Hercules and the Golden Apples
A retelling from Greek mythology
Hercules was the son of a god, Zeus, and a mortal woman named Alcmene. Hercules was not a very nice person for a long time and did some pretty nasty things in his life. Because of this, the god Apollo told Hercules that he would have to serve Eurystheus, the king of Mycenae, for twelve years. King Eurystheus sent Hercules to perform 12 very difficult tasks, which he called labours.
Hercules worked hard and accomplished the first 10 labours.
For the eleventh labour, Hercules had to bring the King three golden apples that, rumor said, would give the person who ate them immortality. In other words, they would live forever and never die. No one really knew if this was true or not.
But there was a problem. The apples were in a garden guarded by Ladon, a dragon with 100 heads and by the magical nymphs named Hesperides, the “Daughters of the Evening”. And a bigger problem was that no one knew where the garden was located.
Hercules traveled far and encountered many creatures in his efforts to find the garden with the 3 golden apples. He finally found Atlas, who was holding up the entire world on his shoulders. Atlas knew the location of the garden with the golden apples. He agreed to go get the apples for Hercules if Hercules would hold the world for him. It was very heavy, and Atlas longed for a break from the hard work of holding up the entire world.
Hercules took the world onto his shoulders, Atlas ran off to the garden of the Hesperides, found the apple tree and stole the 3 golden apples. He brought them back to Hercules.
But Atlas didn’t want to hold the world any more so he told Hercules HE would take the apples to the King. Hercules was not very happy about the idea of holding up the world forever, so he had to think of a plan quickly.
He asked Atlas to hold the world up for just a minute so he could make some padding for his shoulders. Atlas put the apples down, and as soon as the world was back on Atlas’s shoulders, Hercules grabbed the apples and ran to the King with them.
But, another problem arose. Because the apples really belonged to the gods and goddesses, King Eurystheus could not keep them. So, the goddess Athena took the apples right back to the garden where they belonged.
Poor Hercules worked so hard to get the golden apples, only to have them taken right back to the garden.
You can read more about Hercules and his twelve tasks in books about Greek mythology.
Have a great day!