Summary of “Golden Apples of the Hesperides”

The most difficult feat of Hercules in the service of Eurystheus was his last, twelfth feat. He had to go to the great titan Atlas, who holds the firmament on his shoulders, and get three golden apples from his gardens, which the daughter of Atlas of the Hesperides looked at. These apples grew on a golden tree, raised by the goddess of the land of Gaia as a gift to the great Hera on the day of her wedding with Zeus. To accomplish this feat, it was necessary first of all to learn the path to the gardens of the Hesperides, guarded by the dragon, never closing the eyes of sleep.

No one knew the way to the Hesperides and Atlas. Hercules wandered about Asia and Europe for a long time, he passed and all the countries that passed earlier along the way for the cows of Geryon; Everywhere Hercules asked about the path, but no one knew him. In his search, he went to the most extreme north, to eternally rolling his turbulent, boundless waters to the Eridani River. On the shores of Eridan,

the great nymphs were welcomed with great respect by the great son of Zeus and gave him advice on how to find the way to the gardens of the Hesperides. Hercules was to surprise Nereus the sea elder when he came ashore from the sea, and learn from him the way to the Hesperides; except for Nereus, no one knew this way. Hercules long sought Neme. Finally, he managed to find Nereus by the sea. Hercules attacked the sea god. It was difficult to fight the sea god. To get rid of the iron embrace of Hercules, Nereus took all kinds of views, but still did not release his hero. Finally, he tied the weary Nereus, and the sea god had to, in order to obtain freedom, to open to Hercules the secret of the path to the gardens of the Hesperides. Learning this secret, the son of Zeus released the sea elders and set off on a long journey.

Again he had to go through Libya. Here he met the giant Antei, the son of Poseidon, the god of the seas, and the goddess of the land of Gaia, who bore him, nurtured and nurtured her. Antey forced all travelers to fight him and everyone who won in the fight, mercilessly killed. The giant demanded that

Hercules also fight with him. No one could defeat Antei in single combat, not knowing the secrets, from where the giant received more and more forces during the struggle. The secret was this: when Antey felt he was beginning to lose his strength, he touched the ground, his mother, and his powers were renewed: he drew them from his mother, the great goddess of the earth. But as soon as Anthea was torn off the ground and lifted him into the air, his powers disappeared. Hercules fought with Antei for a long time. several times he felled him to the ground, but only the strength of Antei was added.

Then Hercules went and came to Egypt. There, exhausted by the long way, he fell asleep in the shadow of a small grove on the bank of the Nile. The king of Egypt, the son of Poseidon and daughter of Epaphus Lysianassa, Busiris, saw the sleeping Hercules, and ordered to bind the sleeping hero. He wanted to bring Hercules as a sacrifice to his father Zeus. Nine years was a poor harvest in Egypt; predicted came from Cyprus, the soothsayer Frances, that the crop failure would stop only if Busiris annually sacrificed Zeus to a stranger. Busiris ordered the seizure of the soothsayer Frances and first sacrificed him. Since then, the cruel king has sacrificed to the thunderer all the strangers who came to Egypt. They brought Hercules to the altar, too, but the great hero of the rope with which he was tied was torn, and killed himself by Busiris and his son Amfidamanta. Thus the cruel king of Egypt was punished.

Many more had to meet Hercules in the way of his dangers, until he reached the edge of the land where the great titan Atlas stood. The hero watched with amazement the hero of the mighty titan, who held on his broad shoulders the whole heavenly vault.

“Oh, great titan Atlas!” – Hercules turned to him, – I am the son of Zeus, Hercules. I was sent to you by Eurystheus, the king of the rich in gold Mycenae. Eurystheus told me to get you three gold apples from a golden tree in the gardens of the Hesperides.

“I will give you three apples, the son of Zeus,” replied Atlas, “you, while I follow them, should stand in my place and hold my heavenly arches on my shoulders.”

Hercules agreed. He stood in the place of Atlas. Incredible weight fell on the shoulders of the son of Zeus. He strained all his strength and kept the firmament. The weight heaved heavily on the mighty shoulders of Hercules. He bent under the weight of the sky, his muscles swelled like mountains, sweat covered his whole body with tension, but the inhuman strengths and help of the goddess Athena enabled him to hold the firmament until the Atlas returned with three golden apples. Returning, Atlas told the hero:

Here are three apples, Hercules; if you want, I myself will take them to Mycenae, and you hold the heavenly vault until my return; then I’ll get back to your place.

Hercules understood the trick of Atlas, he realized that he wanted the titanium to completely free himself from his hard work, and applied cunning to cunning.

“All right, Atlas, I agree!” answered Hercules. “Just let me make a pillow before, I’ll put it on my shoulders, so that the horrible celestial vault does not press them.”

The Atlas rose again to his place and lifted the heaviness of the sky on his shoulders. Hercules also raised his bow and quiver with arrows, took his club and golden apples and said:

“Farewell, Atlas!” I kept the vault of the sky, while you were following the apples of the Hesperides, I always do not want to carry the whole weight of the heavens on my shoulders.

With these words, Hercules left the titan, and again Atlas had to keep his firmament, as before, on his mighty shoulders. Hercules returned to Eurystheus and gave him the golden apples. Eurystheus presented them to Hercules, and he gave apples to his patroness, the great daughter of Zeus Athena-Pallas. Athena returned the apples to the Hesperides, so that they would always remain in the gardens.

After his twelfth feat, Hercules freed himself from the service of Eurystheus. Now he could return to the seven-fold Thebes. But the son of Zeus did not remain there for long. Waited for his new feats. He gave his wife Megara a wife to his friend Iolaus, and he went back to Tiryns.

But not only victories waited for him, waiting for Hercules and grievous troubles, because the great goddess Hera still pursued him.

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Summary of “Golden Apples of the Hesperides”