Hercules & the Stag of Artemis
An Ancient Greek Myth for Kids
The 4th Labor of Hercules
The Stag of Artemis
His 4th labor was to capture the stag of Artemis.
There were many stags in the mountains. But this one was special. The stag of Artemis was known for its incredible beauty, its golden antlers, and its remarkable speed. It was not dangerous. It was just fast.
Hercules tried to catch the stag for a very long time without success. He had hoped to catch it without injuring it. But the stag was too fast for him. Finally, Hercules shot the stag with an arrow, being very careful to hit the stag in its leg, so the wound would heal. He tied the stag gently to a tree, and left the stag there, while he looked around for a witness who would agreed to swear to King Eury that the stag had been captured. Hercules intended to let the beautiful animal go free once he could prove he had captured it.
It took a while to find anyone who was willing to speak up to King Eury, or to any king for that matter. By the time Hercules returned, dragging his witness with him, he found the goddess Artemis standing next to the empty tree where Hercules had tied the stag. Artemis was furious when she heard that King Eury had sent Hercules after her favorite stag. But she was not furious with Hercules. She offered to be his witness. As she told Hercules, she was going to be speaking soon with King Eury anyway.