Well, the first story that can come to mind is the bible, as it has inflenced us so much, but it's far from the most interesting story man has invented. Many mythological stories, greeks or romans for example, are pretty spectacular and some are very complex; here, I am thinking of Helen of Troy which mixes mythology and real events and gets quite different narratives fromdifferent sources....
Which ones would have stuck to your mind or took your fancy ?
Fairy tales are also great for inspiration and also some mixes up reality and imagination,such as Bluebeard and Henry VIII (he was also instrumental in religious matter in Britain !!!).
So many of these stories have been the basis for movies, videos and are the foundation of heroes or heroines....
I too loved Prometheus, but was a bit grossed out by his gruesome punishment.
What did you expect? That's a recurring theme even in history: defying the powers that be to bring fire (i.e., knowledge, science) to mankind, brings gruesome punishment in turn. Your beloved Hypatia might be the ultimate Promethean figure, but with people like Socrates or Bruno, she's in good company.
Well, when I first learned about Prometheus, I was young and full of optimism, I expected a different ending for that movie :-)
Now I know better :-(
I wonder if Scheherazade and the thousand and one nights would fall into this category ? I read it (2 books) when I was in my teens and really liked it...
I loved those stories when I was 11 or 12!
I also like the Coyote stories from Native American mythology. They are very playful stories. I love trickster stories. And coyotes are such amazing animals.
OK, here is my big confession: I'm partial to vampires and werewolves. Especially werewolves. It could be the teenage girl who still lives in me :-)
Well, it seems they are very popular these days... If you have the time, get hold of any Laurel K. Hamilton book and you'll have them and others to your heart's content...