ARACHNE was a beautiful maiden and the most wonderful weaver that ever lived. Her father was famed throughout the land for his great skill in coloring.
Excerpt from the publication: Nature myths and stories for little children – by Cooke, Flora J. (Flora Juliette), 1864-1953 / Publication date [c1895] / Publisher: A. Flanagan – Chicago
He dyed Arachne’s wools in all the colors of the rainbow. People came from miles around to see and admire her work. They all agreed that Queen Athena must have been her teacher.
Arachne proudly said that she had never been taught to weave. She said that she would be glad to weave with Athena to see which had the greater skill. In vain her father told her that perhaps Athena, unseen, guided her hand.
Arachne would not listen and would thank no one for her gift, believing only in herself. One day as she was boasting of her skill an old woman came to her. She kindly advised her to accept her rare gift humbly.
” Be thankful that you are so fortunate, Arachne,”
“You may give great happiness to others by your beautiful work.
” Queen Athena, longs to help you.
“But I warn you. She can do no more for you until you grow unselfish and kind.”
Arachne scorned this advice and said again that nothing would please her so much as to weave with Athena.
” If I fail,”
” I will gladly take the punishment, but Athena is afraid to weave with me.”
Then the old woman threw aside her cloak and said,
“Athena is here.
“Come, foolish girl, you shall try your skill with hers.”
Both went quickly to work and for hours their shuttles flew swiftly in and out.
Athena, as usual, used the sky for her loom and in it she wove a picture too beautiful to describe.
If you wish to know more about it look at the western sky when the sun is setting.
Arachne’s work, though her colors were in harmony and her weaving wonderfully fine, was full of spite and selfishness.
When the work was finished Arachne lifted her eyes to Athena’s work. Instantly she knew that she had failed.
Ashamed and miserable she tried to hang herself in her web.
Athena saw her and said in pity,
“No, you shall not die; live and do the workfor which you are best fitted.
” You shall be the mother of a great race which shall be called spiders.
“You and your children shall be among the greatest spinners and weavers on earth.”
As she spoke, Arachne became smaller and smaller until she was scarcely larger than a fly.
From that day to this Arachne and her family have been faithful spinners, but they do their work so quietly and in such dark places, that very few people know what marvelous weavers they are.