Daddy Longlegs was a shy and ancient creature. He lived under the stairs of the Flincher’s. Each day he scolded back into the shadows when he heard the children hopping down the stairs. Hop- hop- hop they went and laughed all the way. But the stairs were old, as the house was old, and Daddy Longlegs feared the wood might split and the children fall. He was, you should know, a giant of his kind, older than the world perhaps, bred and fed in the moist of corners dark. His legs were long and thin, and he knit the corners of his web with them; his eyes were shiny black dots in the dark and he watched the insides of the house with six of them. He wasn’t vicious, not at all; he grew fond of those who didn’t even know he kept in hiding under the stairs in their home.
So Daddy Longlegs decided what was best; he propped the stairs with his body and slept, assured the children would be safe.
One night a scratch inside the walls awoke Daddy Longlegs. Scratch-scratch-scratch. He felt the air with the tiny hairs on his round body and knew winter had come. He looked from the gap in one of the ledges and saw lights, bright and many running up and down a tree…what kind of tree was that? Daddy Longlegs had forgotten that with winter came Christmas! But there they were again, the scratches; something fast and something large it was. Daddy Longlegs pulled away a wonky ledge and squeezed outside the hole; tip-toeing he came into the house. He crawled silently, his eyes rolling left to right.
The children were asleep in their rooms; the parents were asleep in their room. What was making that sound?
So down he went into the living room, where the lights of Christmas shone upon a figure, knelt before the tree.
“Oh no!”, he thought, “Someone is stealing Christmas away from the children!” and off he rushed, angered and enormous.
The figure turned in panic when a shadow crept upon him. His scream froze in his throat, for he had come from a land where there were no nightmares, and he did not know what to do when facing one. Thus, he ran, straight for the chimney. But Daddy Longlegs was faster. Swiftly he swung one of his eight legs and pinched the cloth of the running man, dragging him back across the floor. The man carried a huge bag and with it he swung. He hit Daddy Longlegs and he rolled until he smashed against the wall. Then the man took a dip into his pocket and filled his hand with sparkling dust. He blew it into the fallen creature and in the artificial storm created he tried to disappear again. Daddy Longlegs stood furious, and saw his leg was damaged; it had been squashed there in the middle. He saw the man half up into the chimney and jumped on the ceiling. From there he spat a thick layer of web that caught the man just by the leg.
Descending in a spiral way he pulled the man inside again and laid him off beside the tree, his mouth muffled and his pinched to the floor. He didn’t know this intruder, and nothing in him seemed right. He was fat and old, yet he moved fast as a child would; his cloths were bright, yet he came and went through chimneys. Daddy Longlegs didn’t like this man at all. He was a…burglar. Fat and naughty.
He sat upon him with all his mighty weight and began knitting his web around the body. He knit and he knit until the man had become a cocoon. Then he carried him inside the stairs and crawled low into the basement where and glued the man in a corner, where no one would hear him, ever. Then he left.
Daddy Longlegs was pleased. He had saved Christmas he thought, and the children too. So he propped the stairs and slept again, hidden in the dark and lonesome observatory of his.