Man's creator and his best friend was the Titan Prometheus. Zeus had given Prometheus and his brother, Epimetheus, the task of repopulating the earth after all living creatures had perished in the early battles of the gods.
Epimetheus rapidly made all kinds of animals and without any foresight he
lavished the good gifts upon them. When Prometheus had finished shaping man, he
found that there were few of the good gifts left. Animals could run faster,
see, smell and hear better, and had more endurance.
Prometheus was sorry for mankind and he went to Zeus and asked him if he might have some sacred fire for his poor creatures.
But Zeus said no, fire belonged to the gods alone.
Prometheus could not bear to see his people suffer and he decided to steal fire, though he knew that Zeus would punish him severely. No longer did men shiver in the cold of the night, and the beasts feared the light of fire and did not dare attack them.
Zeus was furious when he first saw the fires flickering on earth, but he was
appeased when the savoury scent of roast meat reached his nostrils. All the
gods loved the smell of burnt offerings; it spiced their daily food of ambrosia
and nectar. But Prometheus knew how hard men worked to make their living and
thought it a pity that they burnt up the best parts of their food.
He told them to butcher an ox and divide the meat in two equal heaps. In one were the chops and roasts, hidden under sinews and bones. In the other were scraps and entrails, covered with snow-white fat. Zeus, of course, chose the best-looking heap, but when he discovered that he had been tricked he grew angry. Not only had Prometheus stolen the sacred fire and given it to men, it had also taught them to cheat the gods.
Cast in unbreakable irons, Prometheus was chained to the top of the Caucasus Mountains. Every day an eagle swooped out of the sky and ate his liver. Zeus found a more subtle way to punish the mortals. He sent to earth a beautiful, alluring woman. Her name was Pandora.
Taken from Book of Greek Myths by Ingri and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire with thanks to Bantam Doubleday Dell
Summary of Greek Gods