The Hercules Detective Agency The Case of the Moving Mountain
No Problem Too Large or Too Small, Reasonable Fees
Proprietor Hercules (Roman name), also known as Heracles (Greek name), also known as Herc (Nickname)
Sometimes, things have a way of working themselves out.
Hercules had just finished his daily chores, keeping his villa in good repair and clean, and had gone up onto his roof to catch the breeze and eat some lunch. He looked down the road and spied three carts full of men headed towards his villa.
"Looks like I am going to have a job soon," Hercules said to himself.
The group, when they arrived, announced they were the leaders of the city of Corinth. Corinth had a king. But the city also had leaders. This kept the government of the important city-state of Corinth running smoothly. For such important men, they appeared to be both exhausted and rather dirty.
"Hercules," announced the spokesman. "We apologize for our dirt and dust. We have come a long way. We need your help. We have asked our king for help, but he has had no solutions to offer. We have heard you have solved many difficult things. We hope you can help us."
It was an interesting start. Hercules was intrigued. "What is your problem?"
"Corinth, as you probably know, is famous for our pottery."
Hercules nodded. All the city-states made pottery, but nearly all, except for Athens, agreed that Corinth's pottery was the finest. It had something to do with the quality of their clay and the talent of their artists.
"We have been mining the hills around Corinth for the clay that we use to make our world famous pottery," the leader continued. "We have been mining for so long and have removed so much that we have created a giant pit. This has turned into a large problem for us. This pit is a danger to people and animals in the area." He took a deep breath. "We would like you to find a way to fill it in," he continued. "But not with just anything. We need you to fill it with the finest clay so we can continue to produce our famous pottery."
"Men of Corinth," said Hercules. "I am going to take this case. But it is going to take me some time to find clay suitable and move it. My payment is going to be a lifetime supply of pottery from Corinth. Do we have a deal?"
"It is a deal ," agreed the leader of the party, with obvious relief. It was clear from his face that he had believed even the mighty Hercules would find this task impossible. To fill a small hole is one thing. To fill a vast hole with exceptionally excellent pottery clay was quite another. The leader had not even wanted to make the long trip. But now, he was glad he had been outvoted. As the other leaders had pointed out, if Hercules could not accomplish this task, they would not need to pay him, so all they could lose would be travel time.
With their business done, the men of Corinth turned to leave. They were surprised to see another large group waiting patiently to talk to Hercules. Actually, they were quite impressed. Hercules was a busy man. Hopefully he was as good as everyone said he was at solving problems. With a much lighter step, they boarded their carts, and headed for home.
Hercules turned to the second delegation, a group of five men, with a welcoming smile. Hercules invited them inside his villa. He waved for them to be seated.
"Gentlemen," Hercules asked, handing around drinks of water from the large storage container he kept handy. "What can I do for you?"
This group was not as organized. Four of the five men spoke at once.
"We live in a village amid the mountains near Thrace."
"A landslide has covered the only road into our village."
"We had to climb over the mountain to get here."
"We are completely cut off. We are a farming village, so food is no problem. But we do need other things that the rest of Greece provides."
Hercules was a bit confused. These were strong men, farmers, used to hard work. "Why don't you dig yourself out?" Hercules asked the obvious question.
The fifth man held up a finger for silence. "Hercules, the hill that fell was made of clay, very fine and very heavy clay. Every time we tried to dig out, more of the clay slid down across our road. The more we tried to fix our problem, the more problem we created."
"I see," nodded Hercules. "Good clay is very heavy and very slippery."
"To fix this ourselves, we would have to try and move the entire hill. This is too much for us since we also need to farm our fields. We thought perhaps you might be able to help us."
"I will take your case," said Hercules, thinking he knew exactly where he would dump this clay hill, if the clay was as good as it sounded. Of course, he would need to think of a way to actually move it. But he would come up something, he was quite sure. While he was thinking, Hercules said: "My payment is going to be some of the fresh food you grow. Is it a deal?"
"You have a deal," agreed the village leader. With their business concluded, they thanked Hercules and opened the door to leave. Much to their surprise, there was a third delegation waiting patiently outside. They too were impressed. Hercules is a busy man, they thought. He must be as good as they say! With a much lighter step, they headed for home. They had a big climb to make before they would reach their suppers.
"Come in, come in," Hercules invited the third delegation into his home.
They wasted no time in explaining their problem. They knew Hercules was as good as his reputation. With great faith that he could find a way to solve their problem, they explained their worry. "Hercules, we are a fishing village. Our area is very rocky and there are many shipwrecks in the area. They are becoming a problem. The children like to explore them and, since these are wrecks, they are not safe. Is there some way you can clean them out?"
Sometimes problems find a way of solving each other thought Hercules.
"If your children are in danger, there is no time to waste. I will take this case," assured Hercules. "I will get right on it. My payment is going to be several baskets of that fine fresh fish you catch. Do we have a deal?"
"We have a deal," agreed the leader of the fishing village.
Hercules immediately set to work. He sailed his boat over to the fishing village and started to gather up all the wood from the wrecks. He separated out all the useable timbers and piled the broken wood into a pile for the villagers to use as firewood. He carried the useable timbers to the farmer's village. With the timbers, he built a retaining wall around the hill of mud. With the remainder of the wood, he built a giant hod (the tool masons used to carry bricks and mortar. Hods could carry a great deal of weight without breaking.) Working from the top down, Hercules loaded the giant hod he had built with silky mud and carried it to the city of Corinth. Hercules dumped the clay into the pit the miners of Corinth had dug. It took Hercules several trips (and several days) to finish digging out the hill and filling in the pit.
At the end Hercules had completed all three tasks. All three groups were delighted with the job Hercules had done. And all promised to make good on their end of the deals as soon as possible.
Hercules himself was a tired hero but he had a very good feeling about his work. These were not really cases for the Hercules Detective Agency, as all Hercules had to do was to manually move one problem into the space of another problem to create solutions. These cases probably should be named cases only Hercules could do. But then, the Hercules Detective Agency had been founded to help the Greek people. He had helped a great many people. Thinking it over, Hercules decided to put these three cases together in one file. He named them collectively The Case of the Moving Mountain, if only to remind himself that he had famous pottery, fresh food, and fish coming his way soon in payment. Not a bad day's (several days) work!