Hercules Detective Agency Case Files are Copyrighted with the U.S. Copyright Office, Library of Congress

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Proprietor Hercules (Roman name), also known as Heracles (Greek name), also known as Herc (Nickname)

Hercules was taking a couple of days off from the Hercules Detective Agency, while he caught up on his chores and some of the tasks he had promised to do for the local farmers (in return for some really good fresh food.)

He was, at the moment, digging an irrigation ditch for one of the neighboring farmers.

Suddenly his shovel struck something solid. It was a rock, a large oblong shaped rock. It actually looked like a very large egg made out of rock.

Hercules had an idea. Hercules decided he was going to play a joke on his good friend, Tor (the Minotaur.) All the Greeks loved a good joke.

Hercules finished digging the rock out of the ditch. He took it to the river and washed it off. Then he put it in his bag and took it home.

As he entered the courtyard, he shouted out, "Tor! Come quickly! You won't believe what I found!"

The Minatour came charging out of his hut. He raced over to where Hercules stood. Now, a minatour charging at you is kind of like having a large bull with sharp horns charging at you. Most people would have turned and run . But Hercules knew his friend was just excited. The Minatour did in fact slide to a halt right in front of Hercules.

"Herc," he said. "What wonder have you brought home today?"

"Look and see! It's a dragon egg1" Hercules said excitedly.

"I thought you told me there were no dragons in Greece." The Minotaur eyed the rock egg suspiciously. "So, if there are no dragons, where did a dragon egg come from?"

"There are no dragons living in Greece. But I think this is from a Persian dragon that just stopped by to lay its eggs."

"It looks like a rock to me," the Minotaur pointed out.

"I know you think I'm tricking you, Tor, but look at it! Dragons can't hatch out of regular egg shells. They need something sturdy. Dragons aren't ducks, you know." Hercules sounded sincere because he was sincere. Dragons were not ducks.

"What if it hatches?" the Minotaur worried. "What in the world would we do with a dragon?"

"We'd be famous, that's what!"

"You're already famous."

"If we hatched the egg, and raised it, and trained it, we would have an awesome creature to help us keep Greece safe."

"And who is going to keep Greece safe from the dragon?" muttered the Minotaur.

"You're just worried it will be a fire breathing dragon. Not all of them are, you know. Besides, you know what they say about dragons. Dragons think whoever raises them is their daddy. If you help hatch him, he will protect you. So you don't need to worry."

"Take it to Sparta. They'll hatch it. They'll train it. They'll use it to protect all of Greece."

"Sparta might turn it against Athens. You know those two city-states do not always get along. No, it's safe with us. We just need to keep it a secret for now. All you need to do is keep the egg warm and dry and talk to it several times every day. That will get it used to your voice and make sure it thinks you are its daddy. That way, it will probably obey you."

The Minotaur slumped. "Why can't you do it? It's your egg."

"I am always running out for the Hercules Detective Agency. I don't have the time to watch over it. I know you are busy too, but you can arrange your schedule. I really can't. In fact, I have to run off right now. I'm trying to broker a deal between Daedalus, the worlds greatest inventor, and Eupiddle, the self-proclaimed world's greatest sculptor." Hercules shook his head and scowled. "Wish me luck."

Hercules closed the gate carefully behind him as he left, probably to keep the dragon safely contained in the courtyard if it started to hatch, the Minotaur thought to himself. He looked at the egg. He was becoming curious. He had never had a pet, not really. A stray bird now and then. But a dragon, now that was something!

With a massive sigh, the Minotaur took the egg and gently laid it in a nearby basket. Then he started building a nest near the cooking stove using a couple of old blankets.

Hercules peeked around his hut. He tried very hard not to laugh. His friend looked so serious as he built a nest for the egg. Hercules went back to the farmer's field to finish the ditch he had been digging.

Shortly after Hercules had left, Daedalus appeared at the gate to the courtyard. "I thought I heard humming back here. Is Herc around?"

The Minotaur blushed fiercely red. He might have been humming to the dragon egg, but he was not about it admit it. "Hercules had to run out. He is going to see Eupiddle about that deal you wanted."

"What deal?" Daedalus asked. He noticed the egg wrapped in a blanket. "What have you got there?"

"A dragon egg. But you can't tell anybody. Hercules thinks we should keep it a secret for now."

"Tor, we have our share of monsters, but there are no dragons in Greece."

"Hercules said it was probably a Persian dragon egg."

"Did he now. I'll be right back." Daedalus ran around the hut. He reached for a bagful of - things - in his chariot. He sorted through the bag and pulled something out. He came back to Tor. "Do you have a chisel?"

"Daedalus! Are you going to kill the dragon? It's just a baby. He hasn't even been born yet."

"Tor, put your ear against that egg. Do you hear anything?"

The Minotaur listened. He shook his head no.

"That's because it's a rock. It's not a dragon egg. It has no heart beat. He's tricking you." Daedalus laughed. "And now, we're going to trick him back and see how he likes it!"

Daedalus hollowed out a small piece of the rock and placed a mechanical wind up toy inside the hole. It made clicking and squeaking sounds. "Now listen to the egg."

The Minotaur placed his ear on the rock. His eyes flew open. "It's beating!"

"When you hear Hercules coming, wind this toy, then tilt the egg so the hole is hidden."

"Like this?"

"Exactly like that," Daedalus smiled approvingly.

"Do you want to leave a message for Hercules?"

"No, don't even tell him I was here. He'll figure it out on his own, once realizes he's been tricked!"

It wasn't long after that Hercules returned. He was quite curious to see how his trick was working.

"Hercules!" the Minotaur whispered when he saw Herc enter the courtyard. "Shush. I think the egg is getting ready to hatch. Listen! Put your ear against the egg. Hear it?" the Minotaur whispered.

Trying very hard not to laugh, Hercules put his ear against the rock. His eyes flew wide open. "It's beating!"

"I know," the Minotaur squealed. "We're going to have a baby!"

"We're going to have to break the egg open," Hercules decided.

"You can't hurry these things, Herc." The reproach in his voice was obvious.

"We're going to have to kill it."

"What! I won't let you kill it! It's just a baby!"

"Tor. We can't keep a dragon. We're too close to town. We have to kill it." With that, Hercules picked up the hammer he had left by the brick wall of the courtyard and gave the egg a hearty smash. The egg was untouched but it did roll a bit. Hercules raised his mighty arm to smash it again. when a small windup toy fell out. Hercules stared at the toy, which was making clicking and squeaking sounds. He stared at the Minotaur who was doubled up laughing. He stared at the rock, which was doing nothing at all. Then he threw back his head and laughed his mighty Hercules laugh.

It is true what they say. All the ancient Greeks loved a good joke, and these two good friends were no exception. It was a pity, Hercules thought to himself, that this was not a case. It would make great reading someday. If it had been a case, he would have named it The Dragon Egg. Later that night, after a very good dinner, he decided to create a case file anyway, just in case someday someone might write up his adventures. He would not want them to miss a good laugh.