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myth of arachne.

from a childs story garden by various.
Age Rating 8 plus.

Start of Story

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 her." 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.

the end

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