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Spider Myths and Folklore

Spider Myths and Folklore

There is a Greek myth about a country girl named Arachne.  She was a wonderful spinner of threads.  As the myth goes, the Greek goddess Athena was very jealous of Arachne.  Arachne bragged that she was a much more talented weaver than Athena, and challenged the goddess to a weaving contest.  Arachne was quite arrogant and again insulted the goddess by weaving pictures that made the gods (titans) look bad.  Athena became so angry that she turned Arachne into a spider and forced her to live the rest of her life weaving webs.

Another ending to this story is that Athena tore up all Arachne’s beautiful weaving and the distraught Arachne hung herself.  Athena felt so bad for her that she turned Arachne into a spider and vowed that all her relatives, forevermore, would be weavers of beautiful webs.

Spiders are very popular in African folklore.  They are usually very tricky but they almost always end up getting caught and learning a valuable lesson.  One popular spider is Asnansi. 

There are also rhymes about spiders, like "Little Miss Muffet" and "Itsy, Bitsy Spider".


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