We are near the home stretch as we come across the second to last task that Heracles would have to face to gain penance for the murder of his family. This, along with the next task, would be among the hardest challenges that he would have to overcome. Eurystheus requested to Heracles to give him the golden apples of Hesperides, the immaculate garden where Atlas burdened the heavens on his shoulders.
Hot Naked Chick: I suppose nothing hurts you Heracles: Only pain.
But like the tenth quest, he had no idea where the garden of the Hesperides was located. So he had to catch the Old Man of the Sea, otherwise known as Nereus. Now you'd think catching would be easy, right?
You see Nereus was not only a sea god, but a damn good shapeshifter. If you tried grabbing a hold of him, he would turn into anything to escape. So when Heracles grabbed by the old man's throat, he changed into so many things that a person on Deviant Art could spend a lifetime just drawing the transformations that Nereus went through.
I got this half man/ half serpent thing by the horns or in this case throat!
So after holding on for so long, Nereus gave up and told Heracles the location of the garden. In that mountain chain in northwestern Africa (I wonder what it is called today?) resided the daughters of the Titan Atlas, who was forced to bear the heavens as punishment for his aiding of Cronus during the Titanomachy, as they tended the tree that bore the golden apples of Hesperides which was guarded by the dragon Ladon (figures). So Heracles got in the Heracles' mobile and journeyed to Libya where he would face a giant wrestler.
So there was this giant named Antaeus, he was the son of Poseidon and Gaea (eww). He lived in the middle of the desert where he would challenge anyone to fight him, (whoa, it's Angry Joe's long lost great x 10 father!). What the opponents did not know when fighting the giant is that he could not be injured as long as he touched the ground, because his mother, the Earth, would heal him anytime he touched her. So after killing all those he fought, he went all Predator on their corpses and ripped the skulls to make an ENTIRE Temple to his father out of the skulls of the defeated. Call me a sick and morbid person, but that sounds epic and all kinds of badass. So what happened when our burly hero faced off against the skull crusher? Why he punched him to the ground of course, but every time he did so, Antaeus would rise back better than ever. Realizing this, Heracles used that gray squishy thingy in his noggin and lifted Antaeus in the air and bear-hugged him Ala Bruno Sammartino until the giant was a corpse. And they say wrestling cannot be entertaining.
How is it that I am standing here on Earth, while holding up the Earth? It makes no sense.
Finally, in the middle of the Atlas Mountains in Algeria, Heracles found the garden of Hesperides and saw a scene similar to this.
Freud would have a field day with this.
Seeing the hot chicks with the dragon, Heracles reminded himself that he could not take the apples since only an immortal could. (he was told by this by Prometheus, but that is another for another time.) And so he had to ask the only immortal who would be willing, Atlas. Heracles offered the burdened titan to hold the heavens up for a bit if he was willing to take a few of the golden apples off the tree. Atlas agreed and Heracles replaced him as Atlas picked the apples off the tree, but after he had done this Atlas did not feel to hold his end of the bargain. Having expected this, Heracles merely requested that Atlas hold the heavens for so that Heracles could get his cloak adjusted. As soon as Atlas grabbed hold of the heavens, Heracles took the Apples and ran off, not before slaying Ladon and sleeping with every daughter of Atlas before he ran off back to Eurystheus.
Did you see how I totally tricked your weak old man and killed your pet?
And so concludes the eleventh task of Heracles, stay tuned as Heracles gets ready to complete his final task!
Oh phooey, fooled again!
Antaeus vs Heracles image belongs to http://dfbovey.deviantart.com/