Little Miss Muffet sat on her tuffet eating her curds and whey. Along came a spider and sat down beside her and Miss Muffet gave a yelp! She hated spiders: spindly, wiry, creepy, crawly things. She searched for something with which to squash it – a rock, preferably, or at minimum, a leaf so she wouldn’t get her hands dirty – but though she sat in the middle of the forest near the edge of her parents’ little cottage, she couldn’t find anything she could use to kill the nasty little thing. In the end she decided to stand up and stomp on it with her shoe. She stood up and raised her leg but then looked curiously at the arachnid – was it actually quivering in fear, a few of its arms raised above its head? And was it…was it wearing a watch?? She leaned down towards it, holding her wavy black hair back to make sure the spider wouldn’t launch itself at her and get entangled it. The closer she got to the spider, the louder she heard a tiny little squeaking murmur.
“Are you…are you saying something, spider?” she asked
“Squeak!” the spider said, nodding its head.
Miss Muffet squatted down (in a most unladylike manner) in front of the spider to study it a little more. Could it really be trying to communicate with her? And where on earth did it find such a tiny watch? And where did it get the money? Did it have a job? What kind of job could a spider do? Sewing, Miss Muffet muttered to herself, would make the most sense, what with all its expertise with spider webs.
“Are you a seamstress, spider,” Miss Muffet asked with interest.
“I am not,” squeaked the spider.
“Well then, how did you get that teeny tiny wristwatch?”
“It was a gift from one of my sons for my birthday.”
“Oh! How many sons do you have?
“One million, three hundred and twenty two.”
“My goodness. And how old were you on your last birthday?”
“Hmm. And why do you need a wristwatch?”
“Well so I’m not late, of course.”
“But late for what?”
“For my appointments! My but you are an inquisitive girl,” the spider said in a slight huff. She only wanted to get on her way to the hairdresser’s and this great beast – which had tried to kill her, no less – was holding her up to ask her these mundane questions about things that were not at all her business.
The spider tried to crawl on her way, gingerly avoiding Miss Muffet’s foot, but the girl shuffled back in the spider’s way.
“Wait, wait!” she said. “But what kind of appointments do spiders go to?”
“Listen, child, you ask entirely too many questions. I have to go, will you get out my way?”
“Miss Muffet stamped her foot impatiently. “But I want to know!”
She wasn’t used to not getting her way. She was quite a spoilt little girl. But just as she was going to repeat her question, she heard a familiar voice.
“Millie? Millicent! It’s time for lunch,” her nanny called.
“I’m coming!” she yelled back in return. She turned back to the spider and said “Well, I have to go spider.”
“Thank goodness,” the arachnid squeaked to herself.
“Will you not tell me quickly what kind of appointments spiders go to, for which they shouldn’t be late?”
“I don’t think I will, little girl. I’d like to be on my way,” the spinner said as it inched its way along the tuffet towards Miss Merple’s Web and Hair shop.
“Harrumph!” huffed Little Miss Muffet. “Well, if you’re going to be like that!”
And in a bratty little rage, she stomped on the spider, squashing it with her boot, before making her way home for tea and crumpets.