|Hercules and Antaeus (1690),|
by Gregorio de Ferrari
Wikipedia (public domain)
See Labor No. 10
Third of a series. Here are the first and second posts:
The Life of Hercules: Birth and Childhood
The Life of Hercules: The First Six Labors
It's also said that it was during this journey instead of in the cattle-raiding episode that Heracles encountered Antaeus.
I used elements of the golden-apple myth, but I twisted them around to my own purposes. The Quest of Is'a'pai'a of the Gwai'sho'zei (Water People) involves finding the Golden Fungus, which fills the role of the Golden Fleece (the termite planet has no mammals; furthermore fungus is a chief foodstuff of all Shshi, even the woodeaters). But the Golden Fungus can also stand for the Golden Apples; both are fruit of a type. And the fungus grows on the root of a primordial tree (the World Tree, in effect) and I set a Ladon-stand-in to guard it: Yak'roit'zei, the Coiling Guardian. It isn't a dragon and it doesn't have a hundred heads, but it's equally fierce and dangerous. Think ... giant centipede! Ki'shto'ba doesn't kill Yak'roit'zei, however, and the Golden Fungus proves elusive. To find out what does happen, you'll have to wait until v.4 is published.
I didn't include Atlas in my adaptation. It's just a little too incredible to conceive of Ki'shto'ba holding up the world!
12. The Capture of Cerberus. The very last Labor contains the requisite visit of the epic hero to the Underworld, the Place of the Dead. Heracles was charged to bring the dog Cerberus up from Tartarus. During this daunting task, Heracles met the dead hero Meleager, who agreed to allow Heracles to marry his sisten Deianeira. I mention this only because of the later repercussions in Heracles's life. Heracles had many adventures in the Underworld, but ultimately Hades permitted him to capture Cerberus if he could do it without using weapons. Here is a pertinent quotation from Robert Graves's Greek Myths (Section 134, The Twelfth Labor: The Capture of Cerberus):
"Heracles ... resolutely gripped him by the throat -- from which rose three heads, each maned with serpents. The barbed tail flew up to strike, but Heracles, protected by the lion pelt, did not relax his grip until Cerberus choked and yielded."
Again, I must remark that the termite planet doesn't have any mammals, so I had to make my Cerberus character a reptile. And Ki'shto'ba is great at wrestling. Furthermore, he doesn't need a lion pelt, since Shshi Warriors are protected by their own very thick chitin shell!
I'll have more to say about the journey into the Underworld in my next Hercules post. Meanwhile, here is my drawing of Ki'shto'ba contending with No'dai'dru'zei, the Monster of the Pit.
|Ki'shto'ba and Bu'gan'zei enter Mik Na'wei'tei'zi|
(Place of Holy No-Seeing, the Underworld)
Click for larger view