The Stables of Augeas.
  The Twelve Labours of Hercules  

,The Stables of Augeas.

The Stables of Augeas.

To cleanse the Augean Stables now he's sped,
Where thirty years three thousand Oxen fed;
The task for man too great. A river's course
He turn'd, & thro' the stables urged its force,
The tide resistless rolls, and in one day
The gather'd filth of years is swept away.

The fifth of the Twelve Labours set to Hercules was to clean the Augean stables in a single day. These stables housed the largest nunber of cattle and had never been cleaned. Hercules was assigned this task because, firstly, all the previous labours exalted Heracles in the eyes of the people and this one would surely degrade him; secondly, the amount of dirt and filth amassed in the uncleaned stables made the task surely impossible. However, Heracles succeeded by rerouting the rivers Alpheus and Peneus to wash out the filth.

Augeas was irate because he had promised Heracles one-tenth of his cattle if the job was finished in one day. He refused to honour the agreement, and Heracles killed him after having completed the tasks and gave his kingdom to Augeas' son, Phyleus, who had been exiled for supporting Heracles against his father.


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