Greek Myths 4 Kids Presents: CASE FILES
FROM THE HERCULES DETECTIVE AGENCY
CASE FILE: The Island of the Sirens
No Problem Too Large or Too Small, Reasonable Fees
Proprietor Hercules (Roman name), also known as Heracles (Greek name), also known as Herc (Nickname)
Hercules was taking his afternoon nap, drowsing away.
In his sleep, he heard a lovely woman's voice crying, "Hercules, we need your help."
It woke him up. He looked around, expecting to see a young woman standing in his courtyard in need of his help. But no one was there. Not even the Minotaur, who was off on one of his walks through the woods. "It felt so real," Hercules laughed at himself. "But it was just a dream."
Hercules shook off the weird feeling that lingered, and went about his business. Late afternoon turned out to be quite busy with two small jobs that he quickly accomplished. One was a case for the Hercules Detective Agency. His price for that one was one warm blanket. He did not really need another blanket, but blankets were always welcome as winter approached. The other was a no-charge case. His Aunt Hestia, the goddess of hearth and home, needed his help moving three large boulders out of her way. It was the work of a moment for Hercules, who was the strongest man in the world, well, half man, half god.
"What do you want me to do with the boulders, Aunt Hestia?" he asked his aunt.
"Anything. Just take them away. Thank you, Hercules."
Having nothing better to do with them, Hercules hauled the boulders home and tucked just inside the forest. Things, Hercules knew, had a way of coming in handy.
That night, while he was sleeping, he dreamed again. In his dream, a lovely young woman spoke to him.
"Hercules, we need your help. Get into your boat and follow the dolphins. They will bring you to us," the dream voice told him ever so gently.
When Hercules woke the next morning he told his friend the Minatour about his dreams.
"Herc! This is a message from the gods. You should know that."
"If any of the gods had a message for me, they would send Hermes or come themselves. Remember, I am half a god, and the son of Zeus. Most of the gods are my family. The rest mostly treat me like family. They are always asking me to do stuff, and they never ask me in my dreams. No, it's just odd. Follow the dolphins?" Hercules sort of laughed. "Weird."
That night, after another strenuous day working on a case for the Hercules Detective Agency, this time to earn fresh vegetables, always a welcome form of payment, and after Hercules fell asleep, he had the same dream.
When Hercules told his tale to the Minatour the next morning, the Minotaur again insisted it was a message from the gods and that Hercules needed to follow up. Since Hercules did not have any cases to solve that day for the HUD (the Hercules Detective Agency, as he had begun to call it,) Hercules figured he would check it out. Not that he planned on admitting it. It was ridiculous. Follow the dolphins? Nonsense.
"I'm going to take the boat out, and do a little fishing," Hercules told his good friend, the Minotaur. "Want to come?"
"Absolutely not. Nobody sent me a message. But I'm glad you're checking it out."
"I'm going fishing," Hercules stated in a most positive way. Sometimes when Hercules took his boat out, he was searching for treasure, for the fun of it. But today, according to Hercules, he was just going fishing, just fishing.
"Good," nodded the Minotaur. "If you catch some, I'll cook them for supper along with some of the wonderful vegetables you brought home yesterday."
"There might be some dolphins around. You never know," Hercules mused, talking to himself.
"Exactly," agreed the Minotaur in an encouragingly sort of way.
The Minotaur carefully avoided looking at the fishing rods propped up against the courtyard wall as Hercules left through the courtyard gates, carrying nothing.
Hercules headed for his boat. He sailed out. Almost immediately, dolphins surrounded his boat and nudged it so it faced out to sea.
"I guess I will follow where the dolphins go," Hercules decided, curious now.
The dolphins led him to what appeared to be a small deserted island, which was not deserted after all. A young woman stepped out from behind some thick bushes. As he sailed closer, Hercules recognized her. It was the woman of his dreams. She began to sing.
Hercules gasped. It was one of the Sirens! Hercules quickly stuffed cloth into his ears so that the Siren song would be distorted and not affect him. He tried to turn his boat around, but the dolphins would not let him. They shoved his boat into the shallows.
"Hercules," the Siren greeted him happily. "You got my message! My sisters and I need your help. We are tired of singing and luring sailors to crash on the rocks. We want to leave, but we don't know how. As boats pass by our island, it is as if we have no choice. When we see them, we begin to sing. We are so sad when the boats turn our way. We know they are going to crash on the rocks, and we do not want that to happen, but we cannot stop them from crashing. We cannot stop ourselves from singing. We want it to stop, Hercules. Can you help us?"
Hercules knew the tale of the Sirens. The legend stated that if anyone heard them singing and managed to escape their lure, then the Sirens would throw themselves into the sea. But if they did NOT manage to escape, their fate was sealed. Their ship would crash on the rocks and they would drown.
"Do not worry, Hercules. My song cannot touch you. You are not a man. You are half a god, and that's all you need to be safe from our song. In fact, I'm not even singing anymore. If you were a man, you would be dead by now, drowned in the sea, as so many have. We don't know why we are the way we are, but we need your help to put a stop to it."
Hercules was quite suspicious. The Sirens had been luring sailors to their death for many years, perhaps even centuries. Why now were they seeking help? Since Hercules had no answer to that question, he simply asked.
"Because we are tired, Hercules. We never wanted to hurt people. But it seemed to be our fate. What we are asking is your help to change our fate, to free us and save others." She noticed the cloth stuffed in his ears. "Hercules," she giggled. "That cloth would not have protected you. I can sing right though it. But you are not a man. You are a god, half a god, I know, but you are safe from us." Her face became serious again. "Others are not so lucky. Please help us."
"I have to think about this," Hercules told her. "Do not send me any more dreams. I will truly try to find a way to help you."
Hercules left the Siren on the shore, looking after him hopelessly, as he sailed safely away.
He was almost home when he had an idea. Actually, he had done this before, when he convinced the people of Crete that the Minotaur was dead. But he wasn't dead. To the people of Crete, who were watching from the shore, it looked as if the Minotaur had drowned in the sea. Actually, the Minotaur climbed safely aboard his boat, and soon after made his home directly behind Hercule's hut. Ever since, they had shared a courtyard, many adventures, and a true friendship. The Minotaur had become one of his best friends, perhaps even the best. So he had a very good idea about how to fix the problem.
Hercules contacted Jason, who was organizing an expedition to find the golden fleece.
"Jason," Hercules said. "I'm going to make a rather odd request, but it is very important."
"Anything for you, Herc. What do you need?"
"I need you to sail near the Island of the Sirens. You can prepare and make sure you bring Orpheus. He is half god, half man, and the Sirens' song cannot touch him. His music is actually more enchanting than the sirens' song, and with him singing you will never hear the sirens, so you too, and your men will be safe from their song."
"I would do just about anything for you, Herc. But I can't risk my men."
"They will be salfe. I give you my word. Besides, you can wear ear plugs. That, combined with Orpheus' music, will bring you safely past them. You don't even need the ear plugs, but your men might feel safer."
Jason stared at Hercules. "What are you up to?"
"I can't tell you. But I can say that you will safely pass them. I give you my word. If you bring Orpheus and wear ear plugs for extra safely, you will pass them. You will be doing all of Greece a great favor."
"You're going to kill them, aren't you?" Jason said excitely. "If anyone can do it, you can."
"I can't tell you, Jason. Will you do it? For me? For Greece? For all the sailors you would be saving in years to come?"
"When you put it like that, it's hard to refuse. Okay. I will put my trust in one of Greece's greatest heroes."
"Here's my plan," Hercules told him. "Timing is everything, so listen carefully."
Soon after, Jason and his argonauts sailed by the island of the sirens, just as planned, right on time. The men were all wearing ear plugs. They had been wearing them since early that morning just in case. As the sirens started their song, Orpheus - half god and half man - started his own song to counter theirs. It was magical.
Everything went according to plan.
Jason and the argonauts sailed right on by the island of the sirens.
Hercules was waiting on the far side of the island. As the sirens slipped into Hercules boat, Hercules tossed three very large bolders into the sea, making it appear that the Sirens had jumped to their deaths.
A huge cheer went up in the distance from Jason and his argonauts. The Sirens were dead! The boulders proved it. It was just as the legend had said. They felt very bold. They felt as if they could do just about anything, which was lucky really, as they had quite a job in front them in search of the golden fleece. Still cheering, their boat safely disappeared from sight.
Hercules sailed the Sirens to a place he had gone to before, the far coast of Crete. Nobody ever went there. Not the people of Crete anyway. No one sailed past that end of the island. The king of Crete had forbidden anyone to go near that end of the island, not by land and not by sea. Knowing that, Hercules had safely settled a very nice family of cave monsters at that end of the island of Crete. He figured that the sirens would fit right in. Their songs would not affect the monsters since they weren’t men, but they would be entertaining to the little ones. They did so love to dance. And the monsters would be able to protect the sirens from any other dangers that they might run in to.
"By allowing the Sirens to share your home, you have paid your debt to me," Hercules told the father of the monster clan.
"We can never repay our debt, Hercules. We owe you so much," he said, smiling at the antics of his children. "We are glad to help. I think the girls will fit right in."
"They aren't actually girls, you know," Hercules told him.
"I agree," laughed the father. "They're babysitters! Who, just like us, needed to find a safe home. They're a treasure, Hercules. The children will love them!"
Hercules realized as he headed home that he had once again found treasure, the treasure of friendship. He had found it more than once, in the most unusual places. And that was not a dream.
Hercules did not write up this case as he usually did. He wanted no record on file. He owed Jason a huge favor, one he would be sure to pay one day. No, no record. But certainly an interesting tale to share with his good friend, the Minotaur, over a supper of, you guessed it - fresh fish! Hercules had not caught the fish. The monsters had, and they had been glad to share some of their catch with their good friend, the mighty Hercules.