Spider and the Fly, The
DESCRIPTION: "'Will you walk into my parlor?' said the spider to the fly -- ''Tis the prettiest little parlor that ever you did spy.'" The fly demurs; the spider persists; at last she is lured "within his little parlor -- but she ne'er came out again."
AUTHOR: Mary (Botham) Howitt (1799-1888)
EARLIEST DATE: 1914 (GreigDuncan8)
KEYWORDS: bug trick lie death
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (3 citations):
GreigDuncan8 1670, "The Spider and the Fly" (1 text, 1 tune)
Baring-Gould-MotherGoose #837, pp. 316-317, "('Will you walkin into my parlor?' said the spider to the fly)"
ADDITIONAL: Florence Milner, "Poems in Alice in Wonderland" (1903), now reprinted in Robert Phillips, editor, _Aspects of Alice_, 1971 (references are to the 1977 Vintage paperback), pp. 249-250, "The Spider and the Fly" (1 text, with "Alice"-related context)
NOTES: Mary Howitt, the wife of author William Howitt, made a number of translations into English (including, apparently, some of the works of Hans Christian Andersen), but is hardly remembered today except for this one piece. Granger's Index to Poetry cites ten poems of hers, but most are in only a single reference; 11 books are cited for this piece. I have this feeling that some of those other citations are instance where editors wanted to prove she did more than write "The Spider and the Fly."
Alice Liddell Hargreaves (as she came to be) referred to singing this song. In an account repeated in Jo Elwyn Jones & J. Francis Gladstone, The Red King's Dream or Lewis Carroll in Wonderland, 1995 (I use the 1996 Pimlico edition), p. 102, she mentions how she and her sisters sand "Star of the evening, beautiful star," "Twinkle, twinkle, little star," and "Will you walk into my parlour?" on their expeditions with Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) and the Rev. Robinson Duckworth.
Dodgson's poem "'Will you walk a little faster,' said a whiting to a snail," is said to be a loose parody of this, according to Sidney Herbert Williams and Falconer Madan, revised and augmented by Roger Lancelyn Green, further revised by Denis Crutch, The Lewis Carroll Handbook (earlier editions titled A Handbook of the Literature of the Rev. C. L. Dodgson, 1932, 1961, 1970); Dawson Books, 1979, p. 311. - RBW
Last updated in version 4.0
Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography
The Ballad Index Copyright 2017 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.