The Labors Of Hercules
Source: Myths And Legends Of All Nations.
Before the birth of Hercules Jupiter had explained in the council of
the gods that the first descendant of Perseus should be the ruler of
all the others of his race. This honor was intended for the son of
Perseus and Alcmene; but Juno was jealous and brought it about that
Eurystheus, who was also a descendant of Perseus, should be born
before Theseus. So Eurystheus became king in Mycene, and the
later-born Hercules remained inferior to him.
Now Eurystheus watched with anxiety the rising fame of his young
relative, and called his subject to him, demanding that he carry
through certain great tasks or labors. When Hercules did not
immediately obey, Jupiter himself sent word to him that he should
fulfill his service to the King of Greece.
Nevertheless the hero son of a god could not make up his mind easily
to render service to a mere mortal. So he traveled to Delphi and
questioned the oracle as to what he should do. This was the answer:
_The overlordship of Eurystheus will be qualified on condition that
Hercules perform ten labors that Eurystheus shall assign him. When
this is done, Hercules shall be numbered among the immortal gods._
Hereupon Hercules fell into deep trouble. To serve a man of less
importance than himself hurt his dignity and self-esteem; but Jupiter
would not listen to his complaints.
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