When Zeus, King of the gods, presents a mysterious chest to Epimetheus and his beautiful bride, Pandora, he warns them on no account to open the box. Day after day, Pandora resists the temptation to open this box, but one day, she cannot resist…An ancient Greek Myth (adapted by Kathleen) suitable for ages 7 and up (might be a little scary for younger kids) (Duration – 18 minutes) An episode from Journey with Story, a storytelling podcast for kids.
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Launch the New Year on Wings of Hope with this Beloved Greek Myth
E170 – January 6, 2022
What would you do if someone gave you a special box with a lid on it and told you on no account were you to open this box? Do you think you would find it easy to obey this command? Or do you think you might be tempted to open it and take a quick peek?
Hello everyone. I’m Kathleen Pelley. Welcome to Journey with Story. Today’s episode is a famous Greek myth about a young woman, called Pandora, who was told just to do this – not open the box! Will she be able to keep her word?
Before we begin, grown ups – mums and dads, if you haven’t already done so, can you please take a moment to rate and review this podcast wherever you listen to it and maybe even share it with one or two of your friends? Thanks ever so much. And a huge thanks to all of you who have already given us such terrific reviews and ratings – we really support all of your support and encouragement.
Now-let’s find out as we take a journey with…
In ancient times, before human beings walked the earth, the gods, Titans, and other immortals made Earth their home. One day, Zeus, the king of all the gods, ordered two Titans, Prometheus and his brother, Epimetheus to create animals and the first men.
The two brothers went to the riverbank and set about forming the first animals and humans from clay. Epimetheus gave the animals many gifts such as swiftness of foot, piercing vision, and unbounded strength. But then too late, he realized he now did not have enough gifts to bestow on the humans. Prometheus, feeling sorry for the poor mortals, stole fire from Mount Olympus and carried it down to them.
But Zeus was furious –how dare these mortals take what belonged to the gods. He would have his revenge. How? Listen now to the story of Pandora’s Box.
Zeus asked the other gods to help him make a very special woman- not only was she bright and beautiful, but she was also clever and charming and musical. At once, Zeus sent for Epimetheus. “Here is a wife for you,” he said. “She is your reward for making all the animals of the earth.” Then, Zeus gave the couple a special box, bound and locked. “Keep this safe,” he commanded them. “And I warn you – at all costs, you must never, ever, ever open this box – you are to keep it locked at all times.”
The young couple agreed to do as Zeus had asked, and then Epimetheus set off at once to marry the beautiful Pandora. So enchanted was he with her beauty and charm, that he forgot to heed his brother’s warning, “Never accept gifts from the other gods.”
After the wedding, Prometheus stowed the box in a dark corner of their house. Pandora was delighted with their splendid home- she loved the gardens that brimmed with sweet scented flowers and splashing fountains. But no matter what she was doing- drinking water from the well, or closing the upstairs shutters to her room, stirring coals in the hearth, or gathering olives in the gardens, she could not stop thinking about the special box that Zeus had given them.
Day and night, night and day, the thought of that box niggled her. What was in the box? she wondered. Pandora’s husband seemed to know what his wife was wondering.
“Remember that box has not to be opened,” he reminded her. “Never, never, never. The gods have commanded it. We must not disobey them.”
Meekly, Pandora nodded. “Of course, my husband. You are right!” she agreed.
Still, secretly when her husband was not looking, Pandora would wonder about the box. “What could be in it?” she asked herself, over and over again. “Jewels? Or some other precious object?”
One day, when her husband was off in the fields, Pandora happened to catch sight of the box – sitting in a dark corner in a room just off the courtyard. It seemed to call out to her, “Come and open me. Come and open me, open me, open me.”
Pandora tiptoed into the room. The box seemed to give off an odd golden glow. Closer and closer, Pandora tiptoed. Suddenly she felt a cold shiver tingle down her spine. Her husband’s words rang in her head, “Remember that box has not to be opened. Never, never, never. The gods have commanded it. We must not disobey them.” She edged back, back, back. Then she turned and ran trembling to her room.
Days passed. Weeks passed. Months passed. But Pandora’s wondering about the box did not lessen –not one little bit. Instead it grew and grew like a storm cloud – swirling and twirling around her until it almost engulfed her. Try as she might, she could not stop thinking or wondering about that box.
She tried to distract herself with other simpler thoughts. She sat in the courtyard and admired the brightly colored blossoms. She listened to the birds singing from the rooftops, and she tossed pebbles into the fountains as she sang all the ancient songs etched on her heart. She even fetched a brush, knelt in the courtyard and painted pictures from the old stories on the white tiles. But the old stories and songs and pictures all led her mind back to- the mysterious, locked box.
One day, while Pandora was out strolling in the nearby high hills, she came upon, crouched on the rock ledge above her, a graceful mountain lioness, staring down at her. For a moment the woman and the animal stared into each other’s eyes. Then, slowly, the lioness turned and in one nimble leap, disappeared.
Pandora puzzled at what such an encounter could mean. But she could not make any sense of it. Yet, on the way home, she felt a sudden surge of courage fill her heart – it banished all her fear.
The following morning, Pandora found herself all alone in the house. She walked outside to the courtyard and passed the room where the box stood hidden in the corner. The door to the room was ajar. Once more, she noticed the box seemed to emit a strange golden glow. Pandora walked right past the room. But then she turned back and began to pace back and forth – back and forth. Again she seemed to hear the box speak to her – “Come and open me. Come and open me, open me, open me.”
Suddenly, Pandora stepped inside the room. She shut the door behind her. Maybe, maybe, it would be alright if she just lifted the lid a tiny, teeny, little bit and took a very quick peek inside, she told herself. Slowly, Pandora tiptoed forward, one step, two steps, three steps…
She felt her heart quiver. Her fingers shook as she fumbled with the lid. Ever so gently, she pried it open, and peered inside. Stillness surrounded her. And then….then…
Pandora stumbled backward as if a giant wave had washed over her. She felt herself flung backwards against a wall. Dazed and trembling she saw…..horrible winged creatures flap from the box – gnarly, twisty things spun past her head. Screaming voices drenched the air
“I am War and Anger!”
“I am death and blood!”
“I am falsehoods!”
“I am lies!”
“I am Pride and Revenge!”
Howls and whistles, screeches and wails rang in her ears.
Mustering her courage and strength, Pandora crawled toward the box. A flurry of claws and feathers beat against her hair. She reached up with one arm and just before she could snap the lid back in place, a tiny butterfly fluttered out on yellow wings like a splash of sunlight. “I am HOPE,” it sang out.
Pandora gasped- something good remains, she thought. All is not lost.
Staggering outside she met her husband running up to gather her in his arms. “The box, “ she gasped, “there were bad things- they have escaped! It was my fault, my fault.”
Now the air was filled with a black cloud. A terrible storm was brewing. Trouble.
“I know, I know,” answered Epimetheus, grasping Pandora’s hand. “Harm and evil have entered the world now. But we must be brave, very brave.”
Pandora nodded. Yes, she could do that – she could be brave. She would use all the gifts and powers the gods had given her. She felt her fear ebb away. She felt a bubble in her heart – a spark of light lifting her spirit. “What is it?” she wondered.
And then, she looked up and saw the butterfly fluttering above her – this was HOPE that she felt. From that day to this, even although we humans have to bear sadness and loss and suffering, we have HOPE to help lighten our hearts and ease our pain.
Well – do you blame Pandora for opening the box? Do you think you might have been tempted to do the same? Why do you think Zeus did not tell Pandora and her husband WHY he did not want them to open the box? Yes, remember at the very beginning, we learn that Zeus wanted to take revenge on the humans and so he knew very well that they might open the box. But luckily, Hope saved everyone.
Isn’t this a good story to begin the New Year? Its souvenir is surely – that despite all the sad or bad things in the world, there is always HOPE – we can always choose to hope that we will find glimmers of goodness, bolts of beauty and whiffs of wonder to cheer us on our way in this world.
Happy New Year everyone – may it be filled with hope and a knowing, that…all will be well, all will be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.
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Cheerio then, join me next time for Journey with Story.