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No More Spindle (Greek Mythology)
Today is the day. The day for me to win. To proove my worth and my style. To show everyone that I'm better than that goddess.
My name is Arachne, the best weaver in the world.
All my tapestries are masterworks. Just looking at them makes anyone paralyzed by it. It's that beautiful. I mix a hundred different colored threads to make the color I wish - a color that no one has seen before. I put all my hardwork in all of my tapestries. I make them, showcase them and sometimes, sell them. I only sell them at great price. One hundred drachmas, for instance. I sold that Poseidon-Versus-Zeus tapestry to Lord Zeus. He loved it, and gave me a prize of one hundred golden drachmas.
But there's a problem. That goddess of creativity, Athena, thinks she's better. Of course she's very good at weaving. Good than anyone, for one exception - me. I know it by heart that I'm better at weaving than Goddess Athena.
I decided to tell her that. I was given an order to make a tapestry for Ares, The God Of War. I brang him my tapestry on Olympus. What a co-incidence it was when I found Athena on her throne that morning, knitting socks. So I went to her to tell her that I'm better in weaving tapestries. She was outraged. She complained about me to Zeus on the Summer Solstice.
He, on the other hand, considered what I said. Of course he thought what I did was hubris, but he did something better.
He said, "O Arachne, Daughter Of Two Mortals, you'll be punished for your hubris. But after you fail,"
"Fail what, Lord Zeus?" Athena asked.
"If Arachne fails in the contest of weaving between you two, she'll be punished. If Wisdom fails, she'll be punished."
"What will be the punishment, My Lord?" I asked, bowing.
"The one who fails will not be able to touch spindle ever again. No spindle, no weaving."
We considered it. Both me and Athena agreed on it. Zeus gave us the date: Apollo's Contests. God Apollo holds a contest every year. All the gods and goddesses are invited. Not only them, but satyrs, naaiads and nymphs joins, too.
And this time, I was invited too. If I fail, everybody will laugh at me. I'll be prevented to weave ever again. And if Athena fails, she'll apologise to me and will be prevented to weave. Of course, I'm going to win. Even Zeus likes my tapestries more - that's why he gave me a chance of contest. Or else, he would've blasted me with his lightening bolt. Or worse, he would've let Athena punish me.
Since our meeting, I made my best tapestries. I made the one of Hercules, fighting the giants. I made another of Poseidon, ordering his Cyclopes. But then I thought better. If I please Zeus by my tapestry, he'll judge that my tapestry is better. So I practiced making Zeus taking on Typhon single-handedly. I made Typhon's face as if he's begging for mercy. And I made Zeus's face as if he's merciless. As if he's enjoying killing Typhon, the worst monster ever, the father of monsters. As if Typhon is just some entertainment for him. For sure, Zeus is going to like this. I named this tapestry: 'Zeus Is The Bravest'. I practiced for the contest ever since the meeting. And I practiced of this specific tapestry.
After endless weeks came the date of Apollo's Contest. I was wearing my best black robes on which I had weaved little i-do-not-know-what with the softest thread. This i-do-not-know-what was little, very thin thread going in diagonally, then other way round.
I roamed around the big place where the contest was held, enjoying myself. Satyrs were playing reed pipes, naaiads were making the water jump and perform. Everything was very beatiful. After spending a few minutes watching minor contests, I made my way to Major Contests area, where my contest was held.
Athena was already there, so was Zeus, Hera and Poseidon. These three will be the judges, but main judging would be of Zeus. The area where we had to perform was big. White sheet was spread on the stage. It was covered with beautiful baby pink and blue flowers. One the stage, there were two big weaving spindles and a baskets full of colorful threads. By just looking at it, I got to know that It was the softest, the best threads found in Olympus. It was looking beautiful. Just behind the stage were three big thrones of Zeus, Hera and Poseidon. The rest of the place was filled with red comfortable chairs, which were also looking like smaller thrones for other Olympians and minor gods. Half of the chairs were filled with excited looking immortals. Nike was on one of the front rows. When she caught my eye, she mouthed: Good luck. Nike likes me because of the tapestries I've made about her. They're in the most popular museums of the world right now, telling everyone about Nike The Victory. I nodded at her and climbed the stairs of the stage. I was surprised that Athena was looking calm. She should've been glaring at me or something. I imagined myself asking her that why isn't she angry about me. 'Being calm is wise,' She'd probably say. Chuckling at the thought, I made my way towards my spindle - my head high in pride.
"The show is to begin!" Yelled a satyr near the stage. "I'm Horbus, the commentator of this contest held between Athena The Goddess Of Wisdom, War, Handicraft and Creativy with Arachne The Weaver."
The crowds cheered.
Zeus cleared his throat, and the crowd calmed down. He looked at Athena, than at me, than said, "BEGIN!"
I set to work. I tried to keep calm while I work. I used both of my hands to make my best tapestry: 'Zeus The Bravest'. I filled the sky of canvas with light blue sky contrasting with darker shades of blue. I mixed many different shades of orange and yellow to make faint sunlight. The hardest was the storm circuling Typhon (The Giant). I added brown branches and little green leaves. I made water and air circle it. Then I made Zeus, Typhon and the rest of the stuff. Horbus the satyr was commenting on both my and Athena's tapestries. Several times when I was working, the crowd gasped and cheered and applaused. They were certainly liking my work. By the time I was done, Athena was adding the finishing touch to her tapestry.
"Aaaannd both Goddess Athena and Weaver Arachne are done with their work," Commented Horbus. "Both of their works are stunning! But I'm not the one to judge. Let's see what Lord Zeus thinks of them."
Two nymphs came from the sides of the stage. One came to me and took my tapestry, smiling. The other went to Athena and did the same. Both of them presented our tapestries to Lord Zeus. He flicked his hand and the canvases grew in to large sizes, showcasing out tapestries. That was the first time I saw Athena's tapestry.
She made the Olympians at Winter Council. All gods were sitting on thier thrones, arguing. I was surprised when I saw their faces. The were all accurate. Aphrodite was the most beautiful, wearing pink robes. Hades was the serious god, looking straight at the camera of tapestry. Poseidon, holding his trident on one hand, was busy arguing with Zeus. Zeus was sitting on the biggest throne, his lightening bolt by the end of his seat. Apollo was playing harp, but was also listening to the arguments. Ares was polishing his blade, looking as brave as ever. All was very beautiful, very nice. I was surprised, indeed.
Lord Zeus, Goddess Hera and God Poseidon were whispering to each other, deciding which one is best. I couldn't hear much, but what I heared was:
"Mortal's much better - " Zeus said,
"But truth is beautifuller - " Hera interuppted.
Poseidon said, "I'm looking handsome in Athena's picture but I don't think her's is better because she's my rival - "
"Just look at the way Mortal blended sunlight with sky - " Zeus said,
"That never happend, the way she did in that picture! We all fought Typho - " Hera was interuppted.
"I vote for Arachne's picture," Poseidon decided.
But then they lowered their voices. For a minute, their was dead silence. The crowd was admiring our work. But then the judges stopped hissing at each other.
"Looks like It's decided!" Horbus said happily.
"Both," Zeus said. "Of the tapestries are beautiful. Arachne's picture shows every thing beautifully. The way she contrasted sunlight with sky was very beautiful. But look at Athena's tapestry. It's more accurate, as my lady Hera says, and is the truth. That's the exact tapestry of what happend in the Winter Council this year. Arachne's picture is beautiful, but doesn't show what had exactly happend when we fought with Typhon. That doesn't matter in tapestries, though. Arachne's tapestry is very, very beautiful. So is Athena's. Therefore, the winner is ATHENA!"
My heart stopped working.
That can't happen.
I screamed in rage. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I snatched my hairs. I felt as if a vulture was nibbling on my heart. The pain was worse than that.
Athena, on the other hand, simply bowed to Zeus and turned to the cheering crowd.
"The winner is Goddess Athena!" Horbus repeated. "Both of the tapestries are of hers as a gift! For the hubris, Arachne will be forbidden to ever touch the spindle, needle or loom again!"
I screamed and cried.
When the crowd finally calmed down, Athena turned towards me. "You have commited hubris. This should be the way to punish you. You have challenged a goddess. Not any goddess, but the one who invented weaving. You thought you're better, but you were wrong. I am crossed with you. But still, I take pity on you. As Lord Zeus said, you'll not be able to touch spindle, loom or needle again. But you'll still be able to weave. Be happy, Arachne, I'm being merciful to you,"
She raised her hand, and a black light shot me. I felt my whole body bubbling. My skin changed color from pale to black. My body grew. My bones changed their shape, so did my muscles. I got whiskers and pincers. Eight of them. I opened my mouth to wail, but the voice came out as a hiss.
"What?!" I yelled. My voice felt feminine, but not human. Not human at all. It felt as if five or six more voices mixed in mine to make this hiss.
Athena smiled. "I turned you, Arachne, in the first ever spider. The creature which can weave and make tapestries without using spindle."
The crowds, at first, gasped. Then cheered for Athena being so humble. Even Zeus clapped his hands for Athena, who smiled in her victory.
Since then, I was a spider. My aging slowed down, so that I can live several centuries before i die. I found myself a cave and made myself some soft area to sleep on. I make tapestries all day, and send demigods (whose patron I am) to sell them to Olympus. Most of the tapestries are about Athena being so bad, that she turned me in to a spider. In my tapestries, I made it look like as if Athena turned me in to a spider because I won the contest and she was jealous. I told this fake story to others, making them believe that Athena is the worst goddess ever to be jealoused of a mortal weaver.
I do not kill everyone who comes in my way. But I do kill all the demigods of Athena I can. Because I hate Athena. It was all her fault.