"Salutations!" said the voice.
Wilbur jumped to his feet. "Salu-what?" he cried.
"Salutations!" repeated the voice.
"What are they and where are you?" said Wilbur. "Please, please tell me where you are."
"Look over here, in the corner of the barn! Here I am, I'm waving!"
At last Wilbur saw the creature that had spoken to him in such a kindly way. Filling the corner of the barn was a large gray spider. She was about the size of a Ford Explorer. Great horns she had, and behind her short stalk-like neck was her huge swollen body; its great bulk was black, blotched with livid marks, and her legs were bent, with great knobbed joints high above her back. "See me now?" she asked.
"Oh yes indeed," said Wilbur. "How are you? Good morning! Salutations! May I please have your name?"
"My name," said the spider, "is Shelob."
"Shelob what," asked Wilbur, eagerly.
"Shelob A. Cavatica. But just call me Shelob."
"Shelob?" Wilbur said.
"Yes?" said the spider.
"Were you serious when you promised you would keep them from killing me?"
"I was never more serious in my life. I am not going to let you die, Wilbur."
"How are you going to save me?" asked Wilbur, who's curiosity was very strong on this point.
"Well," said Shelob, vaguely. "I don't really know. But I'm working on a plan.
On foggy mornings, Shelob's web was truly a thing of beauty. This morning each strand was decorated with dozens of tiny beads of water. Even Lurvy, who wasn't particularly interested in beauty, noticed the web when he came with the pig's breakfast. He noted how clearly it showed up and how big and carefully built it was. And then he took another look and saw something that made him set his pail down.
There, in the center of the web, were the mummified bodies of Farmer Zuckerman and Mr. Arable, cocooned in threads and drained of life. Between them, neatly woven in block letters, was a message. It read:
DON'T FUCK WITH THE PIG!
Wilbur never forgot Shelob. She was in a class by herself. It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and the last of the Great Spiders of Middle-Earth. Shelob was both.
Updated: Say, does anyone know if there's a Livejournal community where I should cross-post stuff like this -- you know, to even more shamelessly whore for comments?