbling girls. Mondo jumped from her head right onto Mrs. McGraw's face. Half blinded, she ran in circles like a chicken with its head chopped off. The girls screamed all the louder. Mondo got so excited, she jumped from one face to another. Some of those girls got so scared, they fell right down to the ground. The rest of 'em blazed trails to their cabins.

Finally, only Becky and I were left.

Mondo was gone. We looked but couldn't find her.

We knew where she'd gone. Into the woods. Where she'd wait and watch, looking for any girl who just might be mean to a fellow camper. Anybody who acted mean would bring the wrath of Mondo down on her head--literally. The next morning at breakfast that's exactly what I told the girls. They believed me, too. Some of 'em were still shakin' from the night before.

You wouldn't believe how nice those girls were to each other for the rest of the camp. Becky especially made a lot of new friends. Nobody wanted to mess with Becky.

I'd say that was the best $12.50 I ever spent.

--Wilbur Hucks

Posted by ~ Bailey Truitt @ 7:00 AM
Well, after reading part 2, I suppose you are an ornery soft heart. How's that?

Enjoyed the story, Wilbur.
Posted by Anonymous elizabeth monty : 10:08 PM
Wilbur, you're a hoot!
Posted by Anonymous Buddy Badwartski : 11:09 PM
Wilbur, twenty five years ago I went hunting up north of Kanner Lake, and I could have sworn I'd seen Mondo perched atop a moose, alongside a flying squirrel...
Posted by Blogger The Curmudgeon's Rant : 11:28 PM
lol. That'll teach those kids and teacher a thing or two. Love it. Too bad little Becky didn't get to keep the spider as a pet. That would have been way cool.

Wilbur, you're a character. :)
Posted by Blogger Rulan : 12:30 AM
LOL, that was the best, Your Good , or should I say Bad Wilbur!:)
Posted by Blogger jel : 5:24 AM
Hm. I don't think tarantulas normally live in northern Idaho. If "The Curmudgeon's Rant" saw a tarantula there, it indeed had to come from Wilbur. Although how does it live through the winter? Has it adapted? Evolved? Is it a tarantula of superior race?

Hey, S-Man. Can you use this in your sci-fi novel?
Posted by Anonymous r.j. hager : 9:22 AM
Funny, I was just about to write my own comment when I saw the one above. I agree with R.J. Hager.

I also have to agree with Elizabeth Monty. Wilbur's a "conundrum," as she said yesterday. An entertaining one, however.
Posted by Anonymous fred wiley : 9:23 AM
Um, I just have to say, as a teenage girl, that if a tarantula landed on my head when I was at a camp at age nine, I'd be OUT OF that camp that very night! I'd be screaming to my mom to come get me.

Please, S-Man. DON'T use the tarantula.
Posted by Anonymous carly suggs : 9:25 AM
Wilbur, oh, my. Only you would do something like this. Don't ever get mad at me, okay?
Posted by Blogger Sarah Wray : 4:07 PM
Okay, Wilbur, I've got $20 to put on the table. I'm looking for an even bigger tarantula than you found, and when I find it, I'm coming after you.
Posted by Anonymous carla radling : 10:41 PM
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