The Spider’s Parlour


“Will you walk into my parlour?” said a spider to a 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 pretty things to shew when you are there.”
“Oh no, no!” said the little fly, “to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair can ne’er come down again.”

Edna Tichenor as “Arachnida, the Human Spider” in Tod Browning’s 1927 silent film THE SHOW

Said the cunning spider to the fly, “Dear friend, what shall I do,
To prove the 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 to 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.”

A paranormal monster in the 1907 French silent horror film HOUSE OF GHOSTS (La maison ensorcelée) by Segundo de Chomón. Clips from the film were used in the 2014 movie THE BABADOOK.

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.

Edna Tichenor (as Arachnida, the Human Spider) and John Gilbert in the 1927 silent Tod Browning horror film THE SHOW, one of several of Browning’s films to feature a carnival backdrop. (Silent and Pre-Code Horror)

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 give heed:
Unto an evil counsellor, close heart, and ear, and eye,
And take a lesson from this tale, of the Spider and the Fly

— Mary Howitt (1829)

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