Young Folks Treasury, Volume 2 (of 12) eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 568 pages of information about Young Folks Treasury, Volume 2 (of 12).

He is said to have been the great friend of mankind, and was chained to a rock on Mount Caucasus because he stole fire from heaven and gave it as a gift to the sons of man.

While in chains an eagle was sent by Jupiter daily to feed on Prometheus’s liver, which Jupiter made to grow again each night.  From this continuous torture he was released by Hercules, who slew the eagle and burst asunder the bonds of this friend of man.

II

HERCULES IN THE NETHER WORLD

Theseus and Pirithous were two Athenians, who, after having been at enmity for a long time at last became the very best of friends.  They, like Hercules, had passed their youth in doing doughty deeds for the benefit of mankind, and their fame had spread abroad throughout the land of Greece.  This did not prevent them from forming a very foolish project.  They actually planned to go down to Hades and carry off Pluto’s wife, Proserpina, whom Pirithous himself wished to marry.

This rashness brought about their ruin, for they were seized by Pluto and chained to a rock.  All this Hercules, who was the friend of Theseus, learnt while on one of his journeys, and he resolved to rescue Theseus from his eternal punishment.

As for Pirithous, the prime mover in the attempted outrage, him Hercules meant to leave to his fate.

Hercules had been warned to take a black dog to sacrifice to Hecate and a cake to mollify Cerberus, as was usual; but he would not listen to such tales and meant to force his way to Theseus.  When he found himself face to face with Cerberus he seized him, threw him down and chained him with strong chains.

The next difficulty in the way was black and muddy Acheron, the first of the seven rivers that ran round Hades, and formed a barrier between the living and the departed.

This river had not always run under the vaults of Hades.  Formerly its course was upon the earth.  But when the Titans attempted to scale the heaven, this river had the ill luck to quench their thirst, and Jupiter to punish even the waters of the river for abetting his enemies, turned its course aside into the under world where its waves, slow-moving and filthy, lost themselves in Styx, the largest of all the rivers of Hades, which ran round Pluto’s gloomy kingdom no less than nine times.

On reaching the banks of Styx, Hercules was surprised to see flying around him a crowd of disconsolate spirits, whom Charon the Ferryman refused to row across Styx, because they could not pay him his fee of an obol, a Greek coin worth about three cents of our money, which the Greeks were accustomed to place in the mouths of their dead for the purpose, as they thought, of paying Charon his ferry fee.

Fierce Charon frowned when he beheld Hercules for he feared his light boat of bark would sink under his weight, it being only adapted for the light and airy spirits of the dead; but when the son of Jupiter told him his name he was mollified and allowed the hero to take his place at his side.

Copyrights
Project Gutenberg
Young Folks Treasury, Volume 2 (of 12) from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook