Myths and Legends of All Nations Famous Stories from the Greek, German, English, Spanish, Scandinavian, Danish, French, Russian, Bohemian, Italian and other sources

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When the hero came to Crete and with this intention stepped before Minos, the king was not a little pleased over the prospect of ridding the island of the bull, and he himself helped Hercules to capture the raging animal. Hercules approached the dreadful monster without fear, and so thoroughly did he master him that he rode home on the animal the whole way to the sea.

[Pg 20] With this work Eurystheus was pleased, and after he had regarded the animal for a time with pleasure, set it free. No longer under Hercules' management, the ox became wild again, wandered through all Laconia and Arcadia, crossed over the isthmus to Marathon in Attica and devastated the country there as formerly on the island of Crete. Later it was given to the hero Theseus to become master over him.

The Eighth Labor

The eighth labor of Hercules was to bring the mares of the Thracian Diomede to Mycene. Diomede was a son of Mars and ruler of the Bistonians, a very warlike people. He had mares so wild and strong that they had to be fastened with iron chains. Their fodder was chiefly hay; but strangers who had the misfortune to come into the city were thrown before them, their flesh serving the animals as food.

When Hercules arrived the first thing he did was to seize the inhuman king himself and after he had overpowered the keepers, throw him before his own mares. With this food the animals were satisfied and Hercules was able to drive them to the sea.

But the Bistonians followed him with weapons, and Hercules was forced to turn and fight them. He gave the horses into the keeping of his beloved companion Abderus, the son of Mercury, and while Hercules was away the animals grew hungry again and devoured their keeper.

Hercules, returning, was greatly grieved over this loss, and later founded a city in honor of Abderus, naming it after his lost friend. For the present he was content to master the mares and drive them without further mishap to Eurystheus.

The latter consecrated the horses to Juno. Their descendants were very powerful, and the great king Alexander of Macedonia rode one of them.

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The Ninth Labor

Returning from a long journey, the hero undertook an expedition against the Amazons in order to finish the ninth adventure and bring to King Eurystheus the sword belt of the Amazon Hippolyta.

The Amazons inhabited the region of the river Thermodon and were a race of strong women who followed the occupations of men. From their children they selected only such as were girls. United in an army, they waged great wars. Their queen, Hippolyta, wore, as a sign of her leadership, a girdle which the goddess of war had given her as a present.

Hercules gathered his warrior companions together into a ship, sailed after many adventures into the Black Sea and at last into the mouth of the river Thermodon, and the harbor of the Amazon city Themiscira. Here the queen of the Amazons met him.