Prometheus regained the treasure,
stealing it from heaven in a hollow tube.
Prometheus and Man
(Prometheus attacked by the eagle)
In the conflict between Cronus
and Jupiter, Prometheus had adopted the cause of the Olympian
deities. To him and his brother Epimetheus was now committed the
office of making man and providing him and all other animals
with the faculties necessary for their preservation. Epimetheus
proceeded to bestow upon the different animals the various gifts
of courage, strength, swiftness, and sagacity. Taking some earth
and kneading it with water. Prometheus made man in the image of
the gods. He gave him an upright stature. Then since Epimetheus
had been so prodigal of his gifts to other animals that no
blessing was left worth conferring upon the noblest of
creatures, Prometheus ascended to heaven, lighted his torch at
the chariot of the sun, and brought down fire. But it was only
rather grudgingly that Jupiter granted mortals the use of fire.
Then there came the occasion that when gods and men were in
dispute at Sicyon concerning the prerogatives of each,
Prometheus, by an ingenious trick, attempted to settle the
question in favor of man. Dividing into two portions a
sacrificial bull, he wrapped all the eatable parts in the skin,
cunningly surmounted with uninviting entrails; but the bones he
garnished with a plausible mass of fat. He then offered Jupiter
his choice. The king of Heaven, although he perceived the
intended fraud, took the heap of bones and fat, and forthwith
availing himself of this insult as an excuse for punishing
mankind, deprived the race of fire. But Prometheus regained the
treasure, stealing it from heaven in a hollow tube.
By Jove's order Prometheus was chained to a rock on Mount
Caucasus, and subjected to the attack of an eagle which, for
ages, preyed upon his liver, yet succeeded not in consuming it.
In his steadfastness to withstand the torment the Titan was
supported by the knowledge that in the thirteenth generation
there should arrive a hero, - sprung from Jove himself, - to
release him. And in fullness of time the hero did arrive: none
other than the mighty Hercules. No higher service, thinks this
radiant and masterful personage, remains to be performed than to
free the champion of mankind. Hercules utters these words to the
soul of man can never be enslaved
Save by its own infirmities, nor freed
Save by its very strength and own resolve
And constant vision and supreme endeavor!
You will be free? Then, courage, O my brother!
O let the soul stand in the open door
Of life and death and knowledge and desire
And see the peaks of thought kindle with sunrise!
Then shall the soul return to rest no more,
Nor harvest dreams in the dark field of sleep -
Rather the soul shall go with great resolve
To dwell at last upon the shining mountains
In liberal converse with the eternal stars.
Thereupon he kills the eagle; and sets Jove's victim free.
What happened after
Prometheus stole fire from the heaven?