The Twelve Labors of Hercules
Hercules performed twelve labors given him by King Eurystheus of Tiryns. For twelve years, he traveled
all over to complete these incredible tasks. NOTE: Because different ancient poets gave their own
accounts of Hercules's labors, some details may vary.
One: Kill the Nemean Lion
This monster of a lion had a hide was so tough that no arrow could pierce it. Hercules stunned the beast
with his olive-wood club and then strangled it with his bare hands. It is said that he skinned the lion,
using the lion's sharp claws, and ever after wore its hide.
Two: Kill the Lernean Hydra
The evil, snakelike Hydra had nine heads. If one got hurt, two would grow in its place. But Hercules
quickly sliced off the heads, while his charioteer, Iolaus, sealed the wounds with a torch. Hercules made
his arrows poisonous by dipping them in the Hydra's blood.
Three: Capture the Cerynian Hind
The goddess Artemis loved and protected this stubborn little deer, which had gold horns. Hercules
found it a challenge to capture the delicate hind without hurting it (and making Artemis angry). After
following the hind for an entire year, he safely carried it away.
Four: Capture the Erymanthian Boar
The people of Mount Erymanthus lived in fear of this deadly animal. Hercules chased the wild boar up
the mountain and into a snowdrift. He then took it in a net and brought it to King Eurystheus, who was
so frightened of the beast that he hid in a huge bronze jar.
Five: Clean the Augean Stables
Thousands of cows lived in these stables belonging to King Augeas. They had not been cleaned in 30
years, but Hercules was told to clean them completely in a single day. To do so he made two rivers bend
so that they flowed into the stables, sweeping out the filth.
Six: Kill the Stymphalian Birds
These murderous birds lived around Lake Stymphalos. Their claws and beaks were sharp as me