No one had any work to do. People lived on
mountain strawberries, which were always to
be had for the gathering, and on wild
grapes, blackberries, and sweet acorns,
which grew plentifully in the oak forests.
Rivers flowed with milk and nectar. Even the
bees did not need to lay up honey, for it
fell in tiny drops from the trees. There was
In all the whole world, there was not a
sword, nor any weapon by means of which men
might fight with one another. No one had
ever heard of any such thing. All the iron
and the gold were buried deep underground.
Besides, people were never ill; they had no
troubles of any kind; and never grew old.
The two brothers,
lived in those wonderful days. After
stealing the fire for man, Prometheus,
Jupiter would be angry, decided
to go away for a time on a distant journey;
but before he went, he warned Epimetheus not
to receive any gifts from the gods.
One day, after Prometheus had been gone for
Mercury came to the cottage of
Epimetheus, leading by the hand a beautiful
young woman, whose name was Pandora. She had
a wreath of partly opened rosebuds on her
head, a number of delicate gold chains
twisted lightly around her neck, and wore a
filmy veil which fell nearly to the hem of
her tunic. Mercury presented her to
Epimetheus, saying the gods had sent this
gift that he might not be lonesome.
Pandora had such a lovely face that
Epimetheus could not help believing that the
gods had sent her to him in good faith. So
he paid no heed to the warning of
Prometheus, but took Pandora into his
cottage, and found that the days passed much
more quickly and pleasantly when she was
Soon, the gods sent Epimetheus another gift.
This was a heavy box, which the satyrs
brought to the cottage, with directions that
it was not to be opened. Epimetheus let it
stand in a corner of his cottage; for by
this time he had begun to think that the
caution of Prometheus about receiving gifts
from the gods was altogether unnecessary.
Often, Epimetheus was away all day, hunting
or fishing or gathering grapes from the wild
vines that grew along the river banks. On
such days, Pandora had nothing to do but to
wonder what was in the mysterious box. One
day her curiosity was so great that she
lifted the lid a very little way and peeped
in. The result was similar to what would
have happened had she lifted the cover of a
beehive. Out rushed a great swarm of little
winged creatures, and before Pandora knew
what had happened, she was stung. She
dropped the lid and ran out of the cottage,
screaming. Epimetheus, who was just coming
in at the door, was well stung, too.
The little winged creatures that Pandora had
let out of the box were Troubles, the first
that had ever been seen in the world. They
soon flew about and spread themselves
everywhere, pinching and stinging whenever
they got the chance.
After this, people began to have headaches,
rheumatism, and other illnesses; and instead
of being always kind and pleasant to one
another, as they had been before the
Troubles were let out of the box, they
became unfriendly and quarrelsome. They
began to grow old, too.
Nor was it always spring any longer. The
fresh young grasses that had clothed all the
hillsides, and the gay-colored flowers that
had given Epimetheus and Pandora so much
pleasure, were scorched by hot summer suns,
and bitten by the frosts of autumn. Oh, it
was a sad thing for the world, when all
those wicked little Troubles were let loose!
All the Troubles escaped from the box, but
when Pandora let the lid fall so hastily,
she shut in one little winged creature, a
kind of good fairy whose name was Hope. This
little Hope persuaded Pandora to let her
out. As soon as she was free, she flew about
in the world, undoing all the evil that the
Troubles had done, that is, as fast as one
good fairy could undo the evil work of such
a swarm. No matter what evil thing had
happened to poor mortals, she always found
some way to comfort them. She fanned aching
heads with her gossamer wings; she brought
back the color to pale cheeks; and best of
all, she whispered to those who were growing
old that they should one day be young again.
So this is the way that Troubles came into
the world, but we must not forget that Hope
came with them.
The Legend and Myth of the Troubles
The Myth of the Troubles (Pandora's Box)
The story of the Troubles (Pandora's Box) is featured in the book
entitled Favorite Greek Myths by Lilian
Stoughton Hyde, published in 1904 by D. C.
Heath and Company.