|A Wonder Book for Girls and Boys|
|by Nathaniel Hawthorne|
|Delightful retelling of six Greek myths to a crowd of energetic youngsters by a master storyteller. Includes The Gorgonís Head, The Golden Touch, The Paradise of Children, The Three Golden Apples, and The Miraculous Pitcher. Ages 9-12 |
ONG, long ago, when this old world was in its tender
infancy, there was a child, named Epimetheus, who never
had either father or mother; and, that he might not be
lonely, another child, fatherless and motherless like
himself, was sent from a far country, to live with him,
and be his playfellow and helpmate. Her name was
The first thing that Pandora saw, when she entered the
cottage where Epimetheus dwelt, was a great box. And
almost the first question which she put to him, after
crossing the threshold, was this,—
have you in that box?"
"My dear little Pandora,"
answered Epimetheus, "that is a secret, and you must be
kind enough not to ask any questions about it. The box
was left here to be kept safely, and I do not myself
know what it contains."
"But who gave it to you?" asked Pandora. "And where did
it come from?"
"That is a secret, too," replied Epimetheus.
 "How provoking!" exclaimed Pandora, pouting her lip. "I
wish the great ugly box were out of the way!"
"Oh come don't think of it any more," cried Epimetheus.
"Let us run out of doors, and have some nice play with
the other children."
It is thousands of years since Epimetheus and Pandora
were alive; and the world, nowadays, is a very
different sort of thing from what it was in their time.
Then, everybody was a child. There needed no fathers
and mothers to take care of the children; because there
was no danger, nor trouble of any kind, and no clothes
to be mended, and there was always plenty to eat and
drink. Whenever a child wanted his dinner, he found it
growing on a tree; and, if he looked at the tree in the
morning, he could see the expanding blossom of that
night's supper; or, at even-tide, he saw the tender bud
of to-morrow's breakfast. It was a very pleasant life
indeed. No labor to be done, no tasks to be studied;
nothing but sports and dances, and sweet voices of
children talking, or carolling like birds, or gushing
out in merry laughter, throughout the livelong day.
What was most wonderful of all, the children never
quarreled among themselves; neither had they any
crying fits; nor, since time first began, had a single
one of these little mortals ever gone apart into a
corner, and sulked. Oh, what a good time was that to be
alive in? The truth is, those ugly little winged
monsters, called Troubles, which are now almost as
numerous as mosquitoes, had never yet been seen on the
earth. It is probable
 that the very greatest
disquietude which a child had ever experienced was
Pandora's vexation at not being able to discover the
secret of the mysterious box.
This was at first only the faint shadow of a Trouble;
but, every day, it grew more and more substantial,
until, before a great while, the cottage of Epimetheus
and Pandora was less sunshiny than those of the other
"Whence can the box have come?" Pandora continually
kept saying to herself and to Epimetheus. "And what in
the world can be inside of it?"
"Always talking about this box!" said Epimetheus, at
last; for he had grown extremely tired of the subject.
"I wish, dear Pandora, you would try to talk of
something else. Come, let us go and gather some ripe
figs, and eat them under the trees, for our supper. And
I know a vine that has the sweetest and juiciest grapes
you ever tasted."
"Always talking about grapes and figs!" cried Pandora,
"Well, then," said Epimetheus, who was a very
good-tempered child, like a multitude of children in
those days, "let us run out and have a merry time with
"I am tired of merry times, and don't care if I never
have any more!" answered our pettish little Pandora.
"And, besides, I never do have any. This ugly box! I am
so taken up with thinking about it all the time. I
insist upon your telling me what is inside of it."
 "As I have already said, fifty times over, I do not
know!" replied Epimetheus, getting a little vexed.
"How, then, can I tell you what is inside?"
"You might open it," said Pandora, looking sideways at
Epimetheus, "and then we could see for ourselves."
"Pandora, what are you thinking of?" exclaimed
And his face expressed so much horror at the idea of
looking into a box, which had been confided to him on
the condition of his never opening it, that Pandora
thought it best not to suggest it any more. Still,
however, she could not help thinking and talking about
"At least," said she, "you can tell me how it came
"It was left at the door," replied Epimetheus, "just
before you came, by a person who looked very smiling
and intelligent, and who could hardly forbear laughing
as he put it down. He was dressed in an odd kind of a
cloak, and had on a cap that seemed to be made partly
of feathers, so that it looked almost as if it had
"What sort of a staff had he?" asked Pandora.
"Oh, the most curious staff you ever saw!" cried
Epimetheus. "It was like two serpents twisting around a
stick, and was carved so naturally that I, at first,
thought the serpents were alive."
"I know him," said Pandora, thoughtfully. "Nobody else
has such a staff. It was Quicksilver; and he brought me
hither, as well as the
 box. No doubt he intended it for
me; and, most probably, it contains pretty dresses for
me to wear, or toys for you and me to play with, or
something very nice for us both to eat!"
"Perhaps so," answered Epimetheus, turning away. "But
until Quicksilver comes back and tells us so, we have
neither of us any right to lift the lid of the box."
"What a dull boy he is!" muttered Pandora, as
Epimetheus left the cottage. "I do wish he had a little
For the first time since her arrival, Epimetheus had
gone out without asking Pandora to accompany him. He
went to gather figs and grapes by himself, or to seek
whatever amusement he could find, in other society than
his little playfellow's. He was tired to death of
hearing about the box, and heartily wished that
Quicksilver, or whatever was the messenger's name, had
left it at some other child's door, where Pandora would
never have set eyes on it. So perseveringly as she did
babble about this one thing! The box, the box, and
nothing but the box! It seemed as if the box were
bewitched, and as if the cottage were not big enough to
hold it, without Pandora's continually stumbling over
it, and making Epimetheus stumble over it likewise, and
bruising all four of their shins.
Well, it was really hard that poor Epimetheus should
have a box in his ears from morning till night;
especially as the little people of the earth were so
unaccustomed to vexations, in those happy days, that
they knew not how to deal with them.
 Thus, a small
vexation made as much disturbance then, as a far bigger
one would in our own times.
After Epimetheus was gone, Pandora stood gazing at the
box. She had called it ugly, above a hundred times;
but, in spite of all that she had said against it, it
was positively a very handsome article of furniture,
and would have been quite an ornament to any room in
which it should be placed. It was made of a beautiful
kind of wood, with dark and rich veins spreading over
its surface, which was so highly polished that little
Pandora could see her face in it. As the child had no
other looking-glass, it is odd that she did not value
the box, merely on this account.
The edges and corners of the box were carved with most
wonderful skill. Around the margin there were figures
of graceful men and women, and the prettiest children
ever seen, reclining or sporting amid a profusion of
flowers and foliage; and these various objects were so
exquisitely represented, and were wrought together in
such harmony, that flowers, foliage, and human beings
seemed to combine into a wreath of mingled beauty. But
here and there, peeping forth from behind the carved
foliage, Pandora once or twice fancied that she saw a
face not so lovely, or something or other that was
disagreeable, and which stole the beauty out of all the
rest. Nevertheless, on looking more closely, and
touching the spot with her finger, she could discover
nothing of the kind. Some face, that was really
beautiful, had been made to look ugly by her catching a
sideway glimpse at it.
 The most beautiful face of all was done in what is
called high relief, in the centre of the lid. There was
nothing else, save the dark, smooth richness of the
polished wood, and this one face in the centre, with a
garland of flowers about its brow. Pandora had looked
at this face a great many times, and imagined that the
mouth could smile if it liked, or be grave when it
chose, the same as any living mouth. The features,
indeed, all wore a very lively and rather mischievous
expression, which looked almost as if it needs must
burst out of the carved lips, and utter itself in
Had the mouth spoken, it would probably have been
something like this:
"Do not be afraid, Pandora! What harm can there be in
opening the box? Never mind that poor, simple
Epimetheus! You are wiser than he, and have ten times
as much spirit. Open the box, and see if you do not
find something very pretty!"
The box, I had almost forgotten to say, was fastened;
not by a lock, nor by any other such contrivance, but
by a very intricate knot of gold cord. There appeared
to be no end to this knot, and no beginning. Never was
a knot so cunningly twisted, nor with so many ins and
outs, which roguishly defied the skillfullest fingers to
disentangle them. And yet, by the very difficulty that
there was in it, Pandora was the more tempted to
examine the knot, and just see how it was made. Two or
three times, already, she had stooped over the box, and
taken the knot between her thumb
 and forefinger, but
without positively trying to undo it.
"I really believe," said she to herself, "that I begin
to see how it was done. Nay, perhaps I could tie it up
again, after undoing it. There would be no harm in
that, surely. Even Epimetheus would not blame me for
that. I need not open the box, and should not, of
course, without the foolish boy's consent, even if the
knot were untied."
It might have been better for Pandora if she had had a
little work to do, or anything to employ her mind upon,
so as not to be so constantly thinking of this one
subject. But children led so easy a life, before any
Troubles came into the world, that they had really a
great deal too much leisure. They could not be forever
playing at hide-and-seek among the flower-shrubs, or at
blind-man's-buff with garlands over their eyes, or at
whatever other games had been found out, while Mother
Earth was in her babyhood. When life is all sport, toil
is the real play. There was absolutely nothing to do. A
little sweeping and dusting about the cottage, I
suppose, and the gathering of fresh flowers (which were
only too abundant everywhere), and arranging them in
vases,—and poor little Pandora's day's work was over.
And then, for the rest of the day, there was the box!
After all, I am not quite sure that the box was not a
blessing to her in its way. It supplied her with such a
variety of ideas to think of, and to talk about,
whenever she had anybody to listen!
 When she was in
good-humor, she could admire the bright polish of its
sides, and the rich border of beautiful faces and
foliage that ran all around it. Or, if she chanced to
be ill-tempered, she could give it a push, or kick it
with her naughty little foot. And many a kick did the
box— (but it was a mischievous box, as we shall see,
and deserved all it got)—many a kick did it receive.
But, certain it is, if it had not been for the box, our
active-minded little Pandora would not have known half
so well how to spend her time as she now did.
For it was really an endless employment to guess what
was inside. What could it be, indeed? Just imagine, my
little hearers, how busy your wits would be, if there
were a great box in the house, which, as you might have
reason to suppose, contained something new and pretty
for your Christmas or New-Year's gifts. Do you think
that you should be less curious than Pandora? If you
were left alone with the box, might you not feel a
little tempted to lift the lid? But you would not do
it. Oh, fie! No, no! Only, if you thought there were
toys in it, it would be so very hard to let slip an
opportunity of taking just one peep! I know not whether
Pandora expected any toys; for none had yet begun to be
made, probably, in those days, when the world itself
was one great plaything for the children that dwelt
upon it. But Pandora was convinced that there was
something very beautiful and valuable in the box; and
therefore she felt just as anxious to take a peep as
any of these little girls, here
 around me, would have
felt. And, possibly, a little more so; but of that I am
not quite so certain.
On this particular day, however, which we have so long
been talking about, her curiosity grew so much greater
than it usually was, that, at last, she approached the
box. She was more than half determined to open it, if
she could. Ah, naughty Pandora!
First, however, she tried to lift it. It was heavy;
quite too heavy for the slender strength of a child,
like Pandora. She raised one end of the box a few
inches from the floor, and let it fall again, with a
pretty loud thump. A moment afterwards, she almost
fancied that she heard something stir inside of the
box. She applied her ear as closely as possible, and
listened. Positively, there did seem to be a kind of
stifled murmur, within! Or was it merely the singing in
Pandora's ears? Or could it be the beating of her
heart? The child could not quite satisfy herself
whether she had heard anything or no. But, at all
events, her curiosity was stronger than ever.
As she drew back her head, her eyes fell upon the knot
of gold cord.
"It must have been a very ingenious person who tied
this knot," said Pandora to herself. "But I think I
could untie it nevertheless. I am resolved, at least,
to find the two ends of the cord."
So she took the golden knot in her fingers, and pried
into its intricacies as sharply as she could. Almost
without intending it, or quite knowing
 what she was
about, she was soon busily engaged in attempting to
undo it. Meanwhile, the bright sunshine came through
the open window; as did likewise the merry voices of
the children, playing at a distance, and perhaps the
voice of Epimetheus among them. Pandora stopped to
listen. What a beautiful day it was! Would it not be
wiser, if she were to let the troublesome knot alone,
and think no more about the box, but run and join her
little playfellows, and be happy?
All this time, however, her fingers were half
unconsciously busy with the knot; and happening to
glance at the flower-wreathed face on the lid of the
enchanted box, she seemed to perceive it slyly grinning
"That face looks very mischievous," thought Pandora. "I
wonder whether it smiles because I am doing wrong! I
have the greatest mind in the world to run away!"
But just then, by the merest accident, she gave the
knot a kind of a twist, which produced a wonderful
result. The gold cord untwined itself, as if by magic,
and left the box without a fastening.
"This is the strangest thing I ever knew!" said
Pandora. "What will Epimetheus say? And how can I
possibly tie it up again?"
She made one or two attempts to restore the knot, but
soon found it quite beyond her skill. It had
disentangled itself so suddenly that she could not in
the least remember how the strings had been doubled
into one another; and when she tried to recollect the
shape and appearance of the
 knot, it seemed to have
gone entirely out of her mind. Nothing was to be done,
therefore, but to let the box remain as it was until
Epimetheus should come in.
"But," said Pandora, "when he finds the knot untied, he
will know that I have done it. How shall I make him
believe that I have not looked into the box?"
And then the thought came into her naughty little
heart, that, since she would be suspected of having
looked into the box, she might just as well do so at
once. Oh, very naughty and very foolish Pandora! You
should have thought only of doing what was right, and
of leaving undone what was wrong, and not of what your
playfellow Epimetheus would have said or believed. And
so perhaps she might, if the enchanted face on the lid
of the box had not looked so bewitchingly persuasive at
her, and if she had not seemed to hear, more
distinctly, than before, the murmur of small voices
within. She could not tell whether it was fancy or no;
but there was quite a little tumult of whispers in her
ear,—or else it was her curiosity that whispered,—
"Let us out, dear Pandora,—pray let us out! We will be
such nice pretty playfellows for you! Only let us out!"
"What can it be?" thought Pandora. "Is there something
alive in the box? Well!—yes!—I am resolved to take
just one peep! Only one peep; and then the lid shall be
shut down as safely as ever! There cannot possibly be
any harm in just one little peep!"
 But it is now time for us to see what Epimetheus was
This was the first time, since his little playmate had
come to dwell with him, that he had attempted to enjoy
any pleasure in which she did not partake. But nothing
went right; nor was he nearly so happy as on other
days. He could not find a sweet grape or a ripe fig (if
Epimetheus had a fault, it was a little too much
fondness for figs); or, if ripe at all, they were
over-ripe, and so sweet as to be cloying. There was no
mirth in his heart, such as usually made his voice gush
out, of its own accord, and swell the merriment of his
companions. In short, he grew so uneasy and
discontented, that the other children could not imagine
what was the matter with Epimetheus. Neither did he
himself know what ailed him, any better than they did.
For you must recollect that, at the time we are
speaking of, it was everybody's nature, and constant
habit, to be happy. The world had not yet learned to be
otherwise. Not a single soul or body, since these
children were first sent to enjoy themselves on the
beautiful earth, had ever been sick or out of sorts.
At length, discovering that, somehow or other, he put a
stop to all the play, Epimetheus judged it best to go
back to Pandora, who was in a humor better suited to
his own. But, with a hope of giving her pleasure, he
gathered some flowers, and made them into a wreath,
which he meant to put upon her head. The flowers were
very lovely,—roses, and lilies, and orange-blossoms,
and a great many more, which left a trail of fragrance
 behind, as Epimetheus carried them along; and the
wreath was put together with as much skill as could
reasonably be expected of a boy. The fingers of little
girls, it has always appeared to me, are the fittest to
twine flower-wreaths; but boys could do it, in those
days, rather better than they can now.
And here I must mention that a great black cloud had
been gathering in the sky, for some time past, although
it had not yet overspread the sun. But, just as
Epimetheus reached the cottage door, this cloud began
to intercept the sunshine, and thus to make a sudden
and sad obscurity.
He entered softly; for he meant, if possible, to steal
behind Pandora, and fling the wreath of flowers over
her head, before she should be aware of his approach.
But, as it happened, there was no need of his treading
so very lightly. He might have trod as heavily as he
pleased,—as heavily as a grown man,—as heavily, I was
going to say, as an elephant,—without much probability
of Pandora's hearing his footsteps. She was too intent
upon her purpose. At the moment of his entering the
cottage, the naughty child had put her hand to the lid,
and was on the point of opening the mysterious box.
Epimetheus beheld her. If he had cried out, Pandora
would probably have withdrawn her hand, and the fatal
mystery of the box might never have been known.
But Epimetheus himself, although he said very little
about it, had his own share of curiosity to know what
was inside. Perceiving that Pandora was resolved to
find out the secret, he determined
 that his playfellow
should not be the only wise person in the cottage. And
if there were anything pretty or valuable in the box,
he meant to take half of it to himself. Thus, after all
his sage speeches to Pandora about restraining her
curiosity, Epimetheus turned out to be quite as
foolish, and nearly as much in fault, as she. So,
whenever we blame Pandora for what happened, we must
not forget to shake our heads at Epimetheus likewise.
As Pandora raised the lid, the cottage grew very dark
and dismal; for the black cloud had now swept quite
over the sun, and seemed to have buried it alive. There
had, for a little while past, been a low growling and
muttering, which all at once broke into a heavy peal of
thunder. But Pandora, heeding nothing of all this,
lifted the lid nearly upright, and looked inside. It
seemed as if a sudden swarm of winged creatures brushed
past her, taking flight out of the box, while, at the
same instant, she heard the voice of Epimetheus, with a
lamentable tone, as if he were in pain.
"Oh, I am stung!" cried he. "I am stung! Naughty
Pandora! why have you opened this wicked box?"
Pandora let fall the lid, and, starting up, looked
about her, to see what had befallen Epimetheus. The
thunder-cloud had so darkened the room that she could
not very clearly discern what was in it. But she heard
a disagreeable buzzing, as if a great many huge flies,
or gigantic mosquitoes, or those insects which we call
pinch-  ing-dogs, were darting about. And,
as her eyes grew more accustomed to the imperfect
light, she saw a crowd of ugly little shapes, with
bats' wings, looking abominably spiteful, and armed
with terribly long stings in their tails. It was one of
these that had stung Epimetheus. Nor was it a great
while before Pandora herself began to scream, in no
less pain and affright than her playfellow, and making
a vast deal more hubbub about it. An odious little
monster had settled on her forehead, and would have
stung her I know not how deeply, if Epimetheus had not
run and brushed it away.
Now, if you wish to know what these ugly things might
be, which had made their escape out of the box, I must
tell you that they were the whole family of earthly
Troubles. There were evil Passions; there were a great
many species of Cares; there were more than a hundred
and fifty Sorrows; there were Diseases, in a vast
nmnber of miserable and painful shapes; there were more
kinds of Naughtiness than it would be of any use to
talk about. In short, everything that has since
afflicted the souls and bodies of mankind had been shut
up in the mysterious box, and given to Epimetheus and
Pandora to be kept safely, in order that the happy
children of the world might never be molested by them.
Had they been faithful to their trust, all would have
gone well. No grown person would ever have been sad,
nor any child have had cause to shed a single tear,
from that hour until this moment.
But—and you may see by this how a wrong act of any one
mortal is a calamity to the whole
 world—by Pandora's
lifting the lid of that miserable box, and by the fault
of Epimetheus, too, in not preventing her, these
Troubles have obtained a foothold among us, and do not
seem very likely to be driven away in a hurry. For it
was impossible, as you will easily guess, that the two
children should keep the ugly swarm in their own little
cottage. On the contrary, the first thing that they did
was to fling open the doors and windows, in hopes of
getting rid of them; and, sure enough, away flew the
winged Troubles all abroad, and so pestered and
tormented the small people, everywhere about, that none
of them so much as smiled for many days afterwards.
And, what was very singular, all the flowers and dewy
blossoms on earth, not one of which had hitherto faded,
now began to droop and shed their leaves, after a day
or two. The children, moreover, who before seemed
immortal in their childhood, now grew older, day by
day, and came soon to be youths and maidens, and men
and women by and by, and aged people, before they
dreamed of such a thing.
Meanwhile, the naughty Pandora, and hardly less naughty
Epimetheus, remained in their cottage. Both of them had
been grievously stung, and were in a good deal of pain,
which seemed the more intolerable to them, because it
was the very first pain that had ever been felt since
the world began. Of course, they were entirely
unaccustomed to it, and could have no idea what it
meant. Besides all this, they were in exceedingly bad
humor, both with themselves and with one another. In
order to indulge it to the utmost, Epimetheus
 sat down
sullenly in a corner with his back towards Pandora;
while Pandora flung herself upon the floor and rested
her head on the fatal and abominable box. She was
crying bitterly, and sobbing as if her heart would
Suddenly there was a gentle little tap on the inside of
"What can that be?" cried Pandora, lifting her head.
But either Epimetheus had not heard the tap, or was too
much out of humor to notice it. At any rate, he made no
"You are very unkind," said Pandora, sobbing anew, "not
to speak to me!"
Again the tap! It sounded like the tiny knuckles of a
fairy's hand, knocking lightly and playfully on the
inside of the box.
"Who are you?" asked Pandora, with a little of her
former curiosity. "Who are you, inside of this naughty
A sweet little voice spoke from within,—
"Only lift the lid, and you shall see."
"No, no," answered Pandora, again beginning to sob, "I
have had enough of lifting the lid! You are inside of
the box, naughty creature, and there you shall stay!
There are plenty of your ugly brothers and sisters
already flying about the world. You need never think
that I shall be so foolish as to let you out!"
She looked towards Epimetheus, as she spoke, perhaps
expecting that he would commend her for her wisdom. But
the sullen boy only muttered that she was wise a little
 "Ah," said the sweet little voice again, "you had much
better let me out. I am not like those naughty
creatures that have stings in their tails. They are no
brothers and sisters of mine, as you would see at once,
if you were only to get a glimpse of me. Come, come, my
pretty Pandora! I am sure you will let me out!"
And, indeed, there was a kind of cheerful witchery in
the tone, that made it almost impossible to refuse
anything which this little voice asked. Pandora's heart
had insensibly grown lighter, at every word that came
from within the box. Epimetheus, too, though still in
the corner, had turned half round, and seemed to be in
rather better spirits than before.
"My dear Epimetheus," cried Pandora, "have you heard
this little voice?"
"Yes, to be sure I have," answered he, but in no very
good humor as yet. "And what of it?"
"Shall I lift the lid again?" asked Pandora.
"Just as you please," said Epimetheus. "You have done
so much mischief already, that perhaps you may as well
do a little more. One other Trouble, in such a swarm as
you have set adrift about the world, can make no very
"You might speak a little more kindly!" murmured
Pandora, wiping her eyes.
"Ah, naughty boy!" cried the little voice within the
box, in an arch and laughing tone. "He knows he is
longing to see me. Come, my dear Pandora, lift up the
lid. I am in a great hurry to comfort you. Only let me
have some fresh air,
 and you shall soon see that
matters are not quite so dismal as you think them!"
"Epimetheus," exclaimed Pandora, "come what may, I am
resolved to open the box!"
"And, as the lid seems very heavy," cried Epimetheus,
running across the room, "I will help you!"
So, with one consent, the two children again lifted the
lid. Out flew a sunny and smiling little personage, and
hovered about the room, throwing a light wherever she
went. Have you never made the sunshine dance into dark
corners, by reflecting it from a bit of looking-glass?
Well, so looked the winged cheerfulness of this
fairy-like stranger, amid the gloom of the cottage. She
flew to Epimetheus, and laid the least touch of her
finger on the inflamed spot where the Trouble had stung
him, and immediately the anguish of it was gone. Then
she kissed Pandora on the forehead, and her hurt was
After performing these good offices, the bright
stranger fluttered sportively over the children's
heads, and looked so sweetly at them, that they both
began to think it not so very much amiss to have opened
the box, since, otherwise, their cheery guest must have
been kept a prisoner among those naughty imps with
stings in their tails.
"Pray, who are you, beautiful creature?" inquired
"I am to be called Hope!" answered the sunshiny figure.
"And because I am such a cheery little body, I was
packed into the box, to make amends to the human race
for that swarm of ugly
 Troubles, which was destined to
be let loose among them. Never fear! we shall do pretty
well in spite of them all."
"Your wings are colored like the rainbow!" exclaimed
Pandora. "How very beautiful!"
"Yes, they are like the rainbow," said Hope, "because,
glad as my nature is, I am partly made of tears as well
"And will you stay with us," asked Epimetheus, "forever
"As long as you need me," said Hope, with her pleasant
smile,—"and that will be as long as you live in the
world,—I promise never to desert you. There may come
times and seasons, now and then, when you will think
that I have utterly vanished. But again, and again, and
again, when perhaps you least dream of it, you shall
see the glimmer of my wings on the ceiling of your
cottage. Yes, my dear children, and I know something
very good and beautiful that is to be given you
"Oh tell us," they exclaimed,—"tell us what it is!"
"Do not ask me," replied Hope, putting her finger on
her rosy mouth. "But do not despair, even if it should
never happen while you live on this earth. Trust in my
promise, for it is true."
"We do trust you!" cried Epimetheus and Pandora, both
in one breath.
And so they did; and not only they, but so has
everybody trusted Hope, that has since been alive. And
to tell you the truth, I cannot help being
glad—(though, to be sure, it was an
un-  commonly naughty
thing for her to do)—but I cannot help being glad that
our foolish Pandora peeped into the box. No doubt—no
doubt—the Troubles are still flying about the world,
and have increased in multitude, rather than lessened,
and are a very ugly set of imps, and carry most
venomous stings in their tails. I have felt them
already, and expect to feel them more, as I grow older.
But then that lovely and lightsome little figure of
Hope! What in the world could we do without her? Hope
spiritualizes the earth; Hope makes it always new; and,
even in the earth's best and brightest aspect, Hope
shows it to be only the shadow of an infinite bliss
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