Prometheus may be the movie playing at a theatre near you. But here’s the real story from the Greek Myth..
Prometheus was one of the Titans, a race of powerful gods, who inhabited the earth before the creation of man. His father had fought Zeus, the king of Gods, and hence they were banished to lowly ground — the Earth — while all other gods lived upon Mount Olympus.
Along with his brother Epimetheus he was given the task of creating man and providing him and all the other animals all that was necessary for their survival and preservation.
Epimetheus set about his work, bestowing upon various animals courage, swiftness, wisdom, wings to some, claws to some others, a shell or a thick hide for yet some others. He kept on giving away all the valued gifts and when it finally came to man, he found he had run out of them!
“Oh Brother, I have nothing left to give this poor creature, you have so lovingly created,” he lamented.
It was true. Prometheus had created man from the earth which still contained some divine material as it had so recently been parted from the heavens. He had kneaded the earth with water and made man in the image of the gods.
Prometheus watched his creations shivering in the cold and huddling in caves fearful of wild animals who could hunt them down with their new found powers. His heart was filled with pity.
Suddenly an idea came to him. “Don’t worry at all,
dear Epimetheus, I will get them a divine gift... from Mount Olympus!”
“Are you sure?” Epimetheus asked as worry creased his brow. He knew they were no match for the mighty and powerful Zeus and didn’t want more trouble.
“If only they could get some fire, it would keep them warm from the cold. They could cook their food and besides, make weapons with it to ward off dangerous animals that threaten to devour them. I will ask Zeus himself!” Saying so, Prometheus made his way to Olympus.
Then he went to Zeus with his request. Zeus, of course would not hear of it.
“Please grant them the gift of fire… at least in the winter, so they won’t die of cold,” he begged.
“No,” thundered Zeus, “I can’t give them that! Fire will make them powerful, don’t you see? Fire is a dangerous tool. And they are poor and ignorant. There is no saying what they will do with it. We on Mount Olympus do not want any more threats...”
He looked at Prometheus meaningfully.
Prometheus did not say a word. Quietly, he made his way down to the sea shore. As he walked on the soft sands wondering how he would help mankind, he saw a tall stalk of fennel. He broke it and found inside a dry, soft substance that could be lit and could stay alight for a long time.
Armed with the stalk, he quietly stole back up Mount Olympus and into Zeus’ own chambers. He took a spark from Zeus’ thunderbolt and lit the stalk.
Quickly hiding the fire in the hollow of the stalk, he made his way back to earth.
Gathering the poor folk shivering in the cold, he taught them how to use the fire. One wintry evening, as Zeus looked down he saw cheerful little fires lighting up earth below.
“Prometheus! You shall suffer for this... Dare you defy me?” thundered Zeus, once again.”You shall pay for this!”
How he paid for it is a story for yet another day!