The Hercules Detective Agency The Case of the Pearl Divers
No Problem Too Large or Too Small, Reasonable Fees
Proprietor Hercules (Roman name), also known as Heracles (Greek name), also known as Herc (Nickname)
Hercules was working on his courtyard wall, building it up a little higher to give himself more privacy. Suddenly he heard a knocking at his front door.
Hercules called out, "I'll be right there. Hang on for a minute." Hercules finished putting on the brick he was adding to the wall and went around to the front door.
Standing there was a group of what looked like fishermen.
"Hercules," said the spokesman, "We are pearl divers. We dive down to the sea floor and gather up oysters. We do this to look for pearls. We can also sell the oysters at the local market since they are quite tasty as well. But our major purpose is pearls."
"Okay," said Hercules. "I can see that. What do you need me for?"
"The oysters have stopped creating pearls. We have offered Poseidon all the proper tribute at his temple but to no avail. We have heard how you have helped others. We normally could pay in either oysters or pearls. At the moment, we can only pay in oysters as there are no pearls."
"This is an interesting problem," Hercules told the divers. "If I solve this for you, I would like a beautiful pearl necklace as payment. I'm not that fond of oysters. Give me a day or two, then check the beds. Hopefully, you will find pearls inside your oysters."
Hercules wasted no time. He ran to his friend, the inventor Daedalus. He needed to stretch anyway. Laying bricks was back breaking work. Daedalus was in his courtyard workshop working on his latest invention. Fortunately, Hercules did not have to guess what it was because he would have had no idea. Daedalus was beginning to think he had no idea either.
"Daedalus you owe me some inventions. Time to pay up, my friend," Hercules told him. "I need a way to breathe underwater."
"You already can breathe underwater."
"Yes, my half-god side can breathe underwater for a short while, but I need a way to let all of me stay underwater for some time. I need to watch the oyster beds."
"I heard about that," Daedalus said brightly. "No pearls, right?"
"Right. Can you help me?"
"Of course. Give me a day or two. I know just what you need."
In fact, Daedalus did know exactly what Hercules needed. The diving bell was the earliest type of equipment for underwater work and exploration. Its use was first described by the famous Greek, Aristotle. although Daedalus, the great inventor, had not invented this early diving bell, but he was familiar with the concept. He thought it reckless and frankly very stupid. So much could go wrong. An upside-down empty bell held carefully in place over your head without tipping as the diver dropped into the sea so that air would stay inside it? What if the diver did not keep it perfectly upright? What if a sea creature nudged it a bit and let the air escape? There had to be a better way. For some time now, Daedalus had been working on just that - a better way - a diving suit instead of a bell. The diver would be inside the closed up suit along with air. The more air you needed, the wider the suit.
It was not surprising that the great inventor Daedalus had been messing around with the idea of a diving suit for quite a while. He had built one but he had not actually tested it yet. But he was quite sure it would wonderfully well.
Feeling very pleased with himself, the very next day Daedalus showed up in his well used chariot. There was an odd looking contraption loaded on it. "It's a diving suit! One of my better inventions, I must say. I already had it. I just had to make it bigger to fit you. Try it on."
Hercules pulled on the suit. He noticed he was getting no air at all. He yanked the suit part way down. "Daedalus, there isn't any air."
"Of course not. You have to pump air into it. First you connect the hose, like this, see?" Daedalus explained as he clamped one end of the hose to the suit Hercules was wearing. He held up the other end of the hose." This end has the lever. All the person in your boat has to do is pump this lever up and down. Your suit will fill with air and you will be able to breathe easily." Daedalus pumped the lever up and down.
"You've already used it," Hercules realized, feeling much better about the suit.
"No, my son wouldn't help me. He said I'd die if I tried it. He was just being silly." Daedalus laughed. "Any fool can use this. No need to return it. It's too big now for anyone else. Have fun!" Daedalus drove briskly away. "Let me know how it works!" Daedalus shouted over his shoulder.
"Thank you," Hercules shouted after him. "I'll let you know if I die!"
The sarcasm missed Daedalus entirely. Or perhaps he was not listening. Hercules took off the suit. He left the suit and the hose outside his front door. He went around back to his courtyard. Over the brick wall, he could see someone slinking away into the forest. "Tor," Hercules shouted. "Wait up. I need you!"
Tor turned around and glared. "I heard him." Tor shook his head. He was very fond of his friend, the mighty Hercules. He knew Hercules took risks. He worried for him.
"Don't worry," Hercules answered the glare. "I'll be fine. All you have to do is move a lever up and down. Daedalus assured me, any fool can do it," Hercules laughed. He was getting into the spirit of things.
The Minotaur did not want to help, but he knew he would help.
"Someone is stealing the pearls out of the oysters. We have to stop them. If you get tired, tug on the hose and I'll come up."
With Tor dragging his feet, and Hercules bouncing ahead, the two friends took the suit to Herc's boat and put out to sea. Not very far out to sea. The oyster beds spread across a vast area near the shore. It was pretty shallow as well. The pearl divers dived down and harvested pearls by holding their breath. But Hercules wanted to stay and watch for a while, perhaps find someplace to hide. Someone was stealing the pearls.
"Are you sure you want to do this?" the Minotaur asked his friend as Hercules put on the diving suit, leaving his head sticking out.
Hercules attached the hose to his suit. "Try pumping," Herc told his friend.
The Minotaur pumped up and down rapidly. "This isn't going to work with your head sticking out."
"You're right!" Hercules closed up the suit. The Minotaur pumped. The suit was slowing filling with air, not much yet, but some.
"It works!" Hercules shouted from inside the suit. Without waiting for his suit to completely fill, Hercules jumped overboard and sunk.
"This is insane," the Minotaur told the sea breeze. The wind had picked up. His boat began to rock. The Minotaur dropped the pump and screamed. "Fins!" There were fins circling the boat. The boat rocked from side to side, nearly tipping over.
Hercules surfaced, yanked off the hood of his suit, and shouted, "What are you doing? You're jerking me all over the place!"
The Minotaur pointed at the fins circling the boat. "Fins!"
Hercules laughed. "They're dolphins, Tor. They're playing with you. Not to worry. If they were sharks, I'd put a hurtin' on them if they messed with me or with you. I'm going back down. Keep pumping!"
The Minotaur pumped rapidly, keeping one eye on the fins, moving now out to sea. One leaped out of the water. It was a beautiful sight, but it did not distract the Minotaur. If anything, he pumped more rapidly, relieved the dolphins were not sharks. But sharks could be in the area. He kept a sharp eye and kept pumping. Suddenly, something broke on the water. It was not a dolphin. It was Hercules. His suit was so full of air that he looked more like a beach ball than a man in a diving suit. Hercules bounced on the surface of the water. The winds were strong. The hose was yanked out of the Minotaur's hands. Hercules was being blown out to sea, with the hose trailing behind him. Hercules yanked his suit part way down, leaving his head clear and his suit above the surface of the water. His suit quickly deflated.
Hercules swam back to the boat. It was hard work. His suit had filled with water. But he was the strongest man in the world. With a mighty heave, Hercules pulled himself on board.
"Empty the suit over the side, Herc," the Minotaur shouted. "Or you'll sink us!"
"Good idea," Hercules agreed. He wiggled out of his suit, and drained it over the side.
"I think maybe too much air," Hercules decided. "Pump and then rest, pump and then rest. Let's try that."
"It's getting choppy," the Minotaur argued.
"It is," Hercules agreed again.
It was very odd, the Minotaur thought to himself.. Hercules almost never listened to him. His eyes narrowed suspiciously. "We need to try this another day," the Minotaur insisted. "It's too choppy and we don't know how this thing works."
"I know," Hercules agreed. Again. Hercules attached the hose to his suit. He handed the free end of the hose to the Minotaur. "One more try and then we'll give it up for the day. Pump and then rest, pump and then rest." Hercules pulled up the hood and dropped into the sea.
"Pump and then rest, pump and then rest, " the Minotaur muttered.
It was a short drop to the sea floor. There, Hercules found Poseidon removing sand from the oyster shells. The normally moody Poseidon was laughing. Little bubbles kept forming all about him.
"I've been watching you. Very entertaining." The normally moody Poseidon grinned at Hercules. "What are you wearing?"
"My diving suit. But the question should be, what are you doing?" Hercules asked. He watched his uncle open an oyster shell, scoop out the sand, and snap it shut.
"I can't hear you, Hercules. I can see your lips moving but I can't hear you. Speak up."
Hercules yanked his head free of the diving suit. The air escaping from his suit formed bubbles all the way up to the surface. His suit filled with water.
"I said, what are you doing?" Hercules repeated.
Poseidon's good mood vanished. He sighed a heavy put upon sigh. "My wife is making me tidy up the sea bottom, even the wrecks. Can you imagine being told to go tidy up a wreck? It's a wreck." Poseidon pursed up his mouth and made a face. "She thinks if we clean up the place, someone will want to live down here and marry one of our daughters. Hercules, you wouldn't want to - "
"No, I wouldn't. Thank you, but no."
"I don't blame you. All they do is jabber, jabber. The ocean is noisy enough without my wife and daughters adding to the racket. Actually, I don't mind cleaning sand out of the oysters. It's peaceful here."
Hercules though for a moment. It was important to say this in just the right way.
"Uncle Poseidon, I've been hired to solve a problem, and I need your help."
Poseidon looked suddenly more cheerful. One might say he even perked up. "If I help you, you'd owe me, right?"
"Not enough to marry one of your daughters, but yes, if we agree on a deal, you know I will pay. I always pay my debts as you know."
Poseidon rubbed his hands together. A sprinkle of sand drifted down. "So what's up?"
"I need you to leave the oysters alone to form their pearls in their own way. They need sand to make pearls. If you will do this, the pearl divers could harvest the pearls, and make you a beautiful pearl necklace for you to give to your wife. She would like that. It might make her happy enough to leave you in peace for a bit. That's my deal. Leave the oysters alone and in exchange you will receive an incredibly beautiful pearl necklace for your wife, or for whomever you please."
"That, Hercules, is a very smart idea." Poseidon waved one hand. "There. The oysters are filled with pearls. I put two pearls in each. Do you think that's enough?"
"I think the pearl divers will be delighted. I'll tell them to make your necklace right away. Thank you, Uncle Poseidon."
It was fortunate that Hercules was the strongest half-man, half-god in the world because his diving suit was drowning in water. Hercules decided the easiest way to get the suit back to the surface was simply to wear it. He pulled the suit up over his head and used his feet to give a mighty push off the sea floor. .
The Minotaur was very glad to see Hercules pop up out of the sea.
Hercules yanked the suit off his head. "Give me a hand onboard."
With the Minotaur's help, Hercules pulled himself on board his boat. He wiggled out of the rest of the suit.
"Don't empty it in the boat!" the Minotaur quickly reminded him.
Hercules grinned at his friend. "Poseidon says there are wrecks nearby. Now that we have this suit, we can go treasure hunting!"
"Not today," the Minotaur grumped. "My arms are aching."
"Another time, then," Hercules agreed. "Another time soon!"
A few days later, the divers brought Hercules two incredibly beautiful pearl necklaces, one more than they had agreed to pay him. Hercules was delighted. He delivered one pearl necklace to Poseidon by standing on the shore and hollering "POSEIDON! until he appeared. He delivered the other pearl necklace to his beloved Aunt Hestia, the goddess of hearth and home. She was very excited to receive a present and very pleased with the pearls.
Hercules named this case The Case of the Pearl Divers. He marked it PAID IN FULL, and put it away with the other case files from the Hercules Detective Agency. Then went around back to his courtyard to continue working on building up his brick wall. This time, his friend Tor (the Minotaur) was helping. Hercules suspected Tor's aim was to build the wall high enough so that he could slip away into the forest without being noticed the next time Hercules needed him to do something he did not wish to do. It would not work. Hercules would simply jump high enough to see over the wall and spot him. Hercules was a very large half-god half-man and he could jump much higher than one might suspect. Still, he was glad of the help and had no intention of telling the Minotaur anything except thank you.
Hercules had already moved his diving suit into his hut for safe keeping. He was very excited about it. Hercules knew he could talk Tor into helping him sooner or later. If not, he'd get Dionysus, the god of wine, who was always up for a lark. Treasure hunting in the wrecks! What fun!