Beautiful, disobedient Pandora released the evils from a jar, with instant results
|Epimetheus walked home from his olive grove in the hills, thinking fondly of his beautiful wife Pandora, and hummed to himself. A wisp of smoke trailed along the track in front of him and as he stepped over it, it wound around him and then disappeared. Then he thought of Pandora and wondered if any of his neighbours had been in to visit her that day.
"As well they might!" he thought, becoming overwhelmed with jealousy, "she's the only woman in the world, and the gods gave her to me. She's mine!" He began to run along the track toward his home.
As he passed his brother Prometheus' stone house, an angry voice hailed him. "Epimetheus! You stole my sickle! I demand it back at once, with compensation!" Epimetheus forgot Pandora for a moment and roared back,
"Liar! how dare you falsely accuse me, you dog! You loaned it to me, remember? What about that olive oil of mine that you spilled, you replaced it with inferior stuff!" He was just about to lunge at Prometheus, when he remembered Pandora, and throwing some curses back over his shoulder, hurried to his own house.
"Pandora, what have you been up to while I wasn't here?" He was surprised when she came to the door, white and shaking. Forgetting his rage and jealousy, he held her close. "My love, what's the matter?" She pointed unsteadily to a pottery jar on the floor.
"That... that jar that was a wedding present..."
"Oh no!" All Epimetheus' rage returned. "You opened it and I told you never, never to!" He shook Pandora till she sank onto the floor in tears. "Couldn't you be obedient in just this one thing?"
"I didn't do anything, it did it itself" she whined, then pulled herself up and stood up straight. "And what have you been up to while I've been slaving over the hot fireplace cooking your meal and weaving your cloak? You don't appreciate my skills, you take me for granted and you go drinking with your friends!" Her shrill voice enraged Epimetheus and he grabbed her by the wrists.
"You disobedient, lying wench! How dare you answer me back? I'm your husband and you tell me what you've done. The stopper couldn't come out by itself, it was sealed tight. Now tell me, or I'll send you back to Zeus!"
Pandora crumpled and whimpered. "I just opened it a tiny bit, and all these black smokes came out, with whiney voices, and they were horrible and stank. I put the stopper back on straight away." Her voice became more hopeful. "I think something might be in there still" and she picked up the jar and held it out to Epimetheus.
As he stood indecisively, his brother came in the door behind him. "What's all the noise about?" and he looked at Pandora holding out the pottery jar. "Oh no, oh no, you didn't open it!" Then he turned on Epimetheus. "I told you not to accept anything from Zeus. He wanted to punish the race of men because I took the fire. You know we needed it! But you accepted his gift of the woman and now look what she's done. Those evils and miseries that came to my house just now; they came from that jar, and she's the one that let them loose. Things will never be the same again, all because of that one woman!" and Prometheus sank down on the doorstep in despair, scratching at a rash that the smokes had made on his leg.
But Epimetheus took the jar from Pandora. "She thought there was something still in there." He held the jar and wrapped his hands around its smooth, painted middle. A warm feeling came through and his feelings lifted. "I feel better now" and he handed the jar down to Prometheus. "Here, hold this for a bit."
Prometheus took the jar and held it cautiously in both hands. He felt his black mood lifting and smiled up at the others. "Well, perhaps it's not as bad as I thought. After all, we've still got the fire that I stole from Zeus!" and laughing, he handed the jar back to his brother and stood up. "It must be Hope that didn't get out quick enough. Keep her safe in there, because with lots of evils on the loose, we're going to need her!"
Epimetheus watched him go back to his own house, and he put his arm around Pandora. "Prometheus got fire for us and I got you. Now, are a few evils too big a price to pay when we've got Hope still?" She looked up at him, puzzled.
"So you're not still mad at me?" He handed her the jar.
"Just hold this for a bit." As she held it a smile spread across her beautiful face. Epimetheus carefully took the jar off her and put it back on the shelf. "Where's that tasty meal you were cooking for us? The gods haven't beaten us yet!"