In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets chapter 14, Hagrid suggests the trio to follow the spiders. This has led them to the lair of the Acromantula (giant spider) Aragog and its hive in the Forbidden Forest. Why did he say this?
Did he think Aragog knew what the Monster of Slytherin was? Did he think Aragog could give information that helps clear Hagrid's name?
In either case, why didn't Hagrid give a more direct hint? He was no longer doing anything illegal: as Gamekeeper of Hogwarts, it was his task to be familiar with the inhabitants of the Forbidden Forest, and talk to the speaking ones. That Hagrid had originally raised Aragog in a cupboard is irrelevant now.