The Seventh Labor

King Minos of Crete had promised Neptune (Poseidon), god of the sea,

to offer to him whatever animal should first come up out of the water,

for he declared he had no animal that was worthy for so high a

sacrifice. Therefore the god caused a very beautiful ox to rise out of

the sea. But the king was so taken with the noble appearance of the

animal that he secretly placed it among his own herds and offered

another to Neptune. Angered by this, the god had caused the animal to

become mad, and it was bringing great destruction to the island of

Crete. To capture this animal, master it, and bring it before

Eurystheus, was the seventh labor of Hercules.

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.

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.

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