You’ve heard of beasts with nine heads and monsters with six arms? Well GERYON went to the extreme. He had three whole bodies.
From the waist down he was just your average ugly giant running around on two incredibly butch legs. From the waist up, there were three of him. Three muscular torsos, three macho belly-buttons, three pairs of bulging biceps, and finally three insanely leering heads with wildly terrifying hair. We suspect he also had three sets of foul-mouthed tattoos.
The Labors of Heracles
Episode 10: The Cattle Of Geryon
Having delivered the Girdle of HIPPOLYTA to Mycenae, it was time for the last Labor. And, noted HERACLES with relief, this time it was back to the beasts. Much easier to deal with than warrior women.
So, GERYON was not only a giant but also acknowledged as the strongest man alive. (We don’t know who calculates these record-breaking statistics, but surely having three bodies is cheating?)
He lived on the island of Erytheia, beyond the Straits of Gibraltar — and practically halfway to the Edge of the World as far as HERACLES was concerned. And the mission this time was to steal GERYON’s famous herd of red cattle. In a surprising break from tradition, these had no nasty qualities whatsoever, but were guarded by Eurythion, a son of ARES, and ORTHRUS, a two-headed monster hound from the TYPHON and ECHIDNA production team.
Traveling to Erytheia was not so easy in those days, and HERACLES had many a warming-up adventure, including too much warming by Sun God HELIOS as he traveled the Libyan Desert. Our champion had to stick him with an arrow before they came to an agreement. Considering the circumstances, HELIOS was amazingly amicable and gave our Hero a huge golden bowl which was big enough to be used as a boat.
Floating in his bowl, eventually HERACLES reached his destination: Mount Abas. And in a flash it was over. Biff! One barking-barking monster dog done for. Splat! Eurythion out of the equation. Sploof! One arrow poisoned with HYDRA blood straight through the three bodies of GERYON.
Then HERA tried to intervene again. But Herc wasn’t having any of that and she went howling back to Heaven with an arrow in her right breast. Then it was a rip-roaring cattle drive with more adventures than you could spin a lariat at. ZEUS shouted "That’s my boy!" and gave a little aid when no-one was looking. HERA made one last attempt with her famous Gadfly, which was the size of a sparrow and had a vicious dagger-like sting. The terrified cattle dispersed in all directions and took a very long time to round up again.
But eventually HERACLES returned to Mycenae, ten labors down and triumphant. Phew! All missions accomplished and game over. Or was it?
Next Episode: The Apples Of The HESPERIDES...