The death of Hercules and his acceptance into the host of the Olympian gods
When Hercules for the murder of Ifitawas sold into slavery Omfale, Deyanira with children had to leave Tiryns. The wife of Hercules was given shelter by the king of the Thessalian city of Trachina Keik. It has been three years and three months since Hercules left Deianira. The wife of Hercules was worried about the fate of her husband. There was no news from Hercules. Deyanira didn't even know if her husband was still alive. Heavy forebodings tormented Deyanira. She called her son Gill and told him:
- Oh, my beloved son! It's a shame you're not looking for your father. It's been fifteen months since he hasn't let anyone know about him.
- If you can only believe the rumors, - Gill replied to his mother, - then they say that after his father had been a slave for Omphala for three years, when his term of slavery ended, he went with an army to Euboea to the city of Oichalia to take revenge on the king Eurita for the insult.
- My son! - interrupted Gilla's mother, - your father Hercules has never left me before, leaving for great feats, in such anxiety as the last time. He even left me a sign with an old prediction written on it, given to him in Dodone. It says there that if Hercules stays in a foreign land for three years and three months, then either his death has befallen him, or when he returns home, he will lead a joyful and peaceful life. When leaving me, Hercules also left me an order that his children should inherit from the lands of his fathers in the event of his death. I am worried about my husband's fate. After all, he told me about the siege of Oikhalia that he would either die under the city, or, having taken it, he would live happily. No, my son, go, I pray you, find your father.
Gill, obedient to his mother's will, went on a long journey to Euboea, to Oichalia, to look for his father.
After a while, after Gill left Trachina, the messenger resorted to the Deed. He informs her that an ambassador Likhas is coming from Hercules. Likhas will bring good news. Hercules is alive. He defeated Eurytus, took and destroyed the city of Oichalia and will soon return to Trachina in the glory of victory. After the messenger comes to Deyanira and Likhas. He leads the prisoners, and among them Iolu, daughter of Eurita. Joyfully meets Deyanir Lihas. The ambassador of Hercules tells her that Hercules is still powerful and healthy. He is going to celebrate his victory and is preparing to make rich sacrifices before he leaves Euboea. Deyanira looks at the prisoners; noticing a beautiful woman among them, she asks Likhas:
- Tell me, Lihas, who is this woman? Who are her father and mother? She grieves the most. Isn't this the daughter of Eurytus himself?
But Likhas answers the wife of Hercules:
- I don't know, the queen, who she is. Probably, this woman belongs to a noble Euboean family. She didn't say a word during the journey. She has been shedding tears of sorrow ever since she left her hometown.
- Unhappy! - exclaimed Deyanira, - I will not add to this grief any new suffering for you! Lead the prisoners to the palace, Likhas, I'll come right after you!
Likhas went with the prisoners to the palace. As soon as he left, a servant approached Deyanira and said to her:
- Wait, queen, listen to me. Lihas didn't tell you the whole truth. He knows who this woman is; she is Eurytus' daughter, Iola. Out of love for her, Hercules once competed with Eurytus in archery. The proud tsar did not give him, the victor, his daughter as a wife, as he promised - insulting, he drove the great hero out of the city. For the sake of Iola, Hercules now took Oichalia and killed King Eurytus. Iola was not sent here as a slave by the son of Zeus - he wants to marry her.
Deyanira was saddened. She reproaches Lihas for hiding the truth from her, Lihas confesses that indeed Hercules, captivated by the beauty of Iola, wants to marry her. Deyanira is grieving. Hercules forgot her during a long separation. Now he loves someone else. What should she do, unhappy? She loves the great son of Zeus and cannot give him to another. The grief-stricken Deyanira recalls the blood that the centaur Ness once gave her, and what he said to her before he died. Deyanira decides to resort to centaur blood. After all, he told her: "Rub my blood on the clothes of Hercules, and he will love you forever, no woman will be dearer to him than you." Deyanira is afraid to resort to a magic remedy, but her love for Hercules and the fear of losing him finally overcome her fears. She takes out the blood of Nessus, which she has kept in a vessel for so long, so that a ray of sunlight does not fall on her, so that the fire in the hearth does not warm her. Deyanira rubs her luxurious cloak, which she wove as a gift to Hercules, puts it in a tightly closed drawer, calls Lihas and tells him:
- Hurry, Likhas, to Euboea and take this box to Hercules. There's a raincoat in it. Let Hercules wear this cloak when he makes a sacrifice to Zeus. Tell him that no mortal should put on this cloak except him, so that not even a ray of bright Helios touches the cloak before he puts it on. Hurry up, Likhas!
Likhas left, with a raincoat. After his departure, Deyanira was seized with anxiety. She went to the palace and, to her horror, sees that the wool with which she rubbed the cloak with the blood of Nessus has decayed. Deyanira threw this wool on the floor. A ray of sunlight fell on the wool and warmed the blood of the centaur poisoned by the poison of the Lernaean hydra. Along with the blood, the hydra's poison heated up and turned the wool into ashes, and a poisonous foam appeared on the floor where the wool lay. Deianira was horrified; she is afraid that Hercules will die wearing a poisoned cloak. The premonition of irreparable misfortune torments the wife of Hercules more and more.
A little time has passed since Lihas left for Euboea with a poisoned cloak. Gill, who has returned to Trachina, enters the palace. He is pale, his eyes are full of tears. Looking at his mother, he exclaims:
- Oh, how I would like to see one of three things: either that you were not alive, or that another called you mother, and not me, or that you had a better mind than now! Know that you have ruined your own husband, my father!
- Oh woe! Deyanira exclaimed in horror. - What are you saying, my son? Which of the people told you that? How can you accuse me of such a crime!
- I saw my father's suffering myself, I didn't learn it from people!Gill tells his mother what happened on Mount Caneion, near the city of Oichalia: Hercules, having erected an altar, was already preparing to offer sacrifices to the gods and, above all, to his father Zeus, when Likhas came with a cloak. The son of Zeus put on a cloak - a gift from his wife - and began the sacrifice. Before he sacrificed twelve selected bulls to Zeus, in total the hero sacrificed a hundred victims to the Olympian gods. The flames on the altars flared up brightly. Hercules stood, reverently raising his hands to the sky, and called upon the gods. The fire burning hotly on the altars warmed the body of Hercules, and sweat broke out on the body. Suddenly, a poisoned cloak stuck to the hero's body. Convulsions ran through the body of Hercules. He felt terrible pain. Suffering terribly, the hero called Lihas and asked him why he brought this cloak. What could the innocent Likhas answer him? He could only say that Deyanira had sent him with the cloak. Hercules, unaware of anything from the terrible pain, grabbed Lihas by the leg and hit him against a rock, around which the sea waves were roaring. Likhas crashed to death. Hercules fell to the ground. He was struggling in unspeakable agony. His cry carried far across Euboea. Hercules cursed his marriage with Deianira. The great hero called his son and with a heavy groan said to him:
- Oh, my son, do not leave me in misfortune - even if death threatens you, do not leave me! Lift me up! Take me away from here! Take me to a place where no mortal would see me. Oh, if you feel compassion for me, don't let me die here!
They lifted Hercules, put him on a stretcher, carried him to the ship to transport him to Trachina. That 's what Gill told his mother and ended the story with these words:
- Now you will all see the great son of Zeus here, maybe still alive, or maybe already dead. Oh, may the harsh ones punish you, mother Erinii and the avenger Dike! You have ruined the best man the earth has ever borne! You will never see such a hero!
She silently went to Deyanir's palace without saying a single word. There, in the palace, she grabbed a double-edged sword. The old nurse saw Deyanira. She's calling Gill rather. Gill hurries to her mother, but she has already pierced her chest with a sword. With a loud cry, the unfortunate son rushed to his mother, he hugs her and covers her cold body with kisses.
At this time, the dying Hercules is brought to the palace. He fell asleep during the journey, but when the stretcher was lowered to the ground at the entrance to the palace, Hercules woke up. The great hero was unaware of anything from the terrible pain.
- Oh, great Zeus! "What country am I in?" he exclaims. Oh, where are you, men of Greece? Help me! For your sake, I have cleansed the earth and the sea of monsters and evil, but now none of you wants to save me from severe suffering with fire or a sharp sword! Oh, you, brother of Zeus, the great Hades, put me to sleep, put me to sleep, unhappy, put me to sleep with a fleeting death!
- Father, listen to me, I beg you, - Gill asks with tears, - the mother unwittingly committed this crime. Why do you want revenge? When she found out that she herself was the cause of your death, she pierced her heart with the edge of a sword!
- Oh, gods, she died, and I couldn't take revenge on her! It was not by my hand that the insidious Deyanira died!
- Father, it's not her fault! "When my mother saw Iola, the daughter of Eurytus, in her house, she wanted to magically return your love. She rubbed her cloak with the blood of the centaur Nessus, who was killed by your arrow, not knowing that this blood was poisoned by the poison of the Lernaean hydra.
- Oh, woe, woe! - So that's how the prediction of my father Zeus was fulfilled! He told me that I would not die by the hand of a living one, that I was destined to perish from the machinations of Hades who descended into the gloomy kingdom. That's how Nessus, who was smitten by me, ruined me! So that's what the oracle promised me in Dodona - the peace of death! Yes, it's true- the dead have no worries! Do my last wish, Gill! Take me with my loyal friends to the high This, put a funeral pyre on top of it, put me on the pyre and set it on fire. Do it quickly, stop my suffering!
- Oh, have mercy, Father, are you really forcing me to be your murderer! Gill pleads with her father.
- No, you will not be a murderer, but a healer of my suffering! I still have a wish, fulfill it! - Hercules asks his son. - take Eurytus' daughter, Iola, as your wife.
But Gill refuses to fulfill his father 's request and says:
- No, father, I cannot marry the one who was responsible for the death of my mother!
- Oh, submit to my will, Gill! Don't cause me the suffering that has subsided again! Let me die in peace! - Hercules begs his son insistently.
Gill humbled himself and obediently answers his father:
- All right, Father. I will submit to your dying will.
Hercules hurries his son, asks him to fulfill his last request as soon as possible.
- Hurry up, my son! Hurry up and put me on the bonfire before these unbearable torments begin again! Carry me! Goodbye, Gill!
Friends of Hercules and Gill lifted the stretcher and carried Hercules to a high ridge. There they built a huge bonfire and laid the greatest of the heroes on it. Hercules' suffering is getting stronger, the poison of the Lernaean hydra penetrates deeper into his body. Hercules tears off his poisoned cloak, it is tightly stuck to his body; together with the cloak, Hercules tears off pieces of skin, and the terrible torments become even more unbearable. The only salvation from these superhuman torments is death. It is easier to die in the flames of a campfire than to tolerate them, but none of the hero's friends dare to light a fire. Finally, Philoctetes came to Oeta, Hercules persuaded him to light a fire and, as a reward for this, gave him his bow and arrows poisoned with hydra poison. Philoctetes lit the bonfire, the flames of the bonfire flared up brightly, but Zeus' lightning flashed even brighter. Thunder rolled across the sky. They were brought to the bonfire on a golden chariot Nick with Hermes and they lifted up the greatest of the heroes of Hercules to the bright Olympus. The great gods met him there. Hercules became the immortal god. Itself Hera, forgetting her hatred, gave Heracles her daughter, the eternally young goddess, as a wife Gebu. Since then, Hercules has been living on the bright Olympus in the host of the great immortal gods. This was his reward for all his great deeds on earth, for all his great sufferings.