When Prometheus stole the divine fire for mortals, taught them various arts and crafts and gave them knowledge, life on earth became happier. Zeus, angered by Prometheus’ actions, punished him severely and sent evil to the people. He commanded the glorious god, the blacksmith Hephaestus, to mix earth and water, and to make of this mixture a beautiful girl equal in power to men, to have a gentle voice and a gaze similar to that of the immortal goddesses. Zeus‘ daughter Athena was to weave a beautiful garment for the girl; the goddess of love, the golden Aphrodite, was to give her a charm that no one could resist; Hermes to give her a cunning mind and dexterity.

The gods immediately obeyed Zeus‘ command. Hephaestus made of earth an extraordinarily beautiful girl. The gods breathed life into her. Athena and the Charites dressed the girl in sun-shining clothes and put on gold necklaces. People placed a wreath of fragrant spring flowers on her gorgeous curls. Hermes put false and flattering words in her mouth. The gods called her Pandora because she received all the gifts. Pandora was to bring misfortune to the people with her appearance.

Zeus readies Pandora with Hermes in attendance, Josef Abel

When this evil for men was ready, Zeus sent Hermes to take Pandora to earth to Prometheus’ brother Epimetheus. The wise Prometheus repeatedly warned his foolish brother and advised him not to accept gifts from the thunderer Zeus. He feared that these gifts would bring misery to the people. But Epimetheus did not listen to the advice of his wise brother. Pandora captivated him with her beauty and he married her. Epimetheus soon realized how much evil Pandora had brought with it to the people.

In the house of Epimetheus there was a large vessel, tightly closed with a heavy lid; no one knew what was in this vessel, and no one dared to open it, for it was well known that it brought misfortune. Curious Pandora secretly removed the lid from the vessel, and the misfortunes that were contained in it were scattered all over the earth. Only Hope remained at the bottom of the huge court. The lid of the court closed again, and Hope did not fly out of Epimetheus’ house. The thunderbolt Zeus did not want this to happen.

People used to live happily without knowing evil, hard work and destructive diseases. Now countless troubles have spread among the people. Now both the land and the sea are filled with evil. Day and night evil and disease come uninvited to men; they bring suffering to people. With unheard footsteps, they come in silence, as Zeus deprived them of the gift of speech – he created evil and diseases.