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Mythology (4)

Ancient myths

The Third Labor of Heracles - The Hind of Ceryneia

  For the third labor, Eurystheus ordered Hercules to bring him the Hind of Ceryneia. Now, before we go any further, we'll have to answer two questions: What is a hind? and, Where is Ceryneia?
Ceryneia is a town in Greece, about fifty miles from Eurystheus' palace in Mycenae.
A hind is simply a female red deer.
  You'd think it would have been easy for a hero like Hercules to go shoot a deer and bring it back to Eurystheus, but a few problems made things complicated. This was a special deer, because it had golden horns and hoofs of bronze. Not only that, the deer was sacred to the goddess of hunting and the moon, Diana; she was Diana's special pet. That meant that Hercules could neither kill the deer nor hurt her. He couldn't risk getting Diana angry at him; he was already in enough trouble with Hera.
  Hercules set out on this adventure, and he hunted the deer for a whole year. At last, when the deer had become weary with the chase, she looked for a place to rest on a mountain called Artemisius, and then made her way to the river Ladon. Realizing that the deer was about to get away, Hercules shot her just as she was about to cross the stream. He caught the deer, put her on his shoulders and turned back to Mycenae. As Hercules hurried on his way, he was met by Diana and Apollo.
  Diana was very angry because Hercules tried to kill her sacred animal. She was about to take the deer away from Hercules, and surely she would have punished him, but Hercules told her the truth. He said that he had to obey the oracle and do the labors Eurystheus had given him. Diana let go of her anger and healed the deer's wound. Hercules carried it alive to Mycenae.

This text is cited July 2004 from Perseus Project URL bellow, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Heracles. 3. The stag of Ceryneia in Arcadia. This animal hand golden antlers and brazen feet. It had been dedicated to Artemis by the nymph Taygete, because the goddess had saved her from the pursuit of Zeus. Heracles was ordered to bring the animal alive to Mycenae. He pursued it in vain for a whole year: at length it fled from Oenoe to mount Artemisium in Argolis, and thence to the river Ladon in Arcadia. Heracles wounded it with an arrow, caught it, and carried it away on his shoulders. While yet in Arcadia, he was met by Apollo and Artemis, who were angry with him for having outraged the animal sacred to Artemis; but Heracles succeeded in soothing their anger, and carried his prey to Mycenae. According to some statements, he killed the stag. (Apollod. ii. 5.3; Diod iv. 13; Callim. Hymn. in Dian. 100, &c.; Ov. Met. ix. 188; Virg. Aen. vi. 803; Pind. Ol. iii. 24, 53; Eurip. Herc. Fur. 378.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Nov 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

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