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Here's a slightly different version of the myth of Arachne: Arachne is a young girl who is famous for being a fantastic weaver. One day she gets an ambitious inspiration to create a wall cloth that portrays all the twelve main gods in their elements. It becomes her greatest work yet which is truly the best wall cloth ever made by mankind - so great, that even the gods hear about it and Pallas Athene, the goddess of wisdom who considers herself the best weaver in the world, decides to go and take a look at it. Arachne is thrilled to show her masterpiece to a goddess, but when Athene sees what the girl has done, she loses her usual calmness and tears the whole cloth in pieces in fit of jealousy. Arachne is so devastated to see all her hard work being destroyed that she hangs herself. Pallas Athene feels guilty of her death and regrets, so she decides to make it up by turning Arachne into a spider, so that she can spin and weave forever.
-- Anonymous User
Here's another version of the history; Arachne is a skilled young weaver, but she refuses to beleive that her talents are gifts of the gods. So, Athena challenges her to a weaving contest. Arachne weaves a picture showing the gods and their greatest flaws, and Athene rips it up in a fit of anger. But when Arachne trys to hang herself, Athene relents and turns her into a spider, which is why spiders can weave such beautiful webs.
-- Anonymous User
In another variant of the story, Arachne believes that she can weave better than the goddess Athena. Disguised as an old woman, Athena tells Arachne not to be so boastful, but Arachne remains as proud of her weaving prowess as ever. Athena drops her disguise and challenges Arachne to a weaving contest; the mortal girl obliges. The goddess weaves a beautifully detailed tapestry (of what, I cannot remember), but Arachne weaves an equally detailed tapestry that specifically depicts Zeus's affairs. This hurts Athena and she gently rebukes Arachne. Shamed, Arachne hangs herself, but Athena relents and changes her into a spider.
Yet another version: Arachne is known far and wide as the world's greatest weaver. Athena fancies herself as such, so she challenges Arachne to a competition. Athena weaves a colorful pattern. Arachne weaves and elaborate tapestry depicting the lives of a boy and girl, who are raised in the same village and eventually marry. Arachne's has obviously beaten Athena, and, enraged, Athena punishes her by turning her into a spider.
I read this one in a children's magazine a long time ago, so it's probably tuned down, since suicide's a little harsh.
When I was a child I heard another version in a text book: Arachne is a skilled young weaver who is the pride and joy of her small village, but she is proud and boasts about her abilities much to the objection of her father. Athena hears of her great skill and challenges her to a weaving contest. Arachne weaves a picture tapestry showing the gods hiding in animal forms, and Athena weaves a tapestry of a firebird. Arachne calls her own piece her greatest work. Angered by her talent, Athena rips Arachne's tapestry in a fit of anger and Arachne collapses in a fit of despair. Zeus, Athena's father, appears after hearing Arachne's despair and orders his daughter not to act out of jealousy and make things right. So Athena turns her into a spider so she can weave beautiful webs forever.
-- Anonymous User
Arachne didn't hang herself after she won the weaving contest with Athena, and Athena didn't bring her back to life. In fact, Athena became so furious of Arachne that she told her that she could keep on living and weaving, but that those will be the only things she would be able to do until the end of times. So she transformed Arachne into a spider. She is still weaving the most beautiful webs somewhere on this planet.
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