The Ceryneian Hind

Heracles’ third labour was to trap a magical wild deer, which lived in the mountains of Ceryneia to the west of Corinth. With bronze hooves and golden horns, this was the swiftest of all hinds, the only member of the herd that had escaped when Artemis harnessed its sisters to her chariot. But it was still sacred to the goddess, so Heracles dared not harm it.

The Ceryneian Hind Photo Gallery

To capture it became a test of stamina. For a year, Heracles chased the creature on a journey that took him north through Istria and Thrace to the Land of the Hyperboreans, where only the sun’s faint glint on the galloping deer’s golden horns reassured him he was still on the right track.

At last even the deer tired and, exhausted too, Heracles discovered it collapsed beneath a tree. Summoning his last reserves of energy, he threw a net around it, heaved it across his shoulders and began the long trek back to Tiryns. Reporting his arrival to the cowering Eurystheus, Heracles allowed the horned hind to run free. Sparks flew from its bronze hooves as it bounded off into the mountains.

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