“Will you walk into my parlour?” said the Spider to the Fly,
‘Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy;
The way into my parlour is up a winding stair,
And I’ve a many curious things to show when you are there.”
For those of us who haven’t heard of or read these lines before, these are the opening lines of “The Spider and the Fly” is a poem by Mary Howitt. The poem weaves the tale of the cunning Spider who ensnares the naïve Fly through the use of seduction and flattery. Primarily this poem serves a cautionary tale against those disguise their true purpose and their evil intentions with a heavy dose of flattery and charm.
Why did these lines suddenly surface to memory? Because beyond flattery and charm, these words stipulate of a false offer of help or friendship that is in fact a trap. We meet many kinds of people in our daily walks of life especially at work, at college or university, in schools, soccer practices, local neighbourhood and even at our regular diners, parlours, gym and the market. Some of these passing acquaintances become good friends while others are like ships at the harbour, they dock, load and unload, then leave. Yet in all these interactions, there will be some offers of help which we accept based either on recommendations, favours or past dealings. On the other hand, a great deal of charm and flattery which acts as false balm to the soul wins. Eventually these end up as a trap causing a great deal of harm.
It is in these situations that I am reminded of the scene between the spider and the fly. In real life, to avoid the trap these situations have to be dealt with a great deal of tact and flair. But first, to avoid the trap, trust your gut. The inner voice inside our head, the warning bells in our mind or the queasy uneasy feeling all remind us to watch our back. From then on, it’s a matter of tact and careful untangling of ourselves from the sticky web. Although it looks difficult, there will always be a way out as long as we follow the direction of the light.