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Chapter 8 A Talk at Home

On Sunday morning Mr. and Mrs. Arable and Fern were sitting at breakfast in the kitchen. Avery had finished and was upstairs looking for his slingshot.

  "Did you know that Uncle Homer's goslings had hatched?" asked Fern.

  "How many?" asked Mr. Arable.

  "Seven," replied Fern. "There were eight eggs but one egg didn't hatch and the goose told Templeton she didn't want it any more, so he took it away.""The goose did what?" asked Mrs. Arable, gazing at her daughter with a queer, worried look.

  "Told Templeton she didn't want the egg any more," repeated Fern.

  "Who is Templeton?" asked Mrs. Arable.

  "He's the rat," replied Fern. "None of us like him much.""Who is 'us'?" asked Mr. Arable.

  "Oh, everybody in the barn cellar. Wilbur and the sheep and the lambs and the goose and the gander and the goslings and Charlotte and me.""Charlotte?" said Mrs. Arable. "Who's Charlotte?

  "She's Wilbur's best friend. She's terribly clever.""What does she look like?" asked Mrs. Arable.

  "Well-l," said Fern, thoughtfully," she has eight legs. All spiders do, I guess.""Charlotte is a spider?" asked Fern's mother.

  Fern nodded. "A big grey one. She has a web across the top of Wilbur's doorway. She catches flies and sucks their blood. Wilbur adores her.""Does he really?" said Mrs. Arable, rather vaguely. She was staring at Fern with a worried expression on her face.

  "Oh, yes, Wilbur adores Charlotte," said Fern. "Do you know what Charlotte said when the goslings h............

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