Young Folks' Treasury: Myths and Legendary Heroes
ADAPTED BY C.E. SMITH
Long, long ago, when this old world was still very young, there lived a child named
Epimetheus. He had neither father nor mother, and to keep him company, a little girl,
who was fatherless and motherless like himself, was sent from a far country to live with
him and be his playfellow. This child's name was Pandora.
The first thing that Pandora saw, when she came to the cottage where Epimetheus lived,
was a great wooden box. "What have you in that box, Epimetheus?" she asked.
"That is a secret," answered Epimetheus, "and you must not ask any questions about it;
the box was left here for safety, and I do not know what is in it."
"But who gave it you?" asked Pandora, "and where did it come from?"
"That is a secret too," answered Epimetheus.
"How tiresome!" exclaimed Pandora, pouting her lip. "I wish the great ugly box were out
of the way;" and she looked very cross.
"Come along, and let us play games," said Epimetheus; "do not let us think any more
about it;" and they ran out to [pg
play with the other children, and for a while Pandora
forgot all about the box.
But when she came back to the cottage, there it was in front of her, and instead of paying
no heed to it, she began to say to herself: "Whatever can be inside it? I wish I just knew
who brought it! Dear Epimetheus, do tell me; I know I cannot be happy till you tell me all
Then Epimetheus grew a little angry. "How can I tell you, Pandora?" he said, "I do not
know any more than you do."
"Well, you could open it," said Pandora, "and we could see for ourselves!"
But Epimetheus looked so shocked at the very idea of opening a box that had been given
to him in trust, that Pandora saw she had better not suggest such a thing again.
"At least you can tell me how it came here," she said.
"It was left at the door," answered Epimetheus, "just before you came, by a queer person
dressed in a very strange cloak; he had a cap that seemed to be partly made of feathers; it
looked exactly as if he had wings."
"What kind of a staff had he?" asked Pandora.