A Modern Greek Mythology: Arachne

As I have stated in previous blogs, I am a huge fan of Greek mythology. So, during my time off from “The Prism,” I will rewrite tales from Greek mythology and place them in modern times. I think this will be a super fun and creative thing to do. There will be some suspension of disbelief that you as a reader will need to have, just as there is a lot needed for Greek mythology in general. The first story I will retell is the story of Arachne. If you aren’t familiar with her story, I definitely recommend looking it up so you have some kind of reference to the original. Here’s a link to the Wikipedia Page.

The Story of Arachne

Arachne was a simple woman. She lived in a modest home in downtown Athens, GA and ran a salon out of her garage with a large neon sign above the door that read “Arachne’s Weaves.” Although her business was small, it was the talk of the town, and she had a line out the door from beginning to close. Everyone wanted their weave done by Arachne. Sometimes people came and just watched her work. Her detail and skill were unparalleled. One day, she was working on a young woman’s weave who was so thrilled with the final product that the girl said, “Oh my god, girl. How do you do this? You must pray to Athena every day for hands like that.” She rotated her head left to right as she looked in the mirror, in love with her hair.

Arachne hated being compared to a god. “No,” she said bitterly. “My skill is my own. I don’t need a god’s help to do work as fine as this.”

“Are you sure? ‘Cause Athena is, like, da best,” she said. She left with a big smile.

“If Athena’s so good, she can come here and show me herself. If she could sew in a weave better than me…” Arachne pursed her lips. “I’d do whatever she wanted.”

Arachne wasn’t aware that Athena heard these comments.

“How could anyone weave as well as I can? Athena thought. “I am a god and the best at the craft.” She hatched a plan to prove to Arachne who the best weaver was. Athena disguised herself as an old woman with a cane. She went to Arachne’s salon and asked for a simple haircut.

“I hear your weaves are better than that of Athena herself,” Athena said in her disguised body.

“Damn right,” Arachne said nonchalantly.

“You probably shouldn’t compare yourself so favorably to a god. Don’t you know what happens to people who upset the gods?” Athena asked.

“Oh, I know, but I don’t care. I’ve been weaving better than her for a long time. Hasn’t hurt me yet,” Arachne said, growing irritated with the subject.

“Hmm, maybe you should pray to her, give her an apology. She may forgive you.”

Arachne rolled her eyes and continued cutting the old woman’s hair. “Nah, I’m good.”

Athena was furious. She rose from the chair and removed her disguise, revealing her true self. “You fool,” she yelled.

Arachne didn’t flinch. She had one hand on her hip and held her scissors in the other.

Athena continued. “How dare you compare yourself to me? I am a god. We will prove right here and now that I am the best,” Athena hissed.

Arachne rolled her eyes. “Okay, and when I win, you leave me alone,” she stated.

“And if I win, you will never place another weave on a head again,” Athena said.

Athena snapped her fingers, and another chair and working station appeared. Two women with thinning hair appeared in both chairs.

“The challenge,” Athena snarled, “is to create the most unique weaving pattern that you’ve ever attempted and a hairstyle to match.”

“Let’s go then,” Arachne replied confidently.

Spectators packed into the small garage, and many more crowded outside just to try to catch a glimpse of Arachne and the goddess at work. And work they did. For hours, the two labored tirelessly over the women sitting on the chairs. Sweat poured from their aching bodies. Athena was stitching the hair to stand up naturally in order to create a stunning updo. Arachne was not intimated by it. She admitted Athena was good, but she wasn’t as good as Arachne. Arachne’s own stitching was perfect, you couldn’t even tell it was there. She styled her woman’s hair into a beautiful basket that sat atop her head.

At the end of the competition, Athena reviewed Arachne’s work. It was perfect. Athena could not find a single flaw in it, and she grew furious. She grabbed scissors off the table and started cutting at it, destroying the beautiful weave. She then started relentlessly beating Arachne on the head with anything she could grab around her.

Arachne was well aware of her fate. She knew winning against a god did not end in glory. She ran upstairs to her apartment and found a gun. She fumbled to load it but eventually slid in the clip.

Athena marched in and smirked when she saw Arachne pointing the gun at her. Arachne fired a single shot that landed right between the goddess’ eyes. Athena didn’t flinch though a bullet-sized hole sat right between her brows. “Ha! You really think that mortal weapon could kill me?”

“No, but it brings a smile to my face to see that hole in your head. It’s an imperfection, just like that sorry attempt at a weave you did down there,” Arachne said. “It’s just another small victory for me before you kill me.”

Athena gasped. She reached into her pocket and grabbed a small bag. “Oh, I’m not going to kill you. Your punishment will be much worse.” She walked up to Arachne and sprinkled the bag’s contents over her. It was a magic powder she had received from Hecate. Arachne’s hair, nose, and ears melted off her body as she slowly transformed into a spider.

“Now,” Athena said with spite, “you can do your own weave, forever.” Athena then disappeared, leaving Arachne to wallow in eternal misery.

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