The 6th Labor: To slay the Stymphalion birds.


greek26_large.gif
Hercules shoots the birds

In the sixth labor, Hercules had to slay the horrible Stymphalian Birds.


Stymphalian Birds?

The Stymphalian Birds were man-eating creatures, with feet and claws of bronze, wings of brass, sharp metallic feathers they could launch at their victims, and highly toxic leavings. They had migrated to Lake Stymphalia in Arcadia, to escape a pack of wolves, and bred quickly. They destroyed local plants and fruit trees and terrorrised the local villiges. They were Ares pets, who is son of Zeus and Hera, and the god of war and bloodlust.

The Story

Hercules was in the forest around Lake Stymphalia, trying to find and kill the Stymphalion birds, and that way complete the 6th labor. The forest was very dense and dark, so Hercules couldn't see that well. Hephaestus, which is the god of blacksmiths, aided Hercules by giving him two huge bronze clappers. This great noise scared the birds into flight, which made it possible for Hercules to see them. Hercules quickly grabbed his slingshot and shot them down. The birds that didn’t die at Hercule’s hand, never returned to Greece, but flew to the island of Ares, where they rightley belonged.