There once lived a race of huge giants called Titans. These giants were fierce， violent， and lawless-always fighting among themselves and against Zeus， the king of the gods.
One of the Titans， whose name was Prometheus， was wiser than the rest. He often thought about what would be likely to happen in the future.
One day， Prometheus said to his brother Titans， “What is the use of wasting so much strength？ In the end， wisdom and forethought will win. If we are going to fight against the gods， let us choose a leader and stop quarrelling among ourselves.”
The Titans answered him by a shower of great rocks and uprooted trees.
Prometheus， after escaping unhurt， said to his younger brother， “Epimetheus， we can do nothing among these Titans. If they keep on， they will tear the earth to pieces. Let us go and help Zeus to overcome them.”
Epimetheus agreed to this， and the two brothers went over to Zeus， who called the gods together and began a terrible battle. The Titans tore up enormous boulders and cast them at the gods， while Zeus hurled his thunderbolts and his lightenings in all directions. Soon the sky was a sheet of flame， the sea boiled， the earth trembled， and the forests took fire and began to burn.
At last the gods-partly by the help of the wise counsel of Prometheus-conquered the Titans， took them to the ends of the earth， and imprisoned them in a deep underground cavern. Neptune， the sea-god， made strong bronze gates with heavy bolts and bars， to keep the giants down， while Zeus sent Briareus and his brothers， three giants with fifty heads and a hundred hands each， to stand guard over them.
All but one of the Titans who had fought against the gods were imprisoned in this cavern. This one who was not shut in with the others was Atlas， whose enormous strength was greater than that of his brothers， while his character was less quarrelsome. He was made to stand and hold up the sky on his head and hands.
As the Titans could now make no more trouble， there was comparative peace and quiet on the earth. Nevertheless， Zeus said that， although the men who remained on the earth were not so strong as the Titans， they were foolish and wicked race. He declared that he would destroy them-sweep them away， and have done with them， forever.
When their king said this， none of the gods dared to say a word in defence of mankind. But Prometheus， the Titan， who was earth-born himself， and loved these men of the earth， bagged Zeus so earnestly to shae them， that Zeus consented to do so.
At this time， men lived in dark gloomy caves. Their friend， Prometheus taught them to build simple houses， which were much more comfortable than the caves had been. This was a great step forward. but men needed more help yet from the Titan. The beasts in the forests， and the great birds that build their nests on the rocks were strong； but men were weak. The lion had sharp claws and teeth； the eagle had wings； the turtle had a hard shell； but man， although he stood upright with his face toward the stars， had no weapon with which he could defend himself.
Prometheus said that man should have Zeus’s wonderful flower of fire， which shone so brightly in the sky. So he took a hollow reed， went up to Olympus， stole the red flower of fire， and brought it down to earth in his reed.
After this， all the other creatures were afraid of man， for this red flower had made him strong than they. Man dug iron out of the earth and by the help of his new fire made weapons that were sharper than the lion’s teeth； he tamed the wild cattle by the fear of it， yoked them together， and taught them how to draw the plough； he sharpened strong stakes， hardening them in its heat， and set them around his house as a defence from his enemies； he did many other things besides with the red flower that Prometheus had made to blossom at the end of the reed.
Zeus， sitting on his throne， saw with alarm how strong man was becoming. One day he discovered the theft of his shining red flower， and knew tat Promethwus was the thief. He was greatly displeased with this act.
“Prometheus loves man too well，” said he， “he shall be punished.” Then he called his two slaves， Strength and Force， and told them to take Prometheus and bind him fast to a great rock in the lonely Caucasian Mountains. At the same time he ordered Hephaestus to lock the Titan’s chains-in a cunning way that only Hephaestus knew.
There Prometheus hung on the rock for hundreds of years. The sun shone on him pitilessly， by day-only the king night gave him shade. He heard the rushing wings of the seagulls， as they came to feed their young who cried from the rocks below. The sea nymphs floated up to his rock to give him their pity. An eagle， cruel as the king of the gods， came daily and tore him with his claws and beak.
But this frightful punishment did not last forever. Prometheus himself knew that some day he should be set free， and his knowledge made him strong to endure.
At last the time came when Zeus’s throne was in danger， and Prometheus， pitying his enemy， told him a secret which helped him to make everything safe again. After this， Zeus sent Hercules to shoot the eagle and to break the Titan’s chains. So Prometheus was set free.
New Words and Expressions 生词和词组1. fierce a. 残忍的；凶猛的2. Zeus n. 希腊神话中的主神3. be likely to 可能4. tore up 撕碎5. hurl v. 用力投掷6. counsel n. 劝告；忠告7. conquer vt. 占领；攻取；攻克8. consent n. 用意；答应；允许9. gloomy a. 黑暗的；阴暗的10.Olympus n. 据传系希腊诸神之家11.Hephaestus n. 希腊神话中火与煅冶之神12.cunning a. 奸诈的；狡猾的13.nymphs n. 居于山林水泽的仙女14.Hercules n. 主神宙斯和阿尔克墨涅之子，力大无比，以完成十二项英雄业绩闻名。