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I have a memory from childhood of being told not to kill spiders because there was a spider on the cross when Jesus was crucified. I cannot find any source in folklore (I doubt if it is anything else) and wonder if anyone else has heard this story before.

I am aware of the baby spider story related to the flight of Jesus -- a spider spun a web at the mouth of a cave to protect him and his family -- but I'm referring to a different story.

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    I don't know of either story. Welcome to the site. – 3961 Feb 17 '15 at 3:27
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    from Eastern Europe, they told us not to kill spiders as they helped escape Mary, Joseph & Jesus to Egypt. They made webs and soldiers couldn't get through. Now, I can't believe my g-parents or other people thought me such a silly thing. – Grasper Feb 17 '15 at 14:46
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    @Grasper It's not that silly, depending on one's ethical framework and what one believes about literature. Certainly respect for arachnid life is a worthy teaching, and while the method may be suspect "silly" isn't really the right description, I'd say. – Please stop being evil Mar 18 '15 at 7:55
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    Where did you grow up? That might help in locating the story. – Mr. Bultitude Apr 26 '15 at 19:02
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Okay, I did a lot of Googling using various search terms, all with "spider" and including one of "Jesus", "Christian", "Christianity", "Catholic", or "Orthodox" and one of "myth", "folklore", "folktale", or "legend". This is what I've found.

Web over the mouth of a cave

There are several versions of this one, but in every case, one party is fleeing from another and hides in a cave. A spider spins a web over the mouth of the cave, so the searching party assumes that their quarry is not inside because otherwise the web would have been broken.

Web over Jesus' cradle

This is where a spider spun a web over Jesus' cradle/manger and it protected Him from all harm.

I only found two sources with this: spiderzrule.com and The Encyclopaedia of Superstitions, Folklore, and the Occult Sciences of the World Volume 2 (twice).

The Christmas spider(s)

In this German/Ukrainian legend, spiders create cobwebs all over a Christmas tree and then something or someone changes the threads into gold and/or silver. This is believed to be the source of the traditions of hanging tinsel on the tree and putting a spider ornament on it.

Spider on the cross

Unfortunately, I did not find any source with a story like this. In fact, the top Google results for "spider on the cross crucifixion" are almost all from this very website, Christianity Stack Exchange. If the tale does exist, I guess there isn't a record of it online. In that case, this question and answer is now the only record of it online!

So the answer to your question is (probably) nobody knows! If anyone does, they haven't said as much online (or in a book or article indexed by Google).

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