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Greek Gods» Hermes» Myths about Hermes » Hermes and the Cattle of Apollo

Page last updated on: March 26th, 2021

Hermes and the Cattle of Apollo

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

The Journey

Back when Hermes was just a toddler, he once left his cradle and set out on an adventurous journey to Pieria, in Northern Greece. His goal was to steal the cattle of his half-brother Apollo.

Hermes very soon discovered the herd. One by one he began to pull the hooves from the cows' feet and reattach them in reverse order. He did the same with his own sandals. Then he took the herd, which now seemed to be going backwards, and hid them in a cave. Finally he returned to his cave in Mount Cyllene in Arcadia.

The Painful Discovery

Apollo soon discovered that his flock was missing and began to search the surrounding area. The tracks he saw along the way were only confusing and caused the god to despair.

Of course, Apollo was the god of prophecy, so he soon found out about the thief and furiously went to Mount Cyllene find Hermes in his cave. Little Hermes was sleeping peacefully in his cradle, but Apollo didn't care - he grabbed the infant and took him to Mount Olympus, to be judged by their master Zeus, the king of the gods.

The "Trial"

In front of Zeus, Hermes initially denied everything, but in the end he had to confess. Zeus found the storey quite amusing, so he did not punish Hermes, but only required him to return the flock. Hermes regretted what he had done and offered Apollo his lyre as a gift. The lyre was a musical instrument that Hermes had created all by himself from the shell of a turtle.

To repay Hermes for his kindness, Apollo returned the gesture by giving Hermes a golden staff to guide the flocks. From that moment on, peace reigned once again at Mount Olympus and a strong friendship began between Hermes and Apollo.

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