His brother Prometheus had warned him not to accept any gifts from the gods but Epimetheus was completely charmed by the woman and thought Pandora was so beautiful that she could never cause any harm, so he agreed to marry her. Zeus, pleased that his trap was working, gave Pandora a wedding gift of a beautiful box. There was one very, very important condition however, that she must never opened the box. Pandora was very curious about the contents of the box but she had promised that she would never open it.
Iseult Gillespie: The myth of Pandora's box | TED Talk
All she could think about was; what could be in the box? She could not understand why someone would send her a box if she could not see what was in it. It seemed to make no sense at all to her and she could think of nothing else but of opening the box and unlocking its secrets. This was just what Zeus had planned.
Finally, Pandora could stand it no longer. When she knew Epimetheus was out of sight, she crept up to the box, took the huge key off the high shelf, fitted it carefully into the lock and turned it. But, at the last moment, she felt a pang of guilt, imagined how angry her husband would be and quickly locked the box again without opening the lid and put the key back where she had found it.
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Three more times she did this until, at last, she knew she had to look inside or she would go completely mad! She took the key, slid it into the lock and turned it. She took a deep breath, closed her eyes and slowly lifted the lid of the box. She opened her eyes and looked into the box, expecting to see fine silks, gowns or gold bracelets and necklaces or even piles of gold coins.
But there was no gleam of gold or treasure. There were no shining bracelets and not one beautiful dress!
To Open a Pandora’s Box
The look of excitement on her face quickly turned to one of disappointment and then horror. For Zeus had packed the box full of all the terrible evils he could think of. Out of the box poured disease and poverty. Out came misery, out came death, out came sadness - all shaped like tiny buzzing moths. The creatures stung Pandora over and over again and she slammed the lid shut. Epimetheus ran into the room to see why she was crying in pain. Once up a time, a long time ago, there were two brothers named Epimetheus and Prometheus. They were good gods. They had good hearts.
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They were good friends. One day, Prometheus got in trouble with Zeus. Angry over something or other, Zeus had declared that man did not deserve fire.
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Because he had a kind heart, and he knew how much man needed fire for food and warmth, Prometheus gave man the secret of fire even though Zeus had told all the gods not to do that. Zeus was furious that his order had been ignored. As punishment, Zeus chained Prometheus to a rock for many years.
But that was not enough punishment, not for Zeus. Once Prometheus was chained to a rock, Zeus went after Prometheus' brother, the gentle, kind-hearted Epimetheus. Zeus did not chain Epimetheus to a rock. Zeus had a more sneaky punishment in mind.
First, Zeus ordered the gods' handyman, the maker of things - Hephaestus - to make Zeus a daughter. Hephaestus made a woman out of clay, a beautiful woman. He brought her to life, and then brought her to Zeus. Zeus named his lovely new daughter Pandora. Zeus knew that Epimetheus was lonely. Zeus told Epimetheus that his brother, Hephaestus, had to be punished and that's why he was chained to a rock, but he felt sorry that this punishment left Epimetheus without the company of his brother.
The myth of Pandora’s box
That's why Zeus had decided to give Pandora in marriage to Epimetheus. It was not the truth of course, but then nearly everyone in the ancient Greek world knew better than to believe the mighty Zeus. Epimetheus was kind-hearted and gentle and thoughtful, but he was no fool.