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myth of arachne.
Start of Story
from a childs story garden by various.
Age Rating 8 plus.
A long time ago there lived a maiden whose name was Arachne. She could
weave the most beautiful fabrics that people had ever seen. She chose
the most exquisite colors. They were the colors that were found in the
flowers, the green of the trees and grass, and the varied, dainty tints
and shades from the blue sky and its gorgeous sunsets.
People had said that Arachne learned to weave from the birds, although
some of them thought that Arachne had been taught to weave by the
goddess Athena. When Arachne heard that the people thought that Athena
had taught her to weave she became very angry. She declared that Athena
had not taught her to weave; that no one had taught her. She said she
would compete with the goddess Athena in weaving. The goddess Athena was
a noble goddess. She was the Goddess of Wisdom, and of all the Arts and
Crafts. When she heard what Arachne had declared she said: "It is very
wrong that Arachne should be so proud and envious. I will go to see
The goddess Athena disguised herself in humble apparel and visited
Arachne. She talked with her about her weaving, and still Arachne
boasted of the wonderful weaving she could do; but the goddess told her
that she was foolish to be so boastful.
This made Arachne angry, and she said: "I am not afraid at all, not of
any one in the world." At this moment the goddess threw aside her plain
garments and revealed herself the goddess Athena. This did not frighten
Arachne. She looked calmly at Athena and told her that she would give up
anything, even her life, to prove to the people that she could weave
even better than the goddess.
They then set about to arrange their looms, to select their threads, and
to begin work. At last they began. Whirr! Whirr! went the shuttles.
Spin! Spin! they sang, faster and faster, in and out, over and under,
flew the shuttles.
Arachne had chosen the most delicate, lovely threads that she could
find, but while she wove these beautiful threads she was thinking of her
revenge and other evil and wicked thoughts, while her skillful and swift
fingers moved faster and faster.
At the same time Athena was sitting in the sunlight, busily and
carefully weaving over and under, and in and out, her dainty, beautiful
silken threads, which seemed to have come from the very sunbeams
themselves. The colors were most harmonious and exquisite. Even the
rainbow was surpassed. Athena was thinking of the fleecy clouds, which
were to her as white ships that sailed through the blue sea of the sky.
She thought of the brown earth, with its emerald decking of trees and
meadows; of the buttercups and daisies of gold, and the roses and lilies
which dotted Mother Earth's carpet. She thought of the butterflies that
flitted about, and of the birds, in coats of red, blue, glossy black,
and dazzling gold.
When Arachne looked at Athena's work she shuddered with shame, for,
although her own work had been skillfully done, it was marred by the
envy, malice and evil thoughts she had woven into it. While Athena's
work was no more skillfully woven, it was by far the more beautiful. The
azure sky, with fluffy white clouds; the meadows, dotted with flowers,
and fields, with their shady green trees, filled with birds of gorgeous
hues, all made a wonderful picture.
Poor Arachne knew her fate. She hastened away and took with her the
threads that she had been using in weaving, and wrapped them about her
neck. She thought she would end her life by hanging to a tree. This made
the beautiful and kind Athena sad, and she said to Arachne: "You must
live--live on forever," and she touched Arachne and changed her form.
Arachne gradually grew smaller and smaller, until she was no larger than
a honeybee. She had many legs and wore a brown, fuzzy coat. Instead of
hanging by the threads she had used she now hung from a dainty silken
spider web, for Arachne was still a weaver, but not a weaver as of old.
Today, perchance, if you should see a busy little spider, it might be
one of Arachne's children, or perhaps Arachne herself. No one
knows--neither you nor I.