The Hercules Detective Agency The Case of the Monster on the Causeway
No Problem Too Large or Too Small, Reasonable Fees
Proprietor Hercules (Roman name), also known as Heracles (Greek name), also known as Herc (Nickname)
Ancient Greece enjoyed many (many many many many) waterways. It made fishing and travel and washing quite easy. It was useful for irrigating crops. If the water was fresh and not brackish or seawater, it was great for drinking, too. Since waterways were plentiful, most villages were built near a waterway.
But one village went ever further. They built their village on what was nearly an island. It was connected to the mainland by a causeway, which acted as a bridge. Sometimes the causeway was under water, cutting off the village at high tide, and sometimes the causeway was busy with traffic going to and from the village and the mainland by villagers traveling on foot and by cart. It all depended upon the tide. The tide went up and down, as tides do, and the villagers were quite used to being cut off each day from the mainland. They even liked it because it offered some protection from invaders, except of course invasion by sea.
Everything was going along swimmingly, when one day a monster moved in and made its home on the causeway. The monster could breathe for a long time under water and for a long time on land. The causeway was perfect for the monster. Unfortunately, it was not as perfect for the villagers. They did not think they could pass by the monster safely, so they were stuck at the near-island end of the causeway. The islanders only had one boat. They decided to take their one and only boat to find Hercules and hire him. They brought two beautiful, hand-woven, colorful blankets with them to use as payment.
As soon as Hercules saw those gorgeous blankets, he knew he would accept the case. When Hercules understood their problem, he was most eager to help because it sounded very unfair to him. One monster blocking an entire village? Certainly, in all of Greece, with all its many waterways, that monster could have found somewhere else to live. Hercules had not decided if he would simply pick him up and throw him out or if he would try to reason with him. It all depended upon how the monster behaved when Hercules went to speak with him. Hercules took his boat and sailed towards the causeway. When Hercules arrived, there was no one on the causeway with whom to reason. There was no one about at all.
"Hey, monster," Hercules hollered.
"Hey, monster," Hercules bellowed more loudly than before.
"Hey, monster," Hercules boomed as loudly as he could. "If you don't come out and talk to me, I will find you and throw you out of here!"
The monster crawled up on the causeway. It was covered in scales, and had a long beard. It was as thick and tall as Hercules himself. The monster stood up on two legs, and slapped its lizard tail against the causeway, making a terrible, rattling sound. He opened his monstrous mouth, and showed Hercules his huge, sharp teeth. He was indeed a monster. He whirled his tail and narrowed his eyes at Hercules. "This is not your business, Hercules," the monster snapped. "Yes, I know who you are. Go away."
Hercules looked around the causeway. Perhaps there would be room for both the villagers and the monster to share the causeway, but Hercules gave up that idea almost immediately. There was not enough room. It was a very narrow causeway. The only solution was that the monster had to move.
Hercules watched the monster carefully. "The villagers cannot cross the causeway with you in their way," Hercules said, trying to be reasonable. "You will have to find another home."
"This is our home!" the monster snarled, his face becoming quite fierce.
Hercules was not at all worried. If the monster wanted a fight, he would get one. Hercules paused to consider. "Our home?"
Behind the monster's back, several little monsters had crawled up to join their father on the causeway. The tiny monsters peeked around their father's thick legs and gave Hercules timid little smiles. Some had tiny beards and some did not, but they were each missing several baby teeth. The teeth they had left looked quite sharp.
The papa monster glared at Hercules. "We mean the villagers no harm, but should they continue to cast arrows our way, we will have no choice but to put an end to it, and to them as well. I cannot allow them to harm my children."
The mama monster joined her little ones on the causeway. She looked like a tiny version of her husband, but had no beard. At the moment, her face looked quite worried. "I know of your reputation, Hercules. I do not believe you would throw little children out of their home."
The simple truth was that Hercules would not do that. Under normal circumstances, he would leave the family be. But he had agreed to help the villagers.
"Don't go anywhere," Hercules told the monsters. "I have an idea that will solve this situation for everyone. I have to go home and get something."
"We are not going anywhere," the monster blustered. "This is our home, and nobody, not even the great Hercules will throw us out of it."
It was a very nice speech, but Hercules ignored it entirely. "I'll be right back," he promised.
"We're not leaving," the monster called after Hercules. He shot Hercules a venomous look as Hercules sailed away.
Hercules thought to himself that it was a very good thing he had saved that giant hod he had built to solve another case. (A hod is the tool masons used to carry bricks and mortar. Hods could carry a great deal of weight without breaking.) It had been a pain to move a mountain of very heavy and very slippery clay, but the giant hod had come in handy. He had saved it in case he might need it again someday. Hercules soon returned to the causeway with the giant hod balanced across his boat. As before, no one was about.
"Hey, monster," Hercules hollered.
"Hey monster," Hercules bellowed.
"Here's my plan," Hercules shouted as loudly as he could. "I have found the perfect place for your new home." Hercules described it.
The monster kids loved the sound of the many caves in which they could play. They climbed on the causeway and ran to Hercules. "I want to go there, I want to go there," they clamored.
Fearful for the safety of her children, the mama monster crawled up on the causeway and ran to her children, closely followed by her husband. She gathered them to her. "Don't hurt my children," she pleaded.
"Of course I won't," Hercules said without thinking. Had he given his word? He rather feared he had. "The best part," Hercules told them, "is that it is isolated. No one comes near it. It's at one end of a very big island. The people all live on the other end. So you'll have peace and quiet and food and shelter. There is a fresh water stream that runs off the mountains and of course there is the sea, if you wish to adventure."
"And fun," shouted the little monsters, "in the caves!"
"And fun," Hercules agreed with a grin. "So, what do you say? I brought this giant hod so I could safely carry you there."
"One home," the mama monster exclaimed with a wide smile. "Not one under and one over, but simply one safe home with access to the sea!" Hercules could tell that the mama monster loved the thought.
The papa monster looked at the excited faces of his children. He looked at the yearning face of his wife. He looked at the giant hod.
"There are not many people I would trust, Hercules, to carry my family safely, but I will trust you. Give us a minute to gather our belongings and we will come with you."
His family shouted with excitement.
Hercules, true to his word, transported the monster family to the far end of the island of Crete. The villagers of Crete never knew they were there. King Minos, who had once kept Hercules' good friend, Tor (the Minotaur) a prisoner in a maze, had made that end of his island into a memorial for his beloved daughter who had disappeared the same day Tor had escaped. Hercules knew the isolated end of the island quite well. It was where the princess always went to be alone when she had lived on the island of Crete. Hercules also knew that the king's daughter had not disappeared, but had left willingly, and was now the wife of his good friend, the god of wine, Dionysus. The Minotaur, who was most grateful to be rescued, now had a home of his own, and shared a courtyard with Hercules. The four of them - the princess, the god, the minotaur, and Hercules - all had become the best of friends. They had helped each and shared adventures more than once. But King Minos and the villagers who lived on the island of Crete knew nothing of this. Out of respect, they left the far end of their island alone. No one went there, not by land and not by sea. The monster family would be quite safe.
In a short while, Hercules arrived at the far end of Crete. The monsters spilled out of the hod. It was obvious they were delighted with their new home. It had everything Hercules had promised and everything that they needed. Hercules even gave them a gift of the hod he had carried them in. The mama monster planned to fill it with dirt and use it as a vegetable garden.
The papa monster was very clear with his children that they could not explore the caves until he had checked them first. He did try to be stern, but his face gave him away.
"Okay, Daddy," the children shouted gleefully. With giggles, off they ran.
"Say thank you to Hercules," their mother said quickly. She was not quick enough. They were gone.
She looked up at Hercules with a sheepish expression. "I thank you, Hercules. You have found us a home, a real home. We owe you a great debt."
"Yes," the papa monster rumbled. "We will not forget."
"All you owe me is a favor someday," Hercules told them. "I was glad to help." With that, and a wave goodbye, Hercules left the monsters in peace and headed for home.
Feeling very pleased with himself, he curled up in his chair by the fire. He pulled one of the beautiful blankets he had been given up to his chin. It was too warm just yet, so he folded it to one side. But winter was coming. He decided to give one beautiful blanket to his friend Tor and to put the other away in preparation for the cold days ahead. The thought of the little monsters and their excitement with their new home made him smile. It occurred to him that the little ones he had saved were just like kids everywhere. "Little monsters," he chuckled to himself. "I hope they have fun in the caves." Hercules was quite sure that they would.
On that happy note, Hercules named this case The Case of the Monster on the Causeway, and filed it away with the other case files of the Hercules Detective Agency. But first, he left himself a reminder note on the cover of the file. The note read: "Monster Debt. Use in time of battle."