Friday, May 05, 2006

Pandora's Box

One lovely evening, while dancing on the green, Epimetheus (Prometheus's brother) and Pandora (a gift of the gods to man) saw Mercury, Jupiter's messenger, coming towards them. His step was slow and weary, his garments dusty and travel-stained, and he staggered beneath the weight of a huge box which rested upon his shoulders. Pandora, in a whisper, begged Epimetheus to ask Mercury what gift he bore. Epimetheus complied with her request, but Mercury evaded the question and asked permission to deposit his burden in their home for safe-keeping. Mercury was too weary to convey it to its destination that day, and promised to call for it shortly. He placed the box in one corner of the dwelling and departed, refusing all hospitable offers of rest and refreshment.

Mercury had but crossed the threshold when Pandora insisted in having a peep at the contents of the mysterious box. Epimetheus was warned by Prometheus of interfering with the gods' business, told her that her curiosity was dangerous, and left the house hoping she would join him in the fresh air.

Left alone with the mysterious casket, Pandora became more and more inquisitive. The box was of such fine workmanship that it seemed to smile and encourage her. Around the box a glittering golden cord was wound, and fastened on top in an intricate knot. Pandora felt sure she could unfasten it, and reasoned that it would not be indiscreet to untie it if she did not raise the lid. Repeatedly she heard Epimetheus call for her to join them outside; yet she persisted in her attempt. She was just on the point of giving up in despair, when the refractory knot yielded to her fumbling fingers, and the cord, unrolling, dropped on the floor.

Pandora had fancied that sounds like whispers originated from the box. The noise now seemed to increase, and she listened closely to the lid. Imagine her surprise when she distinctly heard the soft cries of, "Pandora, dear Pandora, have pity upon us! Free us from this gloomy prison!"

Pandora's heart beat so fast and loud, that it seemed for a moment to drown all other sounds. Should she open the box? Just then a familiar step outside made her start guiltily. Epimetheus was coming, and she knew he would urge her again to come out, preventing the gratification of her curiosity. She quickly raised the lid to have one little peep before he came in.

Now, Jupiter had malignantly crammed into this box all the diseases, sorrows, vices, and crimes that now afflict humanity; and the box was no sooner opened, than all these ills flew out, in the guise of horrid little winged mothlike creatures. These little insects fluttered about, alighting, some upon Epimetheus, who had just entered, and some upon Pandora, pricking and stinging them unmercifully. They then flew out through the open door and windows, and fastened upon the merrymakers without, whose shouts of joy were soon changed into wails of pain and anguish.

Epimetheus and Pandora had never before experienced the faintest sensation of pain or anger; but, as soon as these winged evil spirits had stung them, they began to weep. The two quarrelled for the first time in their lives. Epimetheus reproached his wife in bitterest terms for her thoughtless action; but in the very midst of his vituperation he suddenly heard a sweet little voice entreat for freedom. The sound proceeded from the unfortunate box, whose cover Pandora had dropped again, in the first moment of her surprise and pain. "Open, open, and I will heal your wounds! Please let me out!" it pleaded.

The tearful couple viewed each other inquiringly, and listened again. Once more they heard the same soft voice; and Epimetheus bade his wife open the box and set the speaker free, adding that it would be difficult to add to the evil consequences.

It was well for Pandora that she opened the box a second time, for the gods, with a sudden impulse of compassion, had concealed among the evil spirits one kindly creature, Hope, whose mission was to heal the wounds inflicted by her fellow prisoners.

Lightly fluttering hither and thither on her laced wings, Hope touched the wounded places on Pandora's and Epimetheus' skin, relieved their suffering, and quickly flew out of the open window embarking on a quest to heal the downcast spirits inflicted by the previous release.

3 comments:

gecko said...

Welcome to the blogosphere Tom! I feel honored to leave your first comment :)

I'm looking forward to reading your posts!

-Marilyn

thomas said...

Thanks Marilyn.

Blogosphere, huh!

I guess I will have to be content with the blogosphere until I can escape my quarantinosphere.

Anonymous said...

I would say hope my be the most evil of the group. The Greeks have views on hope that were not something to be desired but something to fear.

If you think about it; hope can be the worst of all types of suffering. It can be a reoccurring lift and crash of human emotions in which a "man" may never find peace.