No one knows for sure if the story of Hercules is based in some true, tragic tale. Born of Zeus and a mortal, the hero was despised by Hera, wife of Zeus. After an unfortunate incident involving his wife and children, a despondent Hercules sought to redeem himself by visiting an Oracle for advice. He was sent to King Eurystheus, who, inspired by Hera, ordered 10 impossible labors as penance. Ten became twelve, and the man became legend.
“Ten, they said. Just ten,” Hercules grumbled as he shifted the weight on his shoulders. He needed to bring back the Golden Apples of Hesperides, a task that sounded frightfully easy. That is, until Prometheus told him the Apples were guarded by the dragon Ladon. Prometheus recommended that Hercules enlist the help of the mighty Titan Atlas since the dragon was so powerful. That’s how Hercules ended up here, balancing the world on his shoulders. The job had belonged to Atlas until Hercules convinced him to defeat the dragon and capture the apples in his stead. Atlas was happy for a break from world holding, but Hercules, strong as he was, grew tired. Moments later, Atlas came bounding down the mountain. “It’s done,” Atlas said happily, dropping the golden apples at Hercules’ feet. “But I’ve decided I don’t want to hold up the world any more. I hope you don’t mind.”
Hercules grimaced. “Of course, but will you take it for just a moment so I may adjust my cloak?”
“Of course,” Atlas answered, lifting the burden back to his shoulders.
“Fool,” Hercules mumbled. Then he picked up the apples and walked away, leaving a sputtering Atlas to hold up the world once more.
- Recommended Age: 3+
- Size in cm: 4 L x 9 W x 12.7 H
Hercules was the son of Zeus, the Greek god of the sky. He was special from the moment he was born, playing with snakes in his crib. He is famous in myths for completing impossible tasks, including defeating the 5-headed Hydra and capturing Cerberus, the watchdog of the underworld.