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Prometheus

A desolate, wild area at the very edge of the earth, in the land of the Scythians. Harsh rocks go behind the clouds with their pointed peaks. There is no vegetation around, not a single grass is visible, everything is bare and gloomy. Dark masses of stones, detached from the rocks, rise everywhere. The sea roars and rumbles, hitting its waves against the foot of the rocks, and salt spray flies high. Coastal rocks are covered with sea foam. Far behind the rocks, you can see the snowy peaks of the Caucasus mountains, covered with a light haze. Gradually, threatening clouds cover the distance, hiding the mountain peaks. Clouds are rising higher and higher in the sky and covering the sun. It's getting even darker all around. Dreary, harsh terrain. No human foot has ever set foot here before. Here, to the ends of the earth, the servants of Zeus the chained titan Prometheus to chain him with indestructible chains to the top of the cliff. The irresistible servants of the Thunderer, Strength and Power, lead Prometheus. Their huge bodies seem to be carved out of granite. Their hearts do not know their pity, compassion never shines in their eyes, their faces are as harsh as the rocks that stand around. Sad, with his head bowed low, god follows them Hephaestus with his heavy hammer. A terrible thing is ahead of him. He must chain his friend Prometheus with his own hands. Deep sorrow for the fate of a friend oppresses Hephaestus, but he does not dare to disobey his father, the thunderer Zeus. He knows how inexorably Zeus punishes disobedience.

Hercules kills an eagle with an arrow from a bow, tormenting the chest of Prometheus
Hercules kills an eagle with an arrow from a bow, tearing Prometheus' chest.
To the left of Hercules is the goddess Athena and the god Hermes,
To the right of the eagle is the goddess Demeter and the god Poseidon
Power and Authority have elevated Prometheus to the top of the cliff and are hurrying Hephaestus to get to work. Their cruel speeches make Hephaestus suffer even more for his friend. Reluctantly he takes up his huge hammer, only necessity forces him to obey. But his Strength hurries him:

- Hurry up, hurry up, take the shackles! Chain Prometheus to the rock with mighty blows of the hammer. Your grief for him is in vain, because you are grieving for the enemy of Zeus.

The force threatens Hephaestus with the wrath of Zeus if he does not chain Prometheus so that nothing can free him. Hephaestus chains Prometheus' hands and feet to the rock with indestructible chains. How he hates his art now - thanks to him, he must chain a friend for long torments. The implacable servants of Zeus are always watching his work.

- Hit harder with a hammer! Tighten the shackles! Don't you dare weaken them! Prometheus is cunning, he skillfully knows how to find a way out of insurmountable obstacles," says Sila. - Tie him tight, let him find out here what it's like to deceive Zeus.

- Oh, how cruel words fit your whole harsh appearance! Hephaestus exclaims, getting to work.

The rock shudders from the heavy blows of the hammer and the roar of mighty blows resounds from the edge to the edge of the earth. Prometheus is finally chained. But that's not all, you still need to nail him to the rock, piercing his chest with a steel, indestructible point. Hephaestus hesitates.

- Oh, Prometheus! - he exclaims. - How I grieve, seeing your torments!

- You're procrastinating again! Silas says angrily to Hephaestus. - You're still grieving for the enemy of Zeus! See that you don't have to grieve for yourself!

It's finally over. Everything is done as Zeus commanded. A titan is chained, and a steel point pierced his chest. Mocking Prometheus, the Force tells him:

- Well, here you can be as arrogant as you want; be proud as before! Now give to mortals the gifts of the gods that you have stolen! Let's see if your mortals will be able to help you. You'll have to think about how to free yourself from these shackles.

But Prometheus keeps a proud silence. During the whole time that Hephaestus chained him to the rock, he did not utter a single word, not even a soft moan escaped him - he did not betray his suffering in any way.

The servants of Zeus, Power and Authority have gone, and with them the sad Hephaestus has gone. Prometheus alone remained; only the sea and gloomy clouds could listen to him now. Only now a heavy groan escaped from the pierced chest of the mighty titan, only now he began to complain about his evil fate. Prometheus exclaimed loudly. His lamentations sounded with unspeakable suffering and sorrow:

- Oh, the divine ether and you, the fast-moving winds, oh, the sources of rivers and the incessant roar of sea waves, oh, the earth, the universal mother, oh, the all-seeing sun, circling the entire circle of the earth, I call you all to witness! Look what I'm putting up with! You see what a shame I have to bear for countless years! Oh, woe, woe! I will groan from the torment and now, and for many, many centuries! How can I find an end to my suffering? But what am I saying! After all, I knew everything that would happen. These torments did not befall me unexpectedly. I knew that the dictates of a terrible fate were inevitable. I have to bear these torments! For what? Because I have given great gifts to mortals, for this I must suffer so unbearably, and I cannot escape these torments. Oh, woe, woe!

But then a quiet noise was heard, as if from the flapping of wings, as if the flight of light bodies stirred the air. From the distant shores of gray Ocean, from the cool grotto, with a light breeze, the oceanids were brought on a chariot to the rock. They heard the blows of Hephaestus' hammer, and they heard the groans of Prometheus. Tears covered the beautiful eyes of the oceanids like a veil when they saw the mighty titan chained to the rock. He was native to the oceanids. His father, Iapetus, was the brother of their father, Oceanus, and the wife of Prometheus, Hesiona, was their sister. The oceanids surrounded the rock. Their grief for Prometheus is deep. But his words, with which he curses Zeus and all the Olympian gods, frighten them. They are afraid that Zeus will not make the suffering of the titan even more severe. For what such punishment befell him, the oceanids do not know. Full of compassion, they ask Prometheus to tell them why Zeus punished him, what angered him titan.

Prometheus tells them how he helped Zeus in the fight against the Titans, how he convinced his mother Themis and the great goddess of the earth Gaia to become on the side of Zeus.

Zeus defeated the Titans and overthrew them, on the advice of Prometheus, into the depths of the terrible Tartarus. Zeus seized power over the world and shared it with the new Olympian gods, and the titans who helped him were not given power in the world by the thunderer. Zeus hates Titans, is afraid of their formidable power. Zeus did not trust Prometheus and hated him. The hatred of Zeus flared up even more when Prometheus began to protect the unfortunate mortal people who lived at the time when he ruled Crowns, and whom Zeus wanted to destroy. But Prometheus pitied the people who had not yet mastered the mind; he did not want them to descend unhappy into the gloomy realm of Hades. He breathed them hope, which people did not know, and stole divine fire for them, although he knew what punishment would befall him for this. The fear of a terrible execution did not keep the proud, mighty titan from wanting to help people. Nor did the warnings of his mother's things, the great Themis, deter him.

The oceanids listened to Prometheus' story with trepidation. But now, on a swift-winged chariot, the prophetic elder Ocean himself was brought to the rock. The ocean tries to persuade Prometheus to submit to the power of Zeus: after all, he must know that it is fruitless to fight the winner of the terrible Typhon. The ocean pities Prometheus, he himself suffers, seeing the torments that Prometheus suffers. The prophetic elder is ready to hurry to the bright Olympus to pray to Zeus to have mercy on the titan, even if by pleading for him he has incurred the wrath of the thunderer himself. He believes that a wise word of protection often softens anger. But all the Ocean's pleas are in vain, Prometheus proudly answers him:

- No, try to save yourself. I am afraid that compassion will not harm you. I will exhaust to the bottom all the evil that fate has sent me. You, Ocean, be afraid to provoke the wrath of Zeus by pleading for me.

- Oh, I see, - the Ocean answers Prometheus sadly, - that with these words you are forcing me to go back without achieving anything. Believe me, O Prometheus, that it was only concern for your fate and love for you that brought me here!

- No! Go away! Hurry up, hurry up from here! Leave me alone! Prometheus exclaims.

With pain in his heart, he left the Prometheus Ocean. He sped off on his winged chariot, and Prometheus continues his story to the oceanids about what he did for people, how he benefitted them by violating the will of Zeus. In Mount Moschus, on Lemnos, Prometheus stole fire for people from the forge of his friend Hephaestus. He taught people the arts, gave them knowledge, taught them counting, reading and writing. He introduced them to metals, taught them how to mine and process them in the bowels of the earth. Prometheus humbled a wild bull for mortals and put a yoke on him so that people could use the power of bulls while cultivating their fields. Prometheus harnessed the horse to the chariot and made him obedient to man. The wise titan built the first ship, equipped it and spread a linen sail on it so that the ship would quickly carry a man across the boundless sea. Previously, people did not know medicines, did not know how to treat diseases, people were defenseless against them, but Prometheus revealed to them the power of medicines, and they humbled diseases with them, He taught them everything that eases the sorrows of life and makes it happier and more joyful. This angered Zeus, and for this the thunderer punished him.

But Prometheus will not suffer forever. He knows that evil fate will also befall the mighty Thunderer. He will not escape his fate! Prometheus knows that the kingdom of Zeus is not eternal: he will be overthrown from the high royal Olympus. The prophetic titan also knows the great secret of how to avoid this evil fate for Zeus, but he will not reveal this secret to Zeus. No force, no threats, no torments will tear it out of the mouth of the proud Prometheus.

Prometheus finished his story. The oceanids listened to him with amazement. They marveled at the great wisdom and indestructible strength of the spirit of the mighty titan who dared to rebel against the thunderer Zeus. Terror seized them again when they heard what fate Prometheus was threatening Zeus. They knew that if these threats reached Olympus, the Thunderer would stop at nothing to find out the fatal secret. The oceanids look at Prometheus with tearful eyes, shocked by the thought of the inevitability of the dictates of harsh fate. A deep silence reigned on the rock; it was interrupted only by the incessant noise of the sea.

Suddenly, a faint, barely perceptible moan of grief and pain was heard in the distance. Here it came again from the rock. This moan is getting closer and louder. Driven by a huge gadfly, sent by The hero, covered in blood, covered with foam, rushes in a frantic, mad run, turned into a cow, unhappy Io, daughter of the river god Inakh, the first king of Argolis. Exhausted, exhausted by wandering, tormented by the sting of a gadfly, Io stopped in front of the chained Prometheus. Groaning loudly, she tells what she had to endure, and prays to the prophetic titan:

- Oh, Prometheus! Here, at this limit of my wanderings, open to me, I pray you, when will my torments end, when will I finally find peace?

- Oh, believe me, Io! - Prometheus replied, - it's better for you not to know this than to know. You will go through many more countries, you will meet many horrors on your way. Your hard way lies through the country of the Scythians, through the high snowy Caucasus, through the country of the Amazons to the Bosphorus Strait, so it will be named after you when you cross it. Then you will wander around Asia for a long time. You will pass by the country where the Gorgons who bring death live; snakes writhe on their heads, hissing, instead of hair. Beware of them! Beware of vultures and one-eyed arimaspov; and you will meet them on your way. Finally, you will reach the Biblin Mountains, from them the Nile throws down its gracious waters. It is there, in the country watered by the Nile, that you will finally find peace at its mouth. There Zeus will return to you your former beautiful image, and your son will be born Epaf. He will rule over all of Egypt and will be the ancestor of a glorious generation of heroes. From this kind will come the mortal who will free me from the shackles. That's what, Io, my mother, prophetic Themis, told me about your fate.

Io exclaimed loudly:

- Oh, woe, woe! Oh, how much suffering evil fate promises me yet! My heart is trembling in my chest with horror! Madness seizes me again, a fiery sting has pierced my tortured body again, I am speechless again! Oh, woe, woe!

Madly rolling her eyes, Io rushed away from the rock in a frenzied run. As if caught up in a whirlwind, she raced into the distance. With a loud buzzing, the gadfly was rushing after her, and, like fire, its sting burned the unfortunate Io. She disappeared in clouds of dust from the eyes of Prometheus and oceanides. Fainter and fainter came Io's screams to the rock, and they finally died away, like a quiet moan of sorrow.

Prometheus and the oceanids were silent, grieving for the unfortunate Io, but Prometheus exclaimed angrily:

- No matter how much you torment me, thunderer Zeus, but still the day will come when you will be thrown into insignificance. You will lose your kingdom and be overthrown into darkness. Then the curses of your father Cronus will be fulfilled! None of the gods knows how to prevent this evil fate from you! Only I know that! Here you are sitting now, mighty, on the bright Olympus and tossing thunder and lightning, but they will not help you, they are powerless against the inevitable fate. Oh, prostrate in the dust, you will find out what the difference is between power and slavery!

Fear clouded the eyes of the oceanids, and terror drove the paint from their beautiful lanit. Finally, stretching out their hands to Prometheus, white as sea foam, they exclaimed:

- Crazy! How are you not afraid to threaten the king of gods and men, Zeus, like that? Oh, Prometheus, he will send you even more severe torments! Think about your fate, feel sorry for yourself!

- I'm ready for anything!

- But the wise man bows before the inexorable fate!

- Oh, pray, you beg for mercy! Crawl on your knees to the terrible lord! And what do I care about Thunderer Zeus? Why should I be afraid of him? I am not destined to die! Let him do what he wants, Zeus. He will not rule over the gods for long!

Prometheus had barely uttered these words when the messenger of the gods Hermes swept through the air quickly, like a shooting star, and, formidable, appeared before Prometheus. He was sent by Zeus to demand that the titan reveal the secret: who will overthrow Zeus and how to avoid the dictates of fate? Hermes threatens Prometheus with a terrible punishment for disobedience. But the mighty titan is adamant, he answers Hermes with a sneer:

- You would be a boy, and your mind would be childish if you hoped to learn anything. Know that I will not exchange my sorrows for the servile service of Zeus. I'd rather be chained to this rock here than become a loyal servant of the titan Zeus. There is no such punishment, no such torments, with which Zeus could frighten me and tear a single word from my mouth. No, he will not know how to escape his fate, the tyrant Zeus will never know who will take away his power!

- So listen, Prometheus, what will happen to you if you refuse to fulfill the will of Zeus, - Hermes answers the titan. - With a stroke of his lightning, he will cast this rock together with you into a gloomy abyss. There, in a stone dungeon, deprived of the light of the sun for many, many centuries, you will be tormented in deep darkness. Centuries will pass, and Zeus will lift you up again from the abyss, but he will not lift you up for joy. Every day an eagle will arrive, which Zeus will send, and with sharp claws and beak he will torment your liver; again and again it will grow and your suffering will become more and more terrible. So you will hang on the rock until another agrees to voluntarily descend in your place into the gloomy kingdom of Hades. Think, Prometheus, is it not better to submit to Zeus! After all, you know that Zeus never threatens in vain!

The proud titan remained adamant. How could anything frighten his heart? Suddenly the earth trembled, everything shook; deafening thunderclaps were heard, and lightning flashed with unbearable light. A black whirlwind raged furiously. Like huge mountains, frothy waves rose to the sea. The rock wavered. Amid the roar of the storm, amidst the thunder and the roar of the earthquake, the terrible cry of Prometheus was heard:

- Oh, what a blow Zeus sent against me to cause terror in my heart! Oh, revered mother Themis, oh, the ether, streaming light to all! See how unjustly Zeus punishes me!

The rock with Prometheus chained to it collapsed with a terrible roar into an immeasurable abyss, into eternal darkness.

Centuries passed, and again Zeus raised Prometheus to the light from the darkness. But his sufferings did not end; they became even harder. Again he lies stretched out on a high rock, nailed to it, entangled in fetters. The scorching rays of the sun burn his body, storms sweep over him, rains and hail lash his emaciated body, in winter snow falls in flakes on Prometheus, and the chilling cold shackles his limbs. And these torments are not enough! Every day a huge eagle arrives, rustling with mighty wings, on a rock. He sits on Prometheus' chest and tears it with claws sharp as steel. The eagle tears the titan's liver with its beak. Blood flows in torrents and stains the rock; blood freezes in black clots at the foot of the rock; it decomposes in the sun and infects the air around with an unbearable stench. Every morning an eagle arrives and begins its bloody meal. Wounds heal overnight, and the liver grows again to give new food to the eagle during the day. These torments last for years, centuries. The mighty titan Prometheus is exhausted, but his proud spirit is not broken by suffering.

The Titans have long reconciled with Zeus and submitted to him. They recognized his authority, and Zeus freed them from the gloomy Tartarus. Now they, huge, mighty, came to the edge of the earth to the rock where Prometheus lay chained. They surrounded his rock and convince Prometheus to submit to Zeus. Prometheus' mother, Themis, also came and begged her son to humble his proud spirit and not resist Zeus. She begs her son to take pity on her - after all, she suffers so unbearably, seeing her son's torments. Zeus himself has already forgotten his former anger. Now his power is strong, nothing can shake it, nothing is afraid of him. And he no longer rules like a tyrant, he protects the states, keeps the laws. He protects people and the truth among them. Only one more thing worries the thunderer - this is the secret that only Prometheus knows. Zeus is ready, if Prometheus reveals to him the fatal secret, to pardon the mighty titan. The time is near when the torments of Prometheus will end. A great hero has already been born and matured, who is destined by fate to free from the shackles of titan. The inflexible Prometheus still keeps the secret, languishing from torment, but his strength begins to leave him.

Finally, the great hero, who is destined to free Prometheus, during his wanderings comes here, to the ends of the earth. This hero is Hercules, the strongest of men, mighty as a god. He looks with horror at the torments of Prometheus, and compassion takes possession of him. Titan tells Hercules about his evil fate and prophesies to him what other great feats he will have to perform. Full of attention, Hercules listens to the titan. But not all the horror of Prometheus' suffering was seen by Hercules. In the distance, the sound of mighty wings is heard - it's an eagle flying to its bloody feast. He is circling high in the sky above Prometheus, ready to descend to his chest. Hercules did not let him torment Prometheus. He grabbed his bow, took out a deadly arrow from his quiver, called the arrow-bearer Apollo, so that he directed the flight of the arrow more correctly, and let it fly. The bowstring rang loudly, an arrow shot up, and the pierced eagle fell into the stormy sea at the very foot of the cliff. The moment of liberation has come. The swift Hermes was brought from the high Olympus. With an affectionate speech, he addressed the mighty Prometheus and promised him immediate release if he revealed the secret of how to avoid an evil fate for Zeus. The mighty Prometheus finally agreed to reveal the secret to Zeus and said:

- Let the thunderer not marry the sea goddess Thetis, since the goddesses of fate, prophetic moira, took out such a lot to Thetis: whoever her husband is, she will have a son from him who will be more powerful than his father. May the gods give Thetis as a wife to the hero Peleus, and the son of Thetis and Peleus will be the greatest of the mortal heroes of Greece.

Prometheus discovered a great secret, Hercules broke his fetters with his heavy club and tore out of his chest the indestructible steel point with which the titan was nailed to the rock. Titan stood up, now he was free. His torment was over. Thus his prediction was fulfilled that a mortal would set him free. With loud, joyful shouts, the Titans welcomed the liberation of Prometheus.

Since then Prometheus has been wearing an iron ring on his hand, in which a stone is inserted from the rock where he endured unspeakable torments for so many centuries.

Instead of Prometheus, the wise centaur Chiron agreed to descend into the underworld of the souls of the dead. By this he got rid of the suffering caused by the incurable wound inflicted on him by Hercules.