"Arachne was a great weaver who boasted that her skill was greater than that of Athena, goddess of wisdom, weaving, and strategy. Arachne was a shepherd's daughter and began weaving at an early age. When Arachne refused to acknowledge that her skill came, in part at least, from the goddess, Athena took offense and set up a contest between the two. Presenting herself as an old lady, she approached the boasting girl and warned: "You can never compare to any of the gods. Plead for forgiveness and Athena might spare your soul". Arachne was indignant. "Ha! I only speak the truth and if Athena thinks otherwise then let her come down and challenge me herself," she replied. Athena removed her disguise and appeared in shimmering glory, clad in a sparkling white dress. The two began weaving straight away. Athena's weaving represented four separate contests between mortals and the gods in which the gods punished mortals for setting themselves as equals of the gods. Arachne's weaving depicted ways that the gods had misled and abused mortals, particularly Zeus' seduction of many women. When Athena saw that Arachne had not only insulted the gods, but done so with a work far more beautiful than Athena's own, she ripped Arachne's work into shreds, and sprinkled her with a potion, turning her into a spider and cursing her and her descendants to weave for all time."

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