What was in Pandora's box

Idiom: Open Pandora's box

The idiom comes from mythology and expresses that one causes mischief if one literally "opens Pandora's box"

Don't you open Pandora's box!

It's Lily's grandma's birthday. There is cake and lemonade, all the relatives sit on the terrace and talk. After her second piece of cake, Lily is bored. She nudges her mother impatiently and whispers: "Mom, what should I do?" She suggests playing in the sandpit with her little brother Marco.

At ten years of age, Lily actually feels too old for that, but after a brief thought she decides - everything is more exciting than listening to the guests sipping coffee during their adult conversations. After a while, however, Lily gets bored of the sandpit.

While her little brother continues to play, she absent-mindedly takes a handful of sand and throws it around at random. When her grandmother sees this, she escapes: "Lily, don't open Pandora's box in front of your brother! He's such a nice boy!" Lily has no idea what grandma is talking about. To herself she thinks: "What kind of Pandora's box does Grandma mean? Is that supposed to be another word for" sandpit "?"

Pandora's box: origin and meaning of the idiom

"Pandora's box", which Lily's grandmother speaks of, comes from Greek mythology. A myth tells that Pandora was the first woman in the world. Because Zeus, the highest god in Greek mythology, once had Pandora created from clay. However, not out of good will for humanity, but as a punishment!

Because the young titan Prometheus had created people from clay on earth in the image of the gods and also managed to steal the fire of the gods under permission by a trick. This angered the father of the gods Zeus so much that he decided to punish Prometheus and the people.

The beautiful Pandora should be part of his punishment for Prometheus and humanity: One day the cunning Zeus gave Pandora a mysterious box. Pandora should pass this on to everyone - but forbid them to open it.

After a short time, however, Pandora himself opened the box - her curiosity was too great! What was in the can? All bad! So disease, death and evil spread over humanity. Zeus had got his revenge.

From this myth, the phrase "opening Pandora's box" arose. This is used to express that someone is causing harm or harm. Lily's grandmother was not talking about an actual can, but about the fact that Marco could copy the bad behavior of his big sister.