Old Greek Stories eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 129 pages of information about Old Greek Stories.

The more she thought about the golden casket, the more curious she was to see what was in it; and every day she took it down from its shelf and felt of the lid, and tried to peer inside of it without opening it.

“Why should I care for what Athena told me?” she said at last.  “She is not beautiful, and jewels would be of no use to her.  I think that I will look at them, at any rate.  Athena will never know.  Nobody else will ever know.”

She opened the lid a very little, just to peep inside.  All at once there was a whirring, rustling sound, and before she could shut it down again, out flew ten thousand strange creatures with death-like faces and gaunt and dreadful forms, such as nobody in all the world had ever seen.  They fluttered for a little while about the room, and then flew away to find dwelling-places wherever there were homes of men.  They were diseases and cares; for up to that time mankind had not had any kind of sickness, nor felt any troubles of mind, nor worried about what the morrow might bring forth.

These creatures flew into every house, and, without any one seeing them, nestled down in the bosoms of men and women and children, and put an end to all their joy; and ever since that day they have been flitting and creeping, unseen and unheard, over all the land, bringing pain and sorrow and death into every household.

If Pandora had not shut down the lid so quickly, things would have gone much worse.  But she closed it just in time to keep the last of the evil creatures from getting out.  The name of this creature was Foreboding, and although he was almost half out of the casket, Pandora pushed him back and shut the lid so tight that he could never escape.  If he had gone out into the world, men would have known from childhood just what troubles were going to come to them every day of their lives, and they would never have had any joy or hope so long as they lived.

And this was the way in which Jupiter sought to make mankind more miserable than they had been before Prometheus had befriended them.

III.  HOW THE FRIEND OF MEN WAS PUNISHED.

The next thing that Jupiter did was to punish Prometheus for stealing fire from the sun.  He bade two of his servants, whose names were Strength and Force, to seize the bold Titan and carry him to the topmost peak of the Caucasus Mountains.  Then he sent the blacksmith Vulcan to bind him with iron chains and fetter him to the rocks so that he could not move hand or foot.

Vulcan did not like to do this, for he was a friend of Prometheus, and yet he did not dare to disobey.  And so the great friend of men, who had given them fire and lifted them out of their wretchedness and shown them how to live, was chained to the mountain peak; and there he hung, with the storm-winds whistling always around him, and the pitiless hail beating in his face, and fierce eagles shrieking in his ears and tearing his body with their cruel claws.  Yet he bore all his sufferings without a groan, and never would he beg for mercy or say that he was sorry for what he had done.

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Old Greek Stories from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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