I ordered this childrens' book last week from the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America & it came in the mail yesterday. It's called "Wings and Stings", a first edition copy from 1903 by Agnes McClellan Daulton. It's so precious and in great condition! I'm so excited to be building my children's book collection.
The book has 12 chapters in it, all which tell stories from the eyes of different insects and plants. It's like most children's stories were then - a little bit dark and perhaps more truthful than stories are now. There is a part in chapter 9, 'The Spiders' Garden Party', that tells about a spider called Mrs. Argiope, who eats her husbands.
It is beautiful. You Argiopes do make exquisite nests,” replied Mrs. Thaddeus, “but I have heard you are not very kind to your husbands.”
“No,” sighed Mrs. Argiope. “I always am rather ashamed of it; but they are such tiny, insignificant creatures, and so afraid of us, that it makes us contemptuous. We do treat them shamefully, I know. Yet we generally furnish a web for them to live in. That is my husband’s apartment,” and Mrs. Argiope pointed to a shabby, irregular rag of a web at the edge of her own beautiful, big snare. “I ate my first husband,” she went on. “You know spiders usually dance before their sweethearts at the wooing, but our Argiope mates are such stupid things they can’t dance, but just climb about on our web without rhyme or reason. Well, he looked perfectly ridiculous sliding about in that silly way, and when I got to thinking how beautifully Miss Zebra Spider's lover danced, I grew angry, and just turned my spinnerets upon him and wrapped him in a sheet of silk before he could say ‘boo.’ Then--I was very hungry -- I ate him at once; but I must say he was rather tough and had a poor flavor.”
“How dreadful!” exclaimed Mrs. Thaddeus, throwing up her front claws. “But then it isn’t any wonder; male spiders are always such tiny, good-for-nothing creatures, I don’t know if we could be blamed if we ate them all up...
The entire book is like that - it's really fun to read. I can just imagine how much I would have loved this when I was little.