Nymphs were lively spirits who lived near streams and lakes and protected trees in the forest. Echo had upset the Queen of the Gods; Hera. As a punishment Hera made Echo unable to speak except to repeat the last three words of the person she was talking to.
Poor Echo fell in love with Narcissus but could never tell him how she felt. Narcissus teased her and she ran away with tears pouring down her face. Aphrodite, the goddess of love saw what happened and decided to punish Narcissus. As he came to a pool of water Narcissus saw his reflection and fell in love with the vision he saw...it was of course his own reflection.
Poor Narcissus watched his own reflection, every time he tried to touch the face of the vision he loved it broke up on the shimmering surface of the water. Narcissus stopped eating, lost his beautiful looks and pined for his love. Eventually he faded away and died.
Aphrodite took pity on him and made a flower grow in his place on the bank of the lake. Narcissus flowers can be found to this day growing wherever you can find water and trees.
At one time the only mortals on the earth were men. Prometheus had made them, Athena had breathed life into them. The chief god Zeus did not like them.
One day Prometheus was trying to solve a quarrel that was raging between the gods and the men. At a festival the men were going to sacrifice a bull for the first time. They asked him which parts of the bull should be offered to the gods and which should be eaten by men. Prometheus decided to play a trick on Zeus. He killed the bull, skinned it and butchered it. He split it into two portions, in one he put the best, lean meat. In the second he put bones followed by a thick layer of fat. Prometheus offered both to Zeus to take his choice. Zeus looked at both portions, one looked good but was rather on the small side, the other was much larger and covered in a layer of fat which Zeus felt must cover the best, tastiest portion of meat. He chose that one. When Zeus realized that he had been tricked he was furious. He took fire away from man so that they could never cook their meat or feel warm again.
Prometheus reacted immediately flying to the Isle of Lemnos where he knew the smith Hephaestus had fire. He carried a burning torch back to man. Zeus was enraged. He swore vengeance and started making an evil plan.
Zeus, set Hephaestos the task of creating a clay woman with a human voice. Hephaestos worked and worked and created a masterpiece. Athena, goddess of wisdom and Zeus' daughter liked the clay figure and she breathed life into it. She taught the woman how to weave and clothed her. Aphrodite the goddess of love made her beautiful. The god Hermes taught her to charm and deceive.
Zeus was pleased with what he saw, but he had made her as a trap. He named the woman Pandora and sent her as a gift to Epimetheus. Epimetheus had been warned by his brother Prometheus that he should never accept gifts from Zeus because there would always be a catch. Epimetheus ignored his brother's warning, fell in love with Pandora and married her. Zeus, pleased that his trap was working gave Pandora a wedding gift of a beautiful box. There was one condition however...that was that she never opened the box.
For a while they were very happy. Pandora often wondered what was in the box but she was never left alone so she never opened it. Gradually over a while she began to wonder more and more what was in the box. She could not understand why someone would send her a box if she could not see what was in it. It got very important to find out what was hidden there.
Finally she could stand it no longer. One day when everyone was out she crept up to the box, took the huge key, fitted it carefully into the lock and turned it. She lifted the lid to peep in but before she realized it the room was filled with terrible things: disease, despair, malice, greed, old age, death, hatred, violence, cruelty and war. She slammed the lid down and turned the key again...keeping only the spirit of hope inside.
To this day sometimes when things are really bad the only thing we have left is hope.
What do these myths tell us about how the Greeks perceived their gods?