Retelling Myths: Heracles Bargains For Prometheus
Heracles Bargains For Prometheus
When Heracles, the Greek hero, bargained for Prometheus, the fire-giver.
Another scream of agony pierced the air.
As I climbed, the screams continued, echoing throughout the mountains.
Pausing for a moment, I sighed.
It was going to be a long and arduous climb.
Several days later, as I neared my destination, the screams started again.
Soon, I reached the source of the screams – the Titan Prometheus, chained to the mountain, screaming in agony as the eagle pecked into him and ate his liver again.
This was Prometheus's daily punishment, as decreed by Zeus, for the crime of bringing fire to us, humans.
I drew my bow, and fired an arrow – easily killing the eagle.
Breathing heavily, the Titan managed to speak to me, "Thank you, Heracles."
"But, what of your father, Zeus?" Prometheus continued, "He will-"
Thunder and lightning interrupted Prometheus.
Clouds began to form above us, and the almighty Zeus appeared above the clouds, towering over us.
"What is the meaning of this?!" Zeus's voice bellowed throughout the mountains.
Zeus looked down upon me, surprised, "Heracles? My son, why have you done this?"
I looked up at my father, and took a deep breath. Then, I proclaimed, "I am here on behalf on Chiron! He has sent me here to bargain for Prometheus's life – in exchange for his."
Incredulously, my father asked, "My half-brother wants to give up his immortality? Why?!"
"He is in great pain, suffering from the poisonous blood of the Hydra – for which there is no cure," I explained, "But, as he is immortal, he cannot die."
Thunder and lighting raged throughout the mountains as my father heard the news.
"Who?!" Zeus roared, "Who dared to attack Chiron?!"
"It... It was me," I admitted, the regret breaking into my voice, "There was an accident, and I had unknowingly pierced him with one of my poisoned arrows."
The thunder and lightning subsided, as my father's rage turned into sadness.
"Please, father," I said, "Chiron, the great teacher who mentored me, Achilles, Jason, Odysseus, and many more, deserves to die a hero's death – not some ignoble death caused by his student's foolish mistake!"
After a momentary pause, my father replied, "We shall see what we can do to ease Chiron's suffering, but Prometheus needs to be punished for his transgressions – others cannot be allowed to think that they can trick the gods with impunity!"
"Has he not been punished enough?" I argued, "Since the dawn of humanity, Prometheus has been chained here, having his regrown liver eaten daily. Surely, no one would make light of that punishment."
"And, although it was an act of great disrespect to you, father," I continued, "without the meat and fire that Prometheus had save for us, many of your beloved humans would not have come to be."
My father began to consider my words.
"Chiron is in too much pain, and can teach no more," I said, "He has decided to give his life to Prometheus, the fire-giver, as his last act."
"Please, father," I concluded, "honour his last, noble request."
Zeus, the king of the gods, looked at me and Prometheus.
After what seemed like an eternity, my father proclaimed his decision.
I looked up into the night sky.
And there it was – the new constellation, Centaurus.
My father had accepted Chiron's last request – Prometheus was freed, and my teacher had given up his immortality and his life.
To honour Chiron, my father saw fit to place him amongst the stars, as this new constellation.
With a sad smile, I gave those star a salute.
Then, with my teacher watching over me, I continued on my journey.
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