Beethoven and the spider

Xaver Schydner von Wartensee, in the early days of meeting Beethoven, was curious about a tale he had heard about Beethoven and a spider.

Before Schnyder had become acquainted with the immortal Master, he had read the well-known anecdote according to which, when Beethoven was practising the violin in his garret, a spider lowered itself on a thread and alighted on him. This interested Schnyder, who was a lover and observer of spiders, and he questioned Beethoven about this anecdote. Beethoven, who knew this anecdote well, laughed and replied: “But I never play the violin.”

Hamburger, Michael (ed.) (1952) Ludwig van Beethoven. Trans. Michael Hamburger. New York: Pantheon, p. 105.