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The Labors of Hercules - Labor IV - Part 1
Through the fourth Gate sprang Hercules, leaving behind the many gifts received and cumbered not himself in the swift chase which lay ahead. And from a distance the quarrelling maidens watched. Artemis, the fair, bending from out the moon and Diana, beauteous huntress of the woods of God, followed the movements of the doe and, when due cause arose, they each deluded Hercules, seeking to foil his efforts. He chased the doe from point to point and each with subtlety deceived him. And this they did, time and again.
Thus for the length of a full year, the son of man who is a son of God followed the doe from place to place, catching swift glimpses of its form, only to find that in the fastness of the deep [79] woods it had been lost. From hill to hill and wood to wood, he hunted it until close to a quiet pool, full-length upon the untrampled grass, he saw it sleeping, wearied with its flight.
With quiet step, outstretched hand and steadfast eye, he shot an arrow towards the doe and in its foot he wounded it. Exciting all the will of which he was possessed, he nearer drew and yet the doe moved not. Thus he drew close, and clasped the doe within his arms, close to his heart. And Artemis and fair Diana both looked on.
"The search is o'er", he chanted loud. "Into the northern darkness I was led, and found no doe. Into the deep dark woods I fought my way, but found no doe; and over dreary plains and arid wilderness and deserts wild, I struggled towards the doe, yet found it not. At each point reached, the maidens turned my steps, but still I did persist and now the doe is mine! the doe is mine!"
"Not so, O Hercules," came to his ears the voice of one who stands close to the great Presiding One within the Council Chamber of the Lord. "The doe belongs not to a son of man, e'en though a son of God. Carry the doe to yonder distant shrine, where dwell the sons of God and leave it there with them."
"Why so, O Teacher wise? The doe is mine; mine by long search and travel, and mine likewise because I hold the doe close to my heart."
"And are you not a son of God, although a son of man? And is the shrine not also your abode? And share you not the life of all who dwell therein? Bear to the shrine of God the sacred doe, and leave it there, O son of God."
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