Jack of Trades
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I once met a spider named Jack. A sizeable fellow he was, the size of my fist, and eight legs as long as my hand. They were dexterous too, complementing his keen mind. That was where his name came from—Jack of Trades, for with each leg he would conduct each of his trades.

With one he was a blacksmith, forging steel-like silk that with another he would spin into death traps. With a third he would contemplate the design of his web, for he was an architect. With the fourth he would climb the tallest of trees and bask in the daylight so that all would see his splendour, and in it take delight.

Oh yes, he was proud. Why wouldn’t he be? He was the most talented spider to have ever graced the land, his crafts as numerous as they were grand.

“I don’t just weave webs,” He said to me, “I weave works of art, my traps instruments of death so much finer than all the rest.”

Then one day, Jack hatched a plan. Up the tallest of trees he climbed. He did not rest for two nights and two days, until he reached the highest branch. The words some proclaim say he could touch the moon up there, but I digress, for one thing was certain; the height he had reached was a thing to impress.

What Jack did next was more august still. Working each of his renowned legs he weaved a web from the base of the branch to its end. So mighty in scale was it that he said it would catch him the sun, and make him master of all that it touched.

“It will bring me the moon too,” He told me once, “and with the light of the brightest star I shall be master of the night.”

Catch them he did, for as the sun climbed it found itself twined in the mesh of Jack’s web. As for the moon, it soon found itself strewn with Jack's string, which clung to its opalescent veneer as it drew near to its ever-evasive lover, the bringer of day. Now they were tied to one another in Jack's trap for him to reign over! It was thus he crafted himself a throne of sunlight and moonlight, the very heavens made to bow before his majesty.

Yet it was not to last.

Convince himself as he pleased, Jack could not bend reality. Mortal he remained, the need to feed with it. At first he ate a slice on the moon, and then a slice more, leaving it in half, yet his hunger was not sated. He tried to eat the sun next, devouring it and eclipsing the world for a day. The hunger lingered still.

Driven by starvation, he climbed down from his throne, and checked the web for flies. So lost had he been with images of grandeur, he had forgotten that no fly, with their feeble wings, could ever fly so high. The web lay empty, barren, the death trap devoid of the one thing that defined its existence: death.

Filled with dismay and inanition, he fell from the web, and tumbled for an hour, piercing the clouds and landing hard on the ground. There he lay, dead, and as he rest he became a nest for the lowliest of life to digest—maggots.

“O proud Jack of Trades,” I said to my friend, “so high were thee in your proudly glee that you were the architect who weaved your end. Upon a new sunrise you’ve become the prey of the things you preyed upon—flies!”

The web was left to decay; the wind would blow it away with affray, it’s puff enough to shove the sun and moon back above into the sky. Their they remain and fly high, shining upon their domain the light that the world lives by.


~The Bard.

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