In Greek mythology, Arachne was a great mortal weaver who boasted that her skill was greater than that of Athena, the goddess of wisdom and crafts. Someone asked Arachne how she learned to weave so well and suggested that Athena taught her and she did not know it.
Arachne dismissed this and boasted that she could teach Athena a thing or two in weaving. Athena then appeared in the doorway, wrapped in a long cloak, and asked if she really did not believe that Athena had taught her to weave.
Arachne repeated her boast and Athena challenged her to a contest in which Zeus was to be the judge. Whoever lost must promise never to touch spindle or loom again. Arachne wove a web thin yet strong with many colours. This was no match for Athena's weaving, made up of the gods and their glory, shining with their beauty.
Arachne acknowledged Athena's triumph, but despaired at the loss of her craft. Athena saw that Arachne could not live if she could not weave, so out of pity she touched Arachne with the tip of her spear, turning her into a spider so she could weave without spindle or loom.