In the Greek Mythology, the Ceryneian Hind was an enormous female deer that was believed to have lived in the region of Keryneia. Based on various Greek tales, the Ceryneian Hind was considered sacred and was associated with the hunt goddess Artemis. A careful review of the Ceryneian Hind reveals that although the mythical creature was female, it had antlers that were male-like moulded from gold while its hooves were bronze. The Ceryneian hind was often referred to as the ‘golden Hind’ because of its golden antlers. According to the Greek mythology, the creature had the ability to outdo a flying arrow.
In the Greek mythology ‘Labors of Heracles,’ King Eurystheus’ third task to Heracles was to capture the Ceryneian Hind. The king believed that the creature was too fast to be captured by the hero demigod. He also reasoned that the hero’s success in capturing the sacred creature would anger goddess Artemis greatly, and her wrath would lead to the demigod’s death. The king wanted Heracles to face the wrath of Artemis if he could capture the Hind since it was a sacred creature. Contrary to the king’s belief, Heracles went after the Hind for a whole year from one land to another within and outside Greece trying to capture it before finally succeeding.
The Greek mythology about the Ceryneian Hind offers different explanations on how Heracles managed to capture the creature. The first explanation is that Heracles used a trap to capture the Hind at night. Another tale claims that Heracles did not capture the Hind; instead, Artemis appeared to him while he was in the process of capturing it and commanded him to go back and inform King Eurystheus that he had met with the Artemis. After the demigod’s encounter with the goddess, the task was considered completed.
Another myth about how Heracles captured the Hind claims that he used an arrow to capture it. The tale claims that the demigod aimed the arrow between the creature’s legs. After capturing the Hind, Heracles met Artemis and his twin sibling Apollo on his way back to the Eurystheus. Heracles acknowledged that it was a mistake to capture the creature and sought forgiveness from the goddess by explaining that Eurystheus had forced him to do it. Goddess Artemis, however, gave Heracles one condition before accepting his apology; he was to set the creature free.
Heracles accepted the condition without hesitation. He came up with a plan to set the Hind free after realizing that Eurystheus was planning to make it part of his menagerie. He requested Eurystheus to pick the animal himself but intentionally left it loose when the king was approaching. Since the Hind was an exceptionally fast animal, Heracles was certain that recapturing it would be difficult. When asked why he let the Hind escape, Heracles said that Eurystheus was not quick enough to get hold of it. Eurystheus became angry and gave Heracles a task to capture the Erymanthian Boar.
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