Monday 16 November 2009

the comfort of spiders

One of the obits on this week's Last Word was for the Chinese historian Nien Cheng, who was placed in solitary confinement for six years during the Cultural Revolution and who wrote the memoir Life and Death in Shanghai.

In a radio clip on Last Word, Cheng recalled that in six years of solitary confinement she never heard a friendly voice or saw a smiling face. But there was one thing that helped ease the psychological pressure:

I saw this spider. It was a living thing. And I watched it make a web. I became a friend of this tiny little spider, watching him was comforting to me. I watched him the first thing I got out of bed, and I watched him until I couldn't see it was so dark.

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