The Bee and The Spider

A Bee and Spider argued which was the better artist. The Spider touted its web. The Bee touted its comb. Each argued against the other. Nobody won.

The value of art is often estimated by its use.


The Bee and the Spider once entered into a warm debate which was the better artist. The Spider urged her skill in mathematics, and asserted that no one was half so well acquainted as herself with the construction of lines, angles, squares, and circles; that the web she daily wove was a specimen of art inimitable by any other creature in the universe; and, besides, that her work was derived from herself alone, the product of her own bowels; whereas the boasted honey of the Bee was stolen from every herb and flower of the field; nay, that she had obligations even to the meanest weeds. To this the Bee replied that she hoped the art of extracting honey even from the meanest weeds would at least have been allowed her as an excellence; and that as to her stealing sweets from the herbs and flowers of the field, her skill was there so conspicuous that no flower ever suffered the least diminution of its fragrance from so delicate an operation. Then, as to the Spider’s vaunted knowledge of the construction of lines and angles, she believed she might safely rest the merits of her cause on the regularity alone of her combs; but since she could add to this the sweetness and excellence of her honey, and the various purposes to which her wax was applied, she had nothing to fear from a comparison of her skill with that of the weaver of a flimsy cobweb: for the value of every art, she observed, is chiefly to be estimated by its use.