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A long, long time ago,
there lived a warrior and weaver's son,
whose name was Giorgion Arachne.
Though humble in birth, he grew in stature,
joining the armies of the king.
Shrewd and strong, he rose in rank,
confounding his rivals by wit in his words,
and crushing his foes by the might of his deeds.

On the banner of his troops
he lay the spider's eight-pronged sigil,
and painted crimson on his helmet
were the runes of wisdom's strength.
Brilliant in the cunning of battle,
he led his legions out to war.
His enemies could not divine his schemes,
and all were trapped in his webs and devoured.

When, soon after, among the nations,
none remained to challenge him,
he turned and plotted against his own.
Weaving and spinning in secrecy,
he schemed and skulked with great deceit,
and turned his fellows against themselves,
till one by one they consumed each other,
and, at last, he remained, alone.

So Giorgion Arachne arose to the throne,
and ruled as mighty conqueror.
His crown was a wreath of purest gold,
and his scepter a rod of hardened steel.
His kingdom covered the face of the earth,
stretching above the heights of the mountains,
out across the breadths of the plains,
and down below the depths of the seas.

To his people, the king was cruel.
He made their toil bitter in brick and mortar,
to build all that his heart desired,
oppressing them under the whips of slave-drivers,
forcing them out to the fields and the mines.
In all their harsh labor he ruthlessly worked them,
that against his rule none might arise.
Thus cried his people:

"Your shackles are heavy
upon our ankles!
Loose our chains
and lighten our yoke.
With gladness
we will pledge our allegiance,
and make your kingdom
last forever."

But the king scoffed in reply,
"My shackles be thicker than your thighs!
Upon your necks my yoke is heavy,
and now I shall make it even heavier.
Your backs I have scourged with the venom of spiders;
and now I shall scourge with the scorpion's sting."
So the king, in hardness of heart,
tightened his web and choked his people.

There came, one day,
a prophet who stood
and spoke before the wicked king.
In camel's hair he clothed himself,
a belt of leather about his waist;
he held a budded wooden staff,
and a wild and brazen man was he.

"From where have you come?"
inquired the king.
"I care not
for the pantheon;
for prophets or magi
I have no need.
My reign proceeds
from my hand alone."

"I come neither from foolish men
who know not their right hand from their left,
nor idols made of wood or gold
who cannot hear or see or speak,
but bear the Word of the One enthroned,
who reigns forever, clothed in white."
Such was the prophet's bold reply.

"Who is He?"
sneered the king in response.
"I rule my kingdom
by my own hand.
There is no one
who reigns above.
My reign proceeds
from my hand alone."

"His kingdom lasts
forever and ever;
His dominion endures
from age to age,"
replied the prophet.
"Thus says Him
who sits enthroned:

'Woe to you, O wicked king!
'For you have boasted in your heart;
you bless your greed and revile the pure.
You have condemned, and murdered the just;
in patience he does not resist.
In your pride you regard Me not;
so in your schemes you shall surely fall!

'Renounce your sins by doing right,
and your evil by kindness to the oppressed.
Listen to the words I speak!
Be not like the horse or mule,
which understand nothing on their own,
but must be controlled by bit and bridle;
lest you be driven from men in shame.

'Surely in your chains you will crawl,
cast away into utter darkness,
in the depths of the heart of the earth,
unless you acknowledge that I am sovereign,
the One enthroned over every kingdom;
that I alone have made you great,
and I give My power to whom I please.' "

"Ha!"
cried the wicked king.
"There is no one
who reigns above.
My reign proceeds
from my hand alone."
He scorned the prophet,
and sent him away.

And so it was, that day, that as
the king strolled on the roof, he said:
"Is this not the kingdom I have made?
My palaces stretch to the heights of the mountains,
my fortresses litter the breadths of the plains,
and my ships sail over the depths of the seas,
by my power and for my glory.
My reign proceeds from my hand alone."

And as these words were on his lips,
a voice came thundering from above,
with an awesome sound, declaring:
"Thus says Him
who sits enthroned,
clothed in white,
who reigns forever:

'Surely in your chains you will crawl,
cast away into utter darkness,
in the depths of the heart of the earth,
for you will not acknowledge that I am sovereign,
the One enthroned over every kingdom;
that I alone had made you great,
and I give My power to whom I please.' "

Immediately what had been said was fulfilled.
Chariots of fire came down from above,
destroying all that the king had made.
With flaming wheels and blazing stallions
their relentless waves trampled over
his palaces on the heights of the mountains,
his fortresses out on the breadths of the plains,
and his ships above the depths of the seas.

And then a bright light shone from heaven,
and the king fell to his knees.
His body contorted at the waist,
and grew six large and hideous legs.
His abdomen bloated and swelled in size,
and formed a hardened carapace,
from which he still spun a thread,
webs thicker than his human thigh.

And from the castle roof he sunk,
under the mountains and under the plains,
under even the depths of the sea,
by his hubris swallowed whole.
And there he remains to this day,
a wicked king cursed by his pride,
cast away into utter darkness,
crawling in the heart of the earth — the spider Giorgion Arachne.

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