Greek Myths 4 Kids Presents: CASE FILES
FROM THE HERCULES DETECTIVE AGENCY
CASE FILE: The Talking Tools
No Problem Too Large or Too Small, Reasonable Fees
Proprietor Hercules (Roman name), also known as Heracles (Greek name), also known as Herc (Nickname)
When Hercules woke up this morning, he certainly did not expect to see the goddess of love, Aphrodite, at his door. He did not expect to see anyone at his door as no one had knocked. He was still in his pajamas when he went outside to breathe some fresh air. He jumped backwards at the sight of her.
"Aphrodite?" Herc asked the goddess of love, as if not quite sure what he was seeing.
"Hi, Herc," she said with her mysterious smile. She grinned. "I like your pj's. Stars in the heavens. Going somewhere?"
"Very funny. Wait a minute. I'll get dressed." Hercules crawled back into bed, quite certain he was dreaming. Hours later, after he washed and shaved and dressed and ate a huge breakfast, he decided to see what his good friend, Tor (the Minotaur), was up to this morning. Maybe he'd want to go fishing. It was one of their favorite things to do. Herc opened his door and stopped with a jerk. The goddess was still waiting outside his door. Her smile had disappeared entirely. Her mood had grown quite dark.
"I am not used to men making me wait, Hercules," she said rather disdainfully. "However, since it's important, I made an exception, just this once."
Herc pasted on his very best smile. "Do you want to come in?" Herc invited.
The goddess peered through the open doorway into his extremely messy hut. "No," she said shortly. "I need to hire you." Her forehead furrowed. "My husband says he's lonely. That may be true but what am I supposed to do about it? Hephaestus cannot expect me to hang around the house all day. Besides, he spends all his time in his workshop building who knows what. I need you to drop whatever you're working on, if anything, and fix this now."
"Aphrodite, I'd love to help, but ...."
"Let me put it another way," she interrupted sweetly. "If you do not fix this, I will send my son, Eros, to shoot you with one of his magic arrows when you least expect it, while you are staring at someone truly grotesque, and you will fall in love immediately." Aphrodite grinned rather wickedly. "I believe Poseidon's wife is trying to get you to marry one of her daughters. I know she would be happy to send her daughters to stand suddenly in front of you, while Eros shoots you with his arrow. You will fall in love with whichever daughter you see first, and live happily ever after at the bottom of the sea. Or, of course, you could help me. It's up to you."
"I get paid for my services," Hercules told her abruptly, hoping that would discourage her.
"I am not going to pay you, Hercules," she said gently. "People do what I ask them to do because they want to. I suggest you do this for me. Soon," she added and disappeared.
"Is this a bad time?" a timid voice asked.
Herc spun to one side. "What now?" Herc snapped, his voice oddly dismissive. Usually he loved a new case. After all, The Hercules Detective Agency had been founded to help the Greek people. But today was not a normal day.
"I will pay you, Hercules. I too need your help." The small man shrugged at the surprise in Herc's face. "I did not mean to eavesdrop. But if you're busy, I'll come back another time."
"No, no, come in. I'm sorry. That woman makes me crazy."
"You don't know crazy," the little man said. "I'll tell you crazy. I am a boat builder. I build nearly all the boats for the gods. One god thanked me recently by giving my tools the ability to talk. To only me. They will not talk if anyone else is around. I need to track down the god who did this, or find a way around this spell. My hammer yells "ouch" every time I hit something with it. My saw likes to make loud ZZZZZ sounds. My chisel is lonely and wants me to get another chisel to keep him company. They're driving me crazy! Please, Hercules. Please make this spell go away."
"Do you know which god did this to your tools?"
"No. The gods always order boats in disguise."
"This shouldn't be too hard," Herc lied. "Let me think about it."
"I'll pay you with a boat, Herc. Everyone can always use a boat. I make the finest ones. Ask any god. I make better boats than even Hephaestus!"
"Hephaestus," Herc echoed.
"You know. Aphrodite's husband."
"Yes, I know. Leave this to me. I have an idea." Actually, Herc's idea was two-fold. He knew his good friend Dionysus had recently gained a boat. In fact, Herc had already borrowed it to take a spin around the Ionian Sea. It sounded just like Dionysus, who meant well most of the time, to give a gift that caused nothing but trouble. But he did not want Dionysus to change his gift, even if he could. Herc had other plans for it.
Herc put on his warmest jacket, and headed for the very top of Mount Olympus, home of the great builder, the god Hephaestus. Aphrodite was right about one thing. Hephaestus spent most of his time in his workshop. He had built all the palaces on Mount Olympus. He was always building something.
"Hey, Herc," Hephaestus said with a smile when he saw Herc. "It's been a while."
"I need a favor," Herc started.
"From me?" blinked the great builder.
Herc told him all about the talking tools.
"You want me to swap tools? With a human?" His round innocent face had shock written across it.
"These tools should not belong to a human. They need to belong to a god, someone who can talk to them and keep them company. They're lonely, Hephaestus. They need you."
Hephaestus paused to consider. "I've never heard of such a thing."
"I've never had such a case. Will you do it?"
Hephaestus looked a bit leery, a bit bashful, and a bit excited all at once. "I will," he blurted suddenly. "I will," he repeated more strongly. "Oh my!"
That's exactly what happened. Herc brought the noisy group of tools to Hephaestus on Mount Olympus. They all chattered at once, thrilled to meet the great god, Hephaestus, and help him with his work. They were eager to begin building great things together. In fact it was together that they created Pandora. But that's another story. Herc delivered a matching set of tools from Hephaestus to the boat builder, who was most grateful.
"You're a wonder, Hercules," he proclaimed loudly. "A wonder, that's what you are." The boat builder made Hercules his very own boat. It was a small boat, more like a rowboat, with one small sail. But it was enough to take Herc and his good friend, the Minotaur, out fishing in deeper water whenever they wished.
Quite pleased with himself, Hercules thought about naming this case The Case of the Boat Builder and the Talking Tools, but decided that name was too long. He named it at last, simply, "The Case of the Talking Tools." Herc filed it away with other case files of the Hercules Detective Agency.