The story of Arachne is a warning to all who are boastful and disrespectful. It's also a story of how a part of nature came to be.
The Death of Arachne
This story takes place in and outside the house of Arachne.
Arachne was a talented weaver. People came from all over to see the beautiful fabrics and pictures she wove. She soon became proud of her ability and began to boast that she was the best weaver in the world: even better than Athena herself. This angered Athena, because she had invented weaving and the loom. No mortal was better than her. She went to Arachne disguised as an old woman. She told Arachne to apologize to Athena, and Athena was sure to forgive her. Arachne refused, and challenged Athena to a contest at the loom. At this, Athena cast off her disguise and agreed. Arachne was surprised and afraid, but she couldn't back out. So two looms were set up and the contest began. At the finish, Athena had woven images of all the gods in their glory, but Arachne wove all the gods as drunk fools playing around all day. Athena became even angrier. She touched Arachne's head and gave her enough wisdom to see that she had been foolish and rude. Arachne became frightened of what the gods would do to her, so she went and hung herself. Athena took pity on her and turned her into a spider. So from this day on, all spiders weave beautiful patterns.
There are many variations on this Story. A popular variation is that Athena killed Arachne herself for being so rude, then she took pity and turned her into a spider. Another version says that Arachne wove happy things from the earth, but Athena wove terror and the destruction of the world. The image was so fearsome that all who saw it fell on their knees and cried out for mercy. At seeing that Athena's weaving was more powerful, Arachne went and hung herself.