The Sixth Labor
Source: Myths And Legends Of All Nations.
Hercules now returned with new adventures to Eurystheus; but the
latter would not give him credit for the task because Hercules had
demanded a reward for his labor. He sent the hero forth upon a sixth
adventure, commanding him to drive away the Stymphalides. These were
monster birds of prey, as large as cranes, with iron feathers, beaks
and claws. They lived on the banks of Lake Stymphalus in Arcadia, and
had the power of using their feathers as arrows and piercing with
their beaks even bronze coats of mail. Thus they brought destruction
to both animals and men in all the surrounding country.
After a short journey Hercules, accustomed to wandering, arrived at
the lake, which was thickly shaded by a wood. Into this wood a great
flock of the birds had flown for fear of being robbed by wolves.
The hero stood undecided when he saw the frightful crowd, not knowing
how he could become master over so many enemies. Then he felt a light
touch on his shoulder, and glancing behind him saw the tall figure of
the goddess Minerva, who gave into his hands two mighty brass rattles
made by Vulcan. Telling him to use these to drive away the
Stymphalides, she disappeared.
Hercules mounted a hill near the lake, and began frightening the birds
by the noise of the rattles. The Stymphalides could not endure the
awful noise and flew, terrified, out of the forest. Then Hercules
seized his bow and sent arrow after arrow in pursuit of them, shooting
many as they flew. Those who were not killed left the lake and never
Next: The Seventh Labor
Previous: The Fifth Labor