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The Eighth Labor

Source: Myths And Legends Of All Nations.

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.

Next: The Ninth Labor

Previous: The Seventh Labor

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