The Spider Incident
Yet another random plot bunny that shoved its way into my head.
I do not own any of the Greek gods or goddesses or Arachne.
A friend admires your works of art.
A Best Friend challenges you to a spinning contest.
During my immortal life, there has only been five people I could truly call my friends. The first four were, of course, Artemis, Persephone, Hephaestus, and Prometheus.
And then there's Arachne.
I know what you're thinking; "Athena, isn't that the prideful mortal that challenged you to a spinning contest and that you turned into a spider?"
Well, for the first part of your question is yes, and as for the second part, NO.
Most mortals worship me, catering to my every whim. It was fun when I was a new immortal, but it got annoying and kind of lonely after a while. They respected me as a goddess, but they feared me. I was the regal Goddess of Wisdom to them, but never a friend, never just Athena.
Arachne was an exception to that rule.
She was just a passing interest at first, someone I noticed because she had exceptional talent at weaving. I began spending time with her in the guise of a mortal woman and we became friends. Soon after, I reluctantly revealed who I truly was to her, and to my surprise, the only thing it did to our newly formed friendship was make it stronger. As we grew more comfortable around each other, playful banter and teasing became part of our usual interaction and this exhilarated me. I didn't have to wear the mask of the regal, serious Goddess of Wisdom around her; all I had to be was Athena, the Athena who could loosen up and have some fun.
You're probably going to ask me, "If you were such good friends, then what the heck happened that caused people to think you turned her into a spider?" Well, I'll tell you what happened.
It was a quiet, sunny morning when I made my usual weekly trek to visit Arachne. Before I reached her house, where she was sitting at her usual spot at the loom while some other mortals I didn't recognize watched her work, she looked out of her window, spotted me, and winked. "I think this came out incredibly well." she said loudly, and the other mortals nodded, amazed by her work. "In fact," she continued, a mischievous smile on her face, "I don't think even Athena could do a better job." The other mortals looked terrified, glancing around to see if anyone had heard. Arachne casually glanced out the window and winked again. It took me a second to realize what she was doing, but when I did, I smiled. That little nut! She wanted a challenge, AND to simultaneously prank the other mortals, and that's exactly what she would get. I'd play along with her little game.
I disguised myself as an old woman and walked into her home. "Hello, Grandmother," Arachne said, knowing full well it was me. "What brings you here this fine day?" "I heard your boast, child." I told her in an old, soft voice. "Do you really wish to challenge the great Athena? Do you really think you can beat a goddess?" "Yes," Arachne stated. "And if the great Athena was here, I'd challenge her, and I'd win!" "Well I…" I started, before turning into my true form. "Accept your challenge!" Arachne covered her mouth, pretending to be surprised when she was really trying not to laugh. The other mortals cowered in a corner, terrified that I'd curse them or something. "We start right here, right now." I announced. "We have until sunset to complete our work."
And so the contest began, Arachne and I weaving right next to each other. I wove an image of my temple in Athens at sunset, with my beautiful olive tree outside, the exact same one that won me Athens in the competition against Poseidon.(Why he thought the mortals would enjoy a spring of saltwater that they couldn't even drink is anybody's guess.) It was one of the few places where I felt completely comfortable; where I could spend time with the priestesses I mentored or just sit under my tree and read.
Arachne took a quick glance at my loom and smiled, then went back to her own work. I tried to take a look at hers, but she blocked my view. "It's a surprise." she mouthed.
Sunset arrived, and we both stepped back from our looms. I finally got to look at her work and it took every ounce of willpower I had not to laugh.
She had woven us, hard at work on our looms. Image Athena was weaving a tiny duplicate of my own work, while image Arachne was weaving a picture of us hard at work on our looms and the Arachne in that tapestry was weaving the same thing, and so on and so forth until it was too tiny to see. "That's…pretty good…" I admitted, sounding reluctant for our frightened audience.
"It's better than yours, isn't it?" she teased. The other mortals thought she really meant it and gasped, practically gluing themselves to the corner.
"Well…" I growled, pretending to be angry.
"It is! It's better than yours!" she taunted. Had I not known that this was just my friend's strange sense of humor and that she was just teasing, I might have been just a little miffed. Playing the part of the enraged goddess, I grabbed the loom and ran at her like I was going to strike her with it. "You will pay for treating a goddess so rudely!" I screamed. Arachne made a noise that sounded like a combination between a shriek and a giggle and ran out the door. The mortals screamed as I chased after her.
Once out of sight, we collapsed to the ground in giggles. "Arachne, you have the strangest sense of humor I have ever known!" I laughed.
"Oh, you know you love me for it." she giggled, elbowing me. Her eyes lit up with mischief. "Did you see their faces? I thought a few of them were going to pee themselves when you started chasing me with that loom."
"Arachne, that's gross!" Despite that, I couldn't help chortling. I'd never had such fun in all my life. Calming down, I said, "I loved your tapestry by the way. Can I have it?"
"Of course!" Arachne replied. "I made it as a present for you after all."
"You made it as a present for me? Why?" I asked.
Arachne laughed. "It's your birthday, you goof! Did you forget about your own birthday?"
I had. "Maybe…"
She elbowed me. "Oh, you…"
I just smiled. After a moment she said, "I loved your tapestry too. It was just like being in Athens."
"Even if it wasn't as good as yours?" I teased.
She looked worried. "You know I didn't mean that, right, 'Thena?"
She breathed a sigh of relief. "Good. Your friendship really means a lot to me and I don't want to have hurt your feelings."
I gave her a reassuring smile. "Arachne, I know you well enough to know you were just teasing me. And I know you'd never say anything meant to hurt me."
She smiled back at me. "I probably should get back soon, though. They're probably climbing the walls wondering what happened to me. Probably thinking you turned me into a pile of ashes or something."
She stood up, then started staring at something on a low hanging tree branch. "Hey, 'Thena, look at this.."
I looked up. "What?"
She pointed. "This. What is it?"
I took a closer look. It was a tiny creature, an insect with eight legs. And oddly enough, it was busily weaving a pattern with light, almost see-though thread.
I shrugged. "No idea. I've never seen anything like that before. Looks like you just discovered a new animal, Arachne. And it spins just like you!" I grinned at her. "Since you were the first to see it and you won the weaving contest, I hereby name this new creature an Arachnid!"
She rolled her eyes at me playfully. "Wonderful prize there, 'Thena…"
"I think they went this way!" a voice shouted. Arachne pulled me behind a tree. "Shh. I want to see what happens. This might be funny." she whispered.
The mortals looked around fearfully, checking every open space. Then one of them set eyes on our new find.
"Oh no!" the girl screamed. "The great goddess Athena turned Arachne into…that!" Arachne and I covered our mouths to hide our giggles.
The others gasped and started to panic. "That's the price she paid for angering the great goddess Athena." someone murmured. Some of them began crying.
Arachne left our hiding place and walked up to them. "Hi guys! What's going on?" she asked cheerfully.
"Arachne made the great goddess Athena angry and she got turned into this thing!" one of the mortals cried. Arachne fell to the ground laughing as the mortal did a double take. "She's alive! And not a bug!" someone yelled.
We eventually DID tell the mortals the real story, but like all rumors, the story of our spinning contest spread and somehow got weirder with each telling until Arachne was simply known as the silly girl who angered a goddess and got turned into a spider(And wove a tapestry of my father's infidelities… Arachne isn't that stupid, but if anyone is, let me know. Hera wants that tapestry to throw darts at.)
Arachne is in the Elylasian fields now. I visit her once a week like I always did when she was alive. She thinks it's hilarious how our story got so warped, but I'm a little irritated by it. So I bugged this girl named Dragonsrule who agreed to let me post this on her account if I got the muses to be kinder to her with her Fanfiction and Fictionpress stories.
So, that's my(and Arachne's) tale. If you have any questions, just send Dragonsrule a review or PM. I kind of don't have an email or telephone. My father is still stuck in the old ways.
Yes, yes, I know this story is weird. I was bored, okay?! Like Athena said, if you have any questions or comments please review!