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humor, will tell you exactly where the garden of the Hesperides lies."
“And if the giant happens not to be in the humor," remarked Hercules, balancing his club on the tip of his finger, “perhaps I shall find means to persuade him!” 5
Thanking the Old Man of the Sea, and begging his pardon for having squeezed him so roughly, the hero resumed his journey. Passing through the deserts of Africa, and going as fast as he could, he arrived at last on the shore of the great ocean. And here, unless he 10 could walk on the crest of the billows, it seemed as if his journey must needs be at an end.
Nothing was before him, save the foaming, dashing, measureless ocean. But, suddenly, as he looked towards the horizon, he saw something, a great way off, 15 which he had not seen the moment before. It gleamed very brightly, almost as you may have beheld the round, golden disk of the sun, when it rises or sets over the edge of the world. It evidently drew nearer; for, at every instant, this wonderful object became larger and 20 more lustrous. At length, it had come so nigh that Hercules discovered it to be an immsense cup or bowl, made either of gold or burnished brass. The waves tumbled it onward, until it grazed against the shore, within a short distance of the spot where Hercules was 25 standing
As soon as this happened, he knew what was to be
done; for he had not gone through so many remarkable adventures without learning pretty well how to conduct himself, whenever anything came to pass a little out of the common rule. It was just as clear as daylight that 5 this marvelous cup had been set adrift by some unseen power, and guided hitherward, in order to carry Hercules across the sea, on his way to the garden of the Hesperides. Accordingly, without a moment's delay,
he clambered over the brim, and slid down on the inside, 10 where, spreading out his lion's skin, he proceeded to take
a little repose. He had scarcely rested, until now, since he bade farewell to the damsels on the margin of the river. The waves dashed, with a pleasant and ringing sound, against the rim of the hollow cup; it rocked ,
; 15 lightly to and fro, and the motion was so soothing
that it speedily rocked Hercules into an agreeable slumber.
His nap had probably lasted a good while, when the cup chanced to graze a rock, and, in consequence, 20 immediately resounded through its golden or brazen
substance, a hundred times as loudly as ever you heard a church bell. The noise awoke Hercules, who instantly started up and gazed around him, wondering where
abouts he was. He was not long in discovering that the 25 cup had floated across a great part of the sea, and was
approaching the shore of what seemed to be an island. And, on that island, what do you think he saw ?
No; you will never guess it, not if you were to try fifty thousand times. It was a giant !
But such an intolerably big giant! A giant as tall as a mountain; so vast a giant that the clouds rested about his midst, like a girdle, and hung like a hoary 5 beard from his chin, and fitted before his huge eyes, so that he could neither see Hercules nor the golden cup in which he was voyaging. And, most wonderful of all,
. the giant held up his great hands and appeared to support the sky, which, so far as Hercules could discern 10 through the clouds, was resting upon his head !
Meanwhile, the bright cup continued to float onward, and finally touched the strand. Just then a breeze wafted away the clouds from before the giant's visage, and Hercules beheld it, with all its enormous features : 15 eyes each of them as big as yonder lake, a nose a mile long, and a mouth of the same width. It was a countenance terrible from its enormous size, but disconsolate and weary, even as you may see the faces of many people, nowadays, who are compelled to sustain burdens 20 above their strength.
Poor fellow! He had evidently stood there a long while. An ancient forest had been growing and decaying around his feet; and oak trees, six or seven centuries old, had sprung from the acorn, and forced 25 themselves between his toes.
The giant now looked down from the far height of his great eyes, and perceiving Hercules, roared out, in a voice that resembled thunder: “Who are you, down at my feet there? And whence do you come, in that little
5 cup ?”
“I am Hercuļes !” thundered back the hero, in a voice pretty nearly as loud as the giant's own. “And I am seeking for the garden of the Hesperides!”
"Ho! ho! ho !” roared the giant, in a fit of immense 10 laughter. “That is a wise adventure, truly!”
“And why not?” cried Hercules, getting a little angry at the giant's mirth. “Do you think I am afraid of the dragon with a hundred heads?”
Just at this time, while they were talking together, 15 some black clouds gathered about the giant's middle,
and burst into a tremendous storm of thunder and lightning, so that Hercules found it impossible to distinguish a word. Only the giant's immeasurable legs
were to be seen, standing up into the darkness of the 20 tempest; and, now and then, a momentary glimpse of
his whole figure, mantled in a volume of mist. He seemed to be speaking most of the time, but his big, deep, rough voice chimed in with the echoes of the
thunderclaps, and rolled away over the hills, like 25 them.
At last, the storm swept over, as suddenly as it had
And there again was the clear sky, and the weary giant holding it up, and the pleasant sunshine beaming over his vast height. So far above the shower had been his head, that not a hair of it was moiste ed 5 by the raindrops !
When the giant could see Hercules still standing on the seashore, he roared out to him anew. “I am Atlas, the mightiest giant in the world! And I hold the sky upon my head !”
“So I see,” answered Hercules. “But can you show me the way to the garden of the Hesperides?”
'What do you want there?” asked the giant.
“I want three of the golden apples,” shouted Hercules, "for my cousin, the king.” “
“There is nobody but myself,” quoth the giant, “that can go to the garden of the Hesperides and gather the golden apples. If it were not for this little business of holding up the sky, I would make half a dozen steps across the sea, and get them for you.”
“You are very kind,” replied Hercules. “And cannot you rest the sky upon a mountain ?”
“None of them are quite high enough,” said Atlas, shaking his head. “But if you were to take your stand on the summit of that nearest one, your head would be 25 pretty nearly on a level with mine. You seem to be a fellow of some strength. What if you should take my