The eleventh labor of Heracles was to fetch golden apples from the garden of the Hesperides
The Hesperides were four maids who lived in a sacred garden full of trees that bore golden apples. Those apples were so precious that they were given by Gaea, the mother earth, to Hera as a wedding gift. No one was allowed to cut the apples from he trees and for that reason, Hera had put Ladon in charge to guard the garden-a monstrous snake with hundred heads, which could speak with different voices.
On his way to the garden, Heracles passed Mount Caucasus, where he found the Titan Prometheus in chains and freed him. Gratefully, Prometheus told the hero that his brother, the Titan Atlas would show him the way to the garden. However, he strongly advised the hero to send the Titan himself to fetch the apples.
Heracles met the Titan Atlas in the depths of the west, carrying the sky on his shoulders, and decided to follow the advice of Prometheus: he agreed to take over the sky from the Titan as long as he would bring him the apples. But when Atlas returned with three golden apples in his hand, he refused to give them to Heracles, saying he would carry the apples to Eurystheas by himself. So Heracles fooled him by telling him to carry the sky for one last moment until he had prepared a pad for his head. Atlas agreed, placed the apples on the ground and took the sky back. At that instant, Heracles grasped the apples and disappeared.
Back in Mycenae, Heracles handed the apples over to Eurystheas, who returned the apples immediately. Then Heracles gave the apples to the wise goddess Athena, who brought them back to the garden, for it was unholy for them to be in any other place.
Did you know that the golden apples of the Hesperides were actually...oranges?