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Pandora opens her jar of evils


This is Jana,

And I am here with a creation myth from Ancient Greece. A creation myth is a story that explains how the world began. For instance, in the Bible we hear that the first humans were called Adam and Eve and they lived in the garden of Eden. Well the Greeks don’t have a name for the first man, though they do say he was created by a god-like being called Prometheus. But they do have a name for the first woman - Pandora - which means, ‘She Who Has all the Gifts’. Listen on to find out more.

Long, long ago, before humans walked the Earth, the world was watched over by Gaia, the Earth-mother of all things, and Uranus, the Sky-father. These were the first gods. They were the elements who did not just make the world - they were the world.

These first gods gave birth to a race called the Titans, who looked like humans, only they were giants who had superpowers. Uranus, the sky god, was afraid of his children, fearing they might rebel against his rule. To keep his throne safe, he imprisoned them beneath the surface of the Earth, where all they could do was rage and shake the ground.

Now Gaia, the Earth Goddess, loved her children and wanted to set them free. To help them, she made a sickle.

Imagine a shiny, sharp blade curved like a crescent moon. Farmers use it to easily slice through tall grasses and grains.

She placed this sickle into the hands of her eldest and strongest son, Cronus. Holding the sickle high, Cronus cried out, “Revolution!” and led the Titans up to the surface of the world. There, he did battle with his father, Uranus, and with a powerful strike, he wounded him terribly, defeating him.

Uranus limped off the scene, and now the Titans now ruled the world. They, in turn, gave birth to a third generation of gods. Their names may be familiar to you: Zeus (son of Cronos), Hera, Apollo, and Athena, among others. These young gods made their home on top of Mount Olympus and were known as the Olympians.

But before too many aeons had gone by, the wheel of fortune turned once more!

Zeus led a counter-revolution against father Cronus and the Titans.

A great civil war called the Titanomachy erupted, in which the Titans fought the Olympians, and fathers fought sons. In the end, Zeus and the young Olympian gods emerged victorious.

They cast the Titans down into eternal darkness known as the Abyss. But two of the Titans had stayed out of the war and received mercy. The two Titans who were spared were named Prometheus and Epimetheus - meaning forethought and after thought.

Prometheus and Epimetheus each had their own unique qualities. Prometheus was wise and thoughtful, always planning ahead, while Epimetheus was impulsive, often acting without thinking things through. In fact, the only wisdom that Epimetheus ever learned came from his own mistakes.

Zeus, the king of the Olympian gods, ordered Prometheus and Epimetheus to populate the Earth with mortal creatures.

And so they set about creating creatures out of clay.

Epimetheus made a nice collection of animals, from elephants to cows to humans. The goddess Athena breathed life into them.

Meanwhile his brother Prometheus made human beings. He lovingly crafted them into upright shapes that walked on two legs—just like the gods themselves. However, unlike the gods, humans were small, puny, and helpless creatures, more worthy of pity than reverence.

Epimetheus gave each of his animals special gifts. He gave the birds their wings, the fish their ability to swim, and the lions their mighty roars. But by the time he finished, Epimetheus realised he had used up all the special gifts.

Which meant that the most remarkable thing about the humans was that they lacked any gifts at all. In fact, they were the most useless of all the living things! Prometheus had to change that.

He saw the animals that his brother had made—for instance, the cow that enjoyed chewing on grass and the dog that loved to yap—and he had an ambition to create something far more interesting.

He said to himself:

“My human beings shall burn inside with a hunger for knowledge that sets them apart from the other animals.”

He had in mind a heavenly gift —the gift of fire to light up the darkness and make the hearts of the humans burn with passion, anger, love, and thirst for knowledge.

But there was one problem: Zeus had ruled that divine fire was reserved for gods. He did not want any other creatures to rival the gods for creativity and passion.

Prometheus, however, was determined. One night, he climbed up to Mount Olympus, home to the gleaming palace of the gods. He crept inside the palace and approached the sacred hearth where an eternal flame burned. From the fireplace of the gods, he took a glowing ember and hid it inside a hollow reed. Silently, he descended from Olympus and brought the fire down to Earth where he gave it to his humans. They delighted in this wonderful gift, and used it to cook meals, forge tools, and keep warm. With light and fire, they gained knowledge, and they began to build civilisations.

These were wonderful times for humans. They had everything they needed. Nothing to kill or die for. They lived only in peace.

But it was not long before Zeus saw the fires burning on Earth and smelt the smoke rising from human homes. He realised that he had been robbed! And his suspicion immediately fell on crafty Prometheus, the creator of the humans. He thundered:

“You delight that you deceived me, but not for long. Your humans shall pay the Price of Suffering in return for the stolen gift of fire!”

First Zeus gave Prometheus his own special punishment. He chained him to the side of a remote cliff where he was beaten by the weather and the waves.

But even then Zeus was not satisfied with the suffering of Prometheus.

So each day he sent an eagle to peck at his liver and cause him more pain.

Even then, Zeus was not done with his revenge.

He had sworn to punish mankind too.

This is how he fulfilled his terrible plan. He ordered Hephaestus, the worker god who used a hammer and an anvil, to create the first woman. He was to make her out of earth and sea water.

Hephaestus fashioned a lovely being. And the other gods gave her special gifts.
Aphrodite gave her beauty and the face of a divine goddess
Athena gave her quick wits and cunning plans.
And Hera gave her golden ornaments and gorgeous dresses.
And finally, Hephaestus gave her his own evil gift - a sense of entitlement - which meant that she believed the world owed her everything, just because she was beautiful and smart.

Zeus called this woman Pandora - she who has all the gifts.
She had everything good, except a good heart.

And Zeus had yet one more gift for his lovely creation.
He gave her a mysterious jar and warned her never to open it.

Hermes brought Pandora down to earth,and presented her to King Epimetheus, who immediately fell in love with her. Epimetheus was, you might recall, the brother of Prometheus, and was noted for acting in haste, and repenting at leisure.

Epimetheus, in his foolishness, forgot the words of his wise brother, that he should never accept a gift from Zeus, but should always send it back. He could not help himself. Pandora was too beautiful!

He immediately asked Pandora to marry him, and she agreed. It was a decision he lived to regret.

Some time after she was married, and living a perfect life in the palace, she became restless and bored with her married bliss.

“The gods gave me as a gift to Epimetheus,” she said to herself. “And he couldn’t believe his eyes! He had never seen any living being as beautiful as me! But has he shown his gratitude? No! He soon forgot how lucky he was to have me. And now, I am neglected and overlooked. But I know what I can do. I have this jar given to me by Zeus. It’s mine, and I have a right to open it and enjoy all the divine gifts that are inside it. So that’s exactly what I shall do!”

Curiosity got the better of her, and she opened the jar. As soon as she had lifted the lid, a tornado of evils and sorrows that had been trapped inside rushed out -pandemics, envy, greed, and more. Thousands, no! Millions of troubles spread around the world and infected the hearts of every human.

Thus the life of humans changed profoundly, for the worse.

No more leisure, instead humans had to toil in the hot sun to grow their food.
No more peace, instead humans fought wars against one another.
No more long life, instead humans grew old, and sick and senile.

Terrified, Pandora quickly closed the jar, but it was too late. From that day on, humans experienced suffering.

Suffering is the punishment that Zeus has given to humankind, because we enjoyed the stolen gift of fire - a gift that was meant to be reserved for the gods.

Only one property remained inside Pandora’s jar—Hope. Hope was all that humans had left. Some might call it foolishness, some might call it the emotion that keeps us going - but humans always live in hope that one day, life will get better, and suffering will come to an end.


And that was the story of Pandora, the first woman. We also heard about Prometheus, who stole fire from the gods. These stories were written down by a Greek poet called Hesiod, who lived around 700 to 800 years before the birth of Christ.

Hesiod was a shepherd. One day when he was watching his sheep on Mount Helicon, he came across the Muses. Or at least, that’s what he claimed.

The Muses were the nine goddesses of inspiration who presided over the arts and sciences. They were believed to give poets, musicians, and artists the creativity and wisdom to produce their works. When Hesiod met the Muses, they inspired him to tell stories about the gods, heroes, and everyday life.

Hesiod's writings are important because they help us understand ancient Greek myths and how people lived and thought in those times. So, when we read about Pandora and Prometheus, we're not just hearing exciting tales, but also connecting with a part of human history and culture.

We very much hope you enjoyed this story, and will join us soon for more at Storynory.com

From me Jana, bye for now.