The weather on that day was very beautiful. I believe it was a Sunday afternoon. Magali had gone out, walking in the woods with her daddy, her mommy and her big brother Arnaud, who was eight years old. Her little brother Julien, not even one yet, came along in the stroller. The little girl wore her red overalls and her white canvas shoes.
Magali, already four and a half years old, had eyes that were almost black and deep dark brown hair. Her mother had brushed it into two pigtails that danced alongside her face.
Once they'd found a spot in the forest, Mommy sat down next to the stroller and started reading her book. The baby Julien smiled into the sunshine. Daddy kicked a soccer ball around with Arnaud. Magali found herself all alone and felt a bit sad.
She wandered away slowly. She looked for blueberries. She loved blueberries. The ones that she picked in the woods with her mommy and daddy were a lot better than the ones they bought in the grocery store.
A little further on, between two branches of a tree, our friend caught sight of a great big spider's web. It was very beautiful. The threads glistened in the sunlight. In the centre was a tiny spider, that didn't move at all.
At the same moment, she thought she heard a soft sound, like the wind blowing through the trees.
She listened more closely. She brought her ear closer and heard, coming from the web, a very soft music.
Magali, astonished, looked at the little creature.
"You know how to make music?"
"No," replied the spider. "But I weave a web that can sing."
"You can speak?" asked Magali.
"Yes, but keep your ear close because I don't speak very loudly. You see, I am a very different spider than the others. My web makes music when the wind passes over it."
The little girl beamed.
"You are very lucky to have a house that sings."
"Yes, my web, where I live, makes music with the breeze.
"Wonderful," said Magali.
"I have nearly everything I need," explained the spider. "My house feeds me. Sometimes a fly or a mosquito gets caught in my web. And I eat it. I drink the dew that appears on my web in the morning. It's so beautiful, the dew on my web. And then I listen to the music when the wind blows softly over the tapestry of my work. All that I miss are blueberries.
"I really like blueberries," Magali announced.
"Me too," added the little creature.
"We can find some over there, in the forest with the pine trees," pointed out the little girl.
"Yes," the spider responded. "But I can't go there. It's too far for me. If I go all that way, I might not find my way back. I could get lost and never find my way back to my web."
"Do you want me to bring some back for you?"
"You'd do that for me? You're as kind as you are pretty."
"Wait for me here. I'll be right back."
"I won't move," promised the spider. "I'm going to stay here on my web, in the sun."
Magali walked back towards the pine woods. She heard the birds sing. She also heard her little brother babbling in his stroller.
She picked a few blueberries, then returned, holding them in her hands. She put them down on the ground, at the foot of the web.
"Here are a few."
"You are really kind," said the spider. "I'd like to make you a gift too. Listen to my idea - it's really good."
"Pick up that piece of wood that's there, on the ground at the foot of the big tree."
Magali turned. She saw, between two roots of a pine tree, a tree branch that was about eight inches long.
"Look," marvelled the little girl, "this branch has a white bark and the bark of all the other trees is brown."
"The birch has white bark. We often see it in parks or in the forest," explained the spider.
Magali grabbed the birch branch. She slipped it into the pocket of her overalls.
"There. When you return home, place the piece of birch on the windowsill, on the outside. Tomorrow, when you wake up, you will find your gift."
"Thank you," said Magali. "You are lovely and your web is too."
"I believe I have never met a little girl as charming as you," murmured the spider.
Magali waved goodbye then left to rejoin her father, mother and Arnaud, who were waiting by the baby.
When they returned to the house, Magali opened the window in her room that she shared with her big brother. She placed the birch branch on the windowsill.
The next morning, as soon as she woke up, she hurried to discover her surprise. The little stick was no longer lying on the stone windowsill. It stood vertically. All around it was a single long thread ... of a spider's web.
"Oh, that's my gift," exclaimed Magali. The singing thread! We can hang it in the window, Arnaud. That way, every time the wind blows, we'll hear the music.
"Oh, no," replied her big brother. I don't want another spider's web in our bedroom. There are already enough of them behind the furniture."
"But then, where are we going to put my singing thread?" asked Magali.
Her daddy had a good idea. He suggested wrapping it around the Christmas tree that they'd planted in the backyard, now that winter was over.
The entire family gathered around the little tree. Mommy carefully unrolled the thread that was wrapped around the bark of the birch branch. Daddy hung it like a garland, around the branches covered in needles.
From that day on, Magali had, in her backyard, a pine tree that sang. Grandpa, grandma, and friends, all came to see and hear.
Magali and her family kept it for a long time. A tree that sings in the wind, that's wonderful and rare!
Even you, if you go walking in the woods one day and you see a beautiful spider's web, don't break it! Hold your ear to it and listen. Perhaps you too will discover a web with singing threads...
Translation : Andrew Gordon Middleton