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Olympian Gods » Hermes, the Messenger of the gods » Myths about Hermes

Hermes and the Cattle of Apollo

Hermes leading Apollo's cattle, ca 500 BC

Hermes was known to be a cunning trickster, stealing things from the other gods and hiding them in unbelievable locations!

The Journey

Back in the days when Hermes was still an infant, he once went out his cradle and started an adventure to Pieria, in Northern Greece. His aim was to steal the cattle from his half-brother Apollo.

Hermes discovered the herd very soon. One by one, he started pulling the hoofs out of the cows’ feet and re-attaching them in the reverse order. The same he did to his own sandals. Then he took the herd, which now seemed to be walking backwards and hid the herd inside a cave. Finally, he returned to his cave in Mount Cyllene in Arcadia.

The Painful Discovery

Apollo soon found out that his herd was missing and started searching all around. The traces he saw on his way were nothing but confusing and led the god to despair.
Of course, Apollo was the god of prophecy, so he soon found out the thief and went furiously to Mount Cyllene to find Hermes in his cave. Little Hermes was peacefully sleeping inside his cradle, but Apollo didn’t bother- he grabbed the infant and took him up to Mount Olympus to be judged by their master Zeus, the king of the gods.

The "Trial"

Before the eyes of Zeus, Hermes first denied everything, but in the end he had to confess. Zeus found the story quite amusing so he didn't punish Hermes, he only asked from him to return the herd. Regretful of what he had done, Hermes then offered Apollo his lyre as a present. The lyre was a musical instrument Hermes had created all by himself out of the shell of a tortoise.

To compensate Hermes for his kindness, Apollo returned the gesture by giving Hermes a golden rod to guide the herds. From that moment on, there was peace again in Mount Olympus and a strong friendship began between Hermes and Apollo.




Myths and Fables about Hermes

Hermes and the Cattle of Apollo
Hermes and the Cattle of Apollo
Hermes and the Crocus Flower
Hermes and the Crocus Flower
The Caduceus of Hermes
The Caduceus of Hermes