Monday, December 12, 2011

The Ten Labors of Hercules - Labor # 1

The first impossible task given to Hercules was to slay a lion.  Not just any lion, mind you.  This lion is the son of Enchinda (mother of monsters) and the 100 headed titan Typhon.  This lion was nursed by the moon goddess Selene (why she thought to nurse a lion is beyond my capacity to understand).

This was the . . . Nemean Lion. (Cue dramatic music!)

I don't know why Hercules thought fighting naked was a good idea.
He's probably one of those guys who thinks taking his shirt off at parties is the thing to do.

Hercules was fine with this task.  In fact, he thought, "Hmmpft!  I thought this would be harder."  And off he went, grabbing weapons along the way.  He grabbed a bronze sword.  He grabbed some arrows with bronze tips.  He grabbed an olive tree, pulled it up by the roots, and made it into a club.  He was ready.

When he found the beast, it immediately ran towards him. Hercules calmly shot three arrows at it in rapid succession (archery class had kept Hercules' GPA out of the 2.0 range in school - that and killing his music teacher).  The arrows merely bent their tips and bounced harmlessly off.  The lion leaped and Hercules hit it with his tree/club.  The lion was pushed out of the way, but otherwise unharmed.  At this point, it probably would have been wise to just run away, but then again, Hercules was never known for his wisdom.

The lion charged again.  This time Hercules dropped the club and grabbed the lion around his neck and held him.  The lion struggled, but he could not break the head lock Hercules had put on him.  Finally, the lion was dead.

Hercules then looked at the beast and thought, "That would be one cool cloak to wear!  I ought to skin it and wear it."  Upon which he replied to himself, "Cool idea, Herc!  Let's do it!"  He grabbed his knife and began cutting...

... only to remember that weapons don't seem to penetrate this hide.  So he brought out his heavy duty Bronze Sword 2000, which also didn't work.  Hercules sat, much like Winnie the Pooh does when he is thinking.  He may have even sang the "Rumbly in my Tumbly" song like Pooh occasionally does.

So then Hercules did something quite clever, although it was probably quite an accident.  He used the claws of the lion to skin the beast.  It worked.  So now Hercules goes around wearing the lion's head as a helmet and the skin draped down his back as armor.  It's quite impressive and pretty impressive to look at. Most times that is.

One of the better things about Disney's Hercules movie was having Scar be the Nemean Lion.
The lion can be seen still today, as it was immortalized in the constellation Leo.  The stars look more like a mouse than a lion and are pretty easily spotted if you are looking in the right direction.  That direction would be south in April (about 9:00).  Here's what you'll be looking for:

So, one down, nine to go!

See all of the Labors of Hercules Posts