Arachne lived in a small village o
n the shores of the Mediterranean. Her parents were very poor. While her mother was busy cooking the simple meals for the family, or working in the fields, Arachne used to spin all day long.
Her wheel made a steady whirring like the buzzing of some insect. She grew so skilful from constant practice that the threads she drew out were almost as fine as the mists that rose from the sea nearby. The neigh
bours used to hint, sometimes, that such fine-spun threads were rather useless, and that it might be better if Arachne would help her mother more and spin less.
One day Arachne's father, who was a fisherman, came home w
ith his baskets full of little shellfish, which were of a bright crimson or purple colour. He thought the colour of the little fish so pretty that he tried the experiment of dyeing Arachne's wools with them. The result
was the most vivid hue that had ever been seen in any kind of woven fabric. This was the colour which was afterward called Tyrian purple,��or sometimes it was called royal purple, because kings liked to wear it.
何瑞克宁住在地中海沿岸的小村落。 她的双亲非常贫穷。 当她的母亲忙着为家人烹煮简单的食物，或在田里耕种时，何瑞克宁则整天在纺纱。
她的纺车发出很规律的旋转声，犹如某种昆虫嗡嗡的叫声。 她不断地练习，技术已到了炉火纯青的境地，而她纺出来的纱，几乎像附近海上升起的薄雾那般细致。 偶而，邻居们会讽刺她说：「纺出那么细致的纱有什么用呢？倒不如多帮母亲的忙，少纺点纱。」
有一天，何瑞克宁以捕鱼维生的父亲，抱着满满一笼子的小贝壳回来，那种贝壳是艳丽的鲜红色，也就是深红色。 他觉得那种小贝壳相当漂亮，因此想用来做何瑞克宁的毛线染色的实验品。 结果成为所有的织物中所见最艳丽的色彩。 而最后被称做「织罗紫」──因为国王们非常喜欢穿这种颜色的衣服，有时也叫「王紫色」。