Suddenly, she heard a gentle tap-tap inside. “What can that be?” said Pandora, raising her head; and again came the tap, tap. It sounded like the knuckles of a tiny hand knocking lightly on the inside of the box.
“Who are you?” asked Pandora.
A sweet little voice came from inside: “Only lift the lid and you will see.”
But Pandora was afraid to lift the lid again. She looked across to Epimetheus, but he was so cross that he took no notice. Pandora sobbed: “No, no, I am afraid; there are so many troubles with stings flying about that we do not want any more?”
“Ah, but I am not one of these,” the sweet voice said, “they are no relations of mine. Come, come, dear Pandora, I am sure you will let me out.”
The voice sounded so kind and cheery that it made Pandora feel better even to listen to it. Epimetheus too had heard the voice. He stopped crying. Then he came forward, and said: “Let me help you, Pandora, as the lid is very heavy.”
So this time both the children opened the box, and out flew a bright, smiling little fairy, who brought light and sunshine with her. She flew to Epimetheus and with her finger touched his brow where the trouble had stung him, and immediately the pain was gone.
Then she kissed Pandora, and her hurt was better at once.
[Illustration: Out flew A bright smiling little fairy.]
“Pray who are you, kind fairy?” Pandora asked.
“I am called Hope,” answered the sunshiny figure. “I was shut up in the box so that I might be ready to comfort people when the family of troubles got loose in the world.”
“What lovely wings you have! They are just like a rainbow. And will you stay with us,” asked Epimetheus, “for ever and ever?”
“Yes,” said Hope, “I shall stay with you as long as you live. Sometimes you will not be able to see me, and you may think I am dead, but you will find that I come back again and again when you have given up expecting me, and you must always trust my promise that I will never really leave you.”
“Yes, we do trust you,” cried both children. And all the rest of their lives when the troubles came back and buzzed about their heads and left bitter stings of pain, Pandora and Epimetheus would remember whose fault it was that the troubles had ever come into the world at all, and they would then wait patiently till the fairy with the rainbow wings came back to heal and comfort them.
ADAPTED BY C.E. SMITH
Once upon a time there lived a very rich King whose name was Midas, and he had a little daughter whom he loved very dearly. This King was fonder of gold than of anything else in the whole world: or if he did love anything better, it was the one little daughter who played so merrily beside her father’s footstool.