A little further down the way, Orpheus ran into Miss
Yardley, who greeted him in traditional Mer fashion. Orpheus liked the Mermaid
lady, she was always nice to him and the other Urchins. She asked him if he had
any news on what had happened at the Dagon Temple, but he didn’t come out this
way as often, and had not heard anything. Even though he had no news, she gave
him a large silver bar. When he commented on how much it was, she said this way
he might be able to buy some boots for the winter. Orpheus looked down at his
bare feet, covered in the soot that coated the summer ground mixed with the
rain from the previous night’s storm.
“You mean boots I don’t gotta share with the Sneezer?” he
“Yes dear,” she replied. As the boy smiled, she grinned and
asked if he would tell her a story. She pulled out another bar, this time of
shiny gold. The boy had never seen so much treasure! For this, he better tell a
“I know a story, a good one. Its called ‘Spiders and
Rubies.’” He cleared his throat dramatically and began.
“Once, there was this happy old lady and she was out for a
walk and she came across this big apple tree. The story doesn’t take place in
Babbage, so there are apple trees around.” Miss Yardley giggled as he
interrupted his own story. He continued.
she was real hungry like, so whe picked an apple, but this
mean old man appeared and shouted at her. She said, “Please, I’m just a
poor ol lady and I’m real hungry and these apples look real good. I don’t have
much to share, but these flowers (oh, there are also flowers cuz its not
Babbage). I promise I’ll pay you back” But the mean ol man said no and
chased her off. Then he went home.
The next day, he woke up, grabbed his lucky pick, and headed
off to the mines. He had the brightest, shiniest, biggest rubies anyone ever
saw. No treasure room was complete without some of the ol man’s rubies. He
started to dig, but there were no rubies. He went to another spot and digged
some more. No rubies. He digged for hours and hours, but there were no rubies.
So he went home.
He went out to pick some apples for dinner, and when he was
there, he remembered the old lady. he was furious!
Orpheus made an angry face to illustrate how furious the man
was, which drew another giggle from Miss Yardley, who sat and listened to the
story, along with Mr. Harker, the Tiger, who had also been out for a walk.
He thought it was her fault he didn’t find any rubies. He was
so sad because he should have given her an apple. so he picked his apples and
went inside. As he was lighting the fire to boil those apples, he heard
something scuttling. Suddenly…
Orpheus waited a moment, allowing the tension to build
before shouting, “THERE WERE A KAJILLION SPIDERS CRAWLING OUT OF THE
Mr. Harker and Miss Yardley shivered at the thought of the
spiders, but Orpheus continued, gesturing wildly as he spoke.
They crawled on everything! The man tried smashing em, but
there were too many. They started crawling up his legs, so he ran out
screaming. anyways, the man was running and the spiders were crawling all over
him. He made it to the apple tree and fell. Those spiders crawled all over him,
covering him up. The last thing he saw was that old woman, whistling a happy
He tried to whistle, but nothing came out. “The moral of the
story is to share with others. The End.”
He took a short bow as Miss Yardley said how she enjoyed it.
“I don’t get it, did the old woman train the spiders like
attack dogs, only spiders?” asked Mr. Harker.
Orpheus asked what he thought. “Well,” said Mr. Harker, “ I
reckon she put a bag of spiders in his house because she was sulking cuz he
wouldn’t give her an apple.”
“The Sneezer thought she was a witch, but Braids
said she was just there at the end, still trying to pick apples. I guess it
don’t much matter,” said the boy. Just then, drops of rain began to fall,
forcing the three people to seek shelter.