After yesterday’s post about 9 year-old Number 2 son’s attempt to conquer his fear of spiders I thought I would follow it up with another spider post.
On the ceiling of a room in Frederick the Great’s palace in Germany, San Souci*, is a painting of a spider in its web.
This spider was painted in honour of the arachnid whose last (and probably first) bath inadvertently saved His Majesty from a horrible end.
The story goes that every morning King Frederick would partake of a cup of chocolate in a room adjoining his bedchamber.
Once morning, before drinking, the King returned to the bedroom for a forgotten item and on his return he found the spider flailing around in his cup.
Naturally he requested another cup (and possibly the head of the spider-shy maid on a platter) and this request was met with an unexpected pistol shot.
Apparently the cook had poisoned the first cup of chocolate and, after hearing the request for another, thought the jig was up.
I wonder what happened to the bedraggled spider? Was it left to drown in the poisoned chocolate or did some kind servant return it to the garden? I expect that it was probably forgotten in the mayhem of the attempted assassination and suicide, and gasped its last before sinking beneath the deadly, chocolatey waves….
I have no idea if this story has any truth or is just an interesting myth, and my research hasn’t helped clear the waters. You’re an eclectic and well-travelled lot, has anyone been to the palace and noticed a large spider on the ceiling? If you have anything to share please do!
*Sans souci means ‘without concern’ or ‘no worries’ and there is a suburb south of Sydney in New South Wales that also goes by the name Sans Souci.
When I hear that name I can’t help but think of that Aussieism no wuckers‘. I’m not sure King Frederick would be too happy about his palace being thought of as ‘No Wuckers Palace’ though…