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)

One day in ancient Greece, in a small village, the people were having a festival to honor the goddess Artemis. As part of the festive activities, the villagers were holding an archery contest. They had asked Hercules to come and be the judge. Never one to turn down a good festival, with all the food associated with it, Hercules agreed.

Before the contest, one of the contestants asked Hercules to put on a demonstration of archery skill.

"I'd be glad to," Hercules agreed. Hercules was very proud of his skill in archery. It helped, of course, that he was half-god, half-mortal. Still, there were gods who had no archery ability at all.

Hercules brought out his bow and arrows. Because he was showing off just a bit, Hercules set the target a distance away that none of the human competitors could ever reach. Being half-god half-mortal, Hercules had no doubt he could easily bulls eye the target he set for himself. Hercules took an arrow, pulled back on the bowstring, and let fly. The arrow flew true and buried itself in the bulls eye.

Everyone oohed and asked for more. Hercules, being a bit of a ham, agreed. He spotted an apple in a nearby tree. He pulled out another arrow and let fly again. His arrow was flying true when suddenly, for no reason at all, a crow flew between the target and the arrow. The arrow pierced and killed the crow.

This put quite a damper on things. No one wanted anyone or anything to be hurt because of their contest. But a crow! Of all things! Crows were sacred to the god Apollo. Apollo was the twin brother of the goddess Artemis. Both gods were bound to be furious. Artemis because her festival had been ruined and Apollo because his crow had been killed. Of this the people were sure.

The truth is, this sad situation was not an accident at all. The reason the crow flew between Hercules and the target was because the goddess Hera, Queen of all the Gods, just happened to be flying by. She noticed the festival. She noticed Hercules. She noticed the arrow and the target. Hera was delighted. Hera hated Hercules. Every chance she got, she caused as much trouble for Hercules as she could. This was a perfect opportunity. It was no trouble at all to push the flying crow directly in the path of the arrow Hercules let fly. She did not stick around to see what happened next. She simply went happily on her way to wherever she was going. But Hercules and the villagers knew nothing of this. All they knew was that a crow had been killed for no reason, one of Apollo's sacred crows. That was quite worrisome.

Sure enough, Apollo showed up nearly instantly. Who knows how he found out. Perhaps the crows talked to him. Or perhaps Artemis was nearby watching her festival and called to him. However he got the word, there he was, standing furiously, with his arms crossed on his chest.

"Who killed my crow?" Apollo demanded to know.

"Apollo, it was I," Hercules was quick to confess. "It was an accident. It was the strangest thing. There was no crow in the sky, but suddenly, there he was. You know that I would never harm a sacred creature."

Since Apollo did know that, his face became less furious and more puzzled. Apollo and Hercules were not only half-brothers, they were also good friends. But something had to be done. A crow had been killed for no reason at all.

"You must pay a price, Hercules," Apollo decided. "You must complete a task to atone for the crow. The task I set you is to write a poem. But it must be a new type of poem. Unlike epic poems, so popular today, this poem must rhyme."

"You're the god of poetry, Apollo. How can I write a poem that would satisfy you?" Hercules spluttered.

"That's the task, Herc."

"A contest," Hercules suggested somewhat desperately. "Let's have a contest. You pick the challenge."

Apollo smiled sweetly. "I already have." And disappeared.

The villagers gathered around Hercules. "We're so sorry to have caused you trouble, Hercules," they all agreed.

"It's not your fault. But I fear I cannot judge your contest. I must return home and think."

"I have a rhyme you can use," piped a small voice. The voice belonged to a small boy, a harmless looking individual of four or five years.

"You have a poem?" Hercules asked hopefully, because truly, writing poetry was something he was not very good at, which, of course, Apollo knew.

"Here's my poem," piped the small voice. "A crow is sacred, a crow is black, a crow got an arrow, in his back. It was an accident, I am sure, and never again, will it occur."

Hercules stared at the small boy. The villagers held their breath. Everyone knew it was the perfect poem. It rhymed. It described. It apologized. And it promised.

"That is the best rhyming poem I have ever heard," Hercules shouted. "Thank you!"

Apollo, when Hercules told him the poem, was greatly impressed. "Even though you didn't write the poem yourself, Herc, you discovered a poet. A real poet. If this is what he can do when he is still so young, imagine what he can do when he grows up! I have to tell Calliope about him immediately. Both of us will keep an eye on him and help him any way we can." Apollo shook his head in wonder. "Your task is complete, Hercules. Once again, all Greece thanks you." Apollo sighed happily. "A poet. A real poet." With a wave of one hand, Apollo disappeared.

Since Hercules had not filled his belly with festival food, he made himself some supper. Later that evening, after thinking things over, Hercules slowly pulled out an empty file. "Something made that crow fly in the path of my arrow," Hercules told himself. "Crows are not stupid. In fact, crows are very smart. That crow would have felt the wind of the arrow and shied away. But it did not. That makes no sense. This is a case for the Hercules Detective Agency. Someday, I will find out what happened and I will get even," Hercules promised himself. He named this case - Case of the Festival Arrow, and scribbled a note on the front cover: CASE PENDING, NEEDS FURTHER ATTENTION.