On that fateful day I sighed, weaving as hard as I could. I have to keep up with my work. My weaving was and is the most important part of my life. Don’t fall behind, Arachne. I didn’t have many friends… still don’t, actually. In fact, nowadays I have less. But that doesn’t matter, I suppose. It’s my punishment.
I was so arrogant way back then. But I loved my weaving just as much as I do now. I was learning under the firm hand of Athena, my teacher. Granted, I was a very good weaver. An excellent one, in fact. But there was no need for my bragging, I finally realize that.
“I am the best weaver on this world,” I’d boast. “I even surpass my teacher, Athena!”
It’s only natural that word would spread to my teacher so quickly. After all, she is Athena. I was so immature… I had no idea that she would punish me. How could I not have known? She’s Athena.
The contest was fun, but I was so foolish. I insulted her. How could I have been stupid enough to do that? How could I be so stupid?
But, to my surprise, her punishment wasn’t immediate.
“Aren’t you going to punish me?” I asked nervously.
“Of course I am,” Athena relied. “Why wouldn’t I?”
I swallowed hard, slowly lowering myself to my knees, still clutching my cloth that I’d woven. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry, Athena…”
“Of course you are now, once you’re at my mercy.”
Athena looked down at me. “… Your cloth.”
I looked up, tightening my grip on it. “Please don’t take it.”
“You like your weaving quite a bit, don’t you?”
“Weaving is my life, Athena.”
Athena paused. “… Very well then. It shall be your life.”
I bowed my head. “Ironic, isn’t it? Weaving ended my life.”
“As a human girl, anyway.”
I looked up, shocked. “You won’t kill me…?”
She laughed. “No, of course not. You need a punishment that will let you ponder your misdeed.”
“Think it over. Realize what you’ve done wrong.”
“I realize it already!”
“Think about it. Live on knowing that you brought your punishment upon yourself. It’s you that are to blame, Arachne. Not me.”
The last I saw of Athena was her toe. I didn’t wait for her to change her mind and do something worse. I scrambled away, up the wall, to the ceiling, as fast as my eight little legs could take me. And I watched as Athena burned all of my woven creations to ashes.
I’ve moved from home to home, just weaving. After all, what else can I do?
My weaving was flawless-
even she said so.
She had to.
She governs truth, after all.
But it was truth that did me in,
the things she cannot deny -
every bit of what I wove
So I am done in
by the gods
like Leda, Europa,
Women whose stories I spun -
You are not forgotten.
They are not forgiven.
And I will speak
truth to power
if it kills me.