Once upon a time, a girl named Arachne lived in a little boring sleepy town somewhere in Greece. There wasn’t a whole lot to do there, so Arachne got her kicks by weaving tapestries. She made the most beautiful tapestries anyone had ever seen. They looked almost lifelike. Everyone gave her tons of compliments, which went straight to her head. One day she set up her loom in town and started weaving, and while she was weaving she was talking trash.
“Man,” she said, “I am so good at this. I am the best ever. I’m better than Athena, even. I mean, I know she’s the goddess of the loom and weaving and all that, but I am totally better than her.”
Athena heard this and, even though she thought Arachne’s stuff was pretty good, she got really upset. She disguised herself as an old woman and went into Arachne’s town, where Arachne was still babbling about how awesome she was.
“Hey,” Athena said. “You seriously think that you are better than Athena?”
“Oh, yeah,” Arachne said. “On my worst day I am at least three hundred percent better than she is.”
“Prove it,” Athena said. She threw off her disguise and stood there, in her gleaming armor, holding a loom.
Arachne wasn’t scared. “Bring it.”
Athena set up her loom right next to Arachne’s and the two began their weave off. Athena wove a beautiful scene of the countryside. Arachne did something a little different - she wove scenes of the gods and goddesses making fools of themselves. The people crowded around. Athena’s was good, but Arachne’s was better. And funnier. She had nearly won the battle, and Athena knew she had to do something.
“Enough of this,” she yelled, standing up. “This is ridiculous. I won’t participate in this.”
“That’s because you know I’m winning,” Arachne said.
“Oh yeah?” Athena said. “You like weaving so much?”
She pointed at Arachne, who suddenly started to shrink. Arachne grew smaller and smaller and smaller, and then she sprouted a couple new sets of arms. She had turned into a spider.
“Ha ha!” Athena said. “Now you can weave forever!”
Arachne, miserable, took some of her webby thread and wrapped it around her neck. She wanted to end it all.
“Oh, no way,” Athena said. “You’ll hang there, alive, forever.”
And so Arachne did hang there, weaving magnificent webs for the rest of time. And she had to eat bugs.