| Stories of the Ancient Greeks|
|by Charles D. Shaw|
|Delightful collection of both mythological and historical stories of the ancient Greeks, in language simple enough for younger listeners, yet appealing to all ages. Provides an excellent introduction to ancient Greece, beginning with 32 of the best-known myths, and then continuing with 32 short stories of the historical era, arranged in chronological order. An extensive pronunciation guide is included. Ages 8-11 |
THE MAGIC BOX
O far, man lived alone upon the earth. He gathered some
animals about him,—the horse to ride, the ox for
the plow, the dog for friendship. But none of these
could talk to him. They had voices and made noises,
but they could not speak as he could. He was lonely in
his wide and beautiful world.
Zeus, the father of the gods, called his family
together. "Look down to earth," he said. "Do you see
that creature walking upright there?"
They answered, "Yes, great Father! We see him."
"He is lonely," said Zeus. "Let us give him a
companion. He is man. I will form a woman to be with
him, and each of you shall give her something that
shall be a part of her life."
The gods and goddesses were pleased. Zeus created the
woman, but she had yet no life. Aphrodite bent down
and kissed her on cheeks and lips. A lovely flush
appeared on her face, her mouth became rosy and
smiling, she had received the gift of beauty.
Athene drew near, and gently laid her hand upon the
woman's brow. "My gift is wisdom," she said. "This
woman shall be wise to spin, to weave, to do all manner
of household work, and to train up children in
 The shining god Apollo came up, and touched her lips
and her fingers.
"I give her the power of music," he declared. "She
shall be able to sing sweet songs of love and home and
hope and heaven. From reeds and strings she shall be
able to draw pleasant sounds to cheer man when he is
tired, and to comfort him when he is sad."
Then Ares, the god of war, looked at her and said, "She
will not be a fighter herself, but she shall be the
cause of many wars. That is my gift. I have no
Hephæstus, the blacksmith, limped up and said, "I
will put iron in her blood. That will make her strong
to bear trouble and endure hardship. Smaller and finer
than man, she shall be more patient and steadfast than
Eros brought for his gift a warm and tender heart.
"She is lovely and shall be loving," he said.
Last of all came Hermes, the swift-running god. His
eyes twinkled as he touched her ears, her eyes and her
"My gift is curiosity. To see everything, to hear
everything, and to know everything, that shall be her
wish," he said. Then he touched her tongue, but did
not say anything more.
Zeus stretched forth his golden scepter, and laid it
lightly upon her head.
"Arise, woman!" he exclaimed. She arose and stood upon
"The gods have given you their gifts," he declared.
 "Your name shall be Pandora," which means "All-gifts."
"Hermes," he called, "take this woman down to earth and
give her to man, to be his companion for better and for
worse, for sorrow and for joy. Take with you also this
box, her wedding present, which must never be opened.
Go, perform your duty."
Hermes took Pandora by the hand, and soon they were on
the earth. They entered the man's hut, and Hermes
said, "This is your wife, sent to you by Zeus. Her
name is Pandora. Here is your wedding present, this
box which must never be opened. Farewell."
The man was very happy with his new companion. She was
beautiful, kind, gentle, and cheerful. He showed her
his knives and hammers, axes and saws, his bow and
spear, arrows and fishhooks, his plow and hoe, and
everything that he had made of bronze. She told him
how to make a distaff and spindle for spinning, and how
to build a loom for weaving. She asked him to make
hairpins for her hair, and needles to sew with, and
knitting needles that she might knit stockings and
When the man went out to work she stayed in the house.
In one corner of the room stood the magic box, her
wedding present. If she was spinning or weaving, or
sewing or knitting, she was always looking at that. It
was of ivory, beautifully carved.
She often said, "I do wonder what it holds. It is so
handsome outside that the inside must be very lovely."
Sometimes she laid down her work and went to the
 box. She looked at it with her eyes, listened at it
with her ears, sniffed at it with her nose. But she
could never be sure that there was any sound or any
odor. She began to be worried. The gift of Hermes was
giving her a great deal of trouble.
Often at night she would wake up and say to her
husband, "I do wonder what is in the box."
He would answer, "It is not to be opened. Go to sleep.
I am tired."
But she could not rest day or night. Always she
wondered what was in that strange box. Why it given if
it must never be opened?
PANDORA AND HER BOX
At last she could bear it no longer. She lifted the
lid just a little. There was a stir and rush in the
box, the lid was thrown wide open, and out flew a
multitude of things with wings. They seemed like wasps
and hornets and stinging insects, but they were worse.
They were trouble, sorrow, sickness, distress, pain,
anger, envy, hatred, malice, falsehood, everything ugly
Pandora clapped down the lid, too late. These
creatures buzzed in her ears, settled in her hair,
filled the hut, and flew out of the window over all the
Pandora sank down, crying as if her heart would break.
Then she heard a knocking in the box, and a little
voice saying, "Let me out."
She raised the lid, and a charming little creature came
out of the box.
"Poor Pandora!" she said. My name is Hope. I will
stay with you and comfort you. You can never get rid
of the trouble you have caused by opening the box
 but I was sent to cheer you and to help you bear your
That was all the good that Pandora got from the magic
box. When everything else was against her she still
Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics