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The Labors of Hercules - Labor V
From place to place passed Hercules, seeking the lion. He found the people of Nemea, hiding behind locked doors, save but a few who ventured forth because of need or desperation. They trod the highway in the light of day, yet full of fear. They greeted Hercules with joy at first, with questioning later, as they saw the manner of his travel; no arms, small knowledge of the ways of lions, and naught save a frail wooden club. "Where are your arms, O Hercules? Have you not fear? Why seek the lion without defence? Go find your weapons and your shield. The lion is fierce and strong, and numbers vast he has devoured. Why take this chance? Go seek your arms and panoply of strength." But silently, without response, the son of man, who was the son of God, went forth upon the Way, seeking the footstep of the lion and following its voice.
"The lion is where?" asked Hercules. "The lion is here," came the reply. "No, there," enjoined a voice of fear. "Not so", replied a third, "I heard its roar about the mountain wild this week." "And I, likewise, within this valley where we stand". And yet another said: "I saw its tracks upon a path I trod, so, Hercules, list to my voice and track him to his lair.

Thus Hercules pursued his way, afraid yet unafraid; alone, yet not alone, for on the trail he followed others stood, and followed him with hope and fearful tremblings. For days and several nights he searched the Way and listened for the lion's roar whilst the people of Nemea crouched down behind closed doors.
Suddenly he saw the lion. Upon the edge of a deep thicket of young trees it stood. Seeing an enemy draw near and one who seemed quite unafraid, the lion roared, and with his roar the young trees shook, the Nemeans fled and Hercules stood still. [98] Hercules grasped his bow and sheath of arrows and with sure hand and eye of skill planted an arrow in the shoulder of the lion. Straight to the mark it flew. Upon the ground the arrow fell and failed to pierce the shoulder of the lion. Again and yet again, he shot the lion until there rested not an arrow in his quiver. Then towards him came the lion, untouched, unscathed and fierce with rage, quite unafraid. Throwing his bow upon the ground, the son of man, who is a son of God, rushed with wild shouting towards the lion who stood upon the Way, blocking his path, amazed at prowess hitherto unmet. For Hercules came on. Suddenly the lion turned and rushed ahead of Hercules into a thicket on the rocky sides of the sharp mountain way.
And so the two went on. And suddenly, as he travelled on the Way, the lion disappeared and was no more seen or heard.
Hercules paused upon the Way and silent stood. He searched on every hand, grasping his trusty club, the weapon he himself had made, the gift that to himself he had bequeathed in days long past, his trusty club. On every hand he sought; on every way he passed, travelling from point to point upon the narrow way that ran athwart the mountain side. Suddenly, upon a cave he came and from the cave there came a lusty roar, a rumbling savage voice which seemed to bid him stay or lose his life. And Hercules stood still, shouting unto the people of the land: "The lion is here. Await the deed that I shall do." And Hercules, who is a son of man and yet a son of God, entered that cave and passed throughout its darkened length into the light of day and found no lion, only another opening in the cave that led into the light of day. And as he stood, he heard the lion behind him, not before.
"What shall I do?" said Hercules unto himself, "this cave has openings twain and as I enter one the lion passes out and enters by the one I left behind. What shall I do? Weapons avail me not. How kill this lion and save the people from its teeth? What shall I do?" [99]

And as he cast about for things to do and listened to the roaring of the lion, he saw some piles of wood and sticks lying in great profusion near his hand. Pulling them towards him, dragging with his might, he placed the piles of sticks and bundles of small twigs within the opening near at hand and piled them there, blocking the way into the light of day, both in and out, and shutting both himself and the fierce lion within the cave. Then turned and faced the lion.
With his two hands he grasped the lion, holding it close and choking it. Near was its breath and blasting in his face. Yet still he held its throat and choked the lion. Feebler and feebler grew the roars of hate and fear; weaker and weaker grew the enemy of man; lower and lower sank the lion, yet Hercules held on. And thus he killed the lion with his two hands, without his arms and through his own great strength.
He killed the lion and stripped its skin, shewing it to the people, without the entrance of the cave. "The lion is dead," they cried, "the lion is dead. We now can live and till our lands and sow the needed seeds and walk in peace together. The lion is dead and great is our deliverer, the son of man, who is a son of God, named Hercules."

Thus Hercules returned in triumph to the One Who sent him forth to test his strength, to serve and meet the need of those in dire distress. He laid the lion's skin beneath the feet of him who was the Teacher of his life, and gained permission to wear the skin in place of that already worn and used.
"The deed is done. The people now stand free. There is no fear. The lion is dead. With my own hands I strangled thus the lion and slaughtered it."
"Again, O Hercules, you slew a lion. Again you strangled him. The lion and serpents must be slain again and once again. Well done, my son, go rest in peace with those you have [100] released from fear. Labor the fifth is over and I go to tell the great Presiding One, who sitteth waiting in the Council Chamber of the Lord. Rest thou in peace."
And from the Council Chamber came the voice: I KNOW.

The Tibetan (Djwhal Khul)

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