The Guide to Ancient Greece
Let's start with the first labor. This was hard because the Nemean Lion parentage was supernatural and it was more of a monster than a lion. Also the lion's skin could not be penetrated by spears or arrows. Hercules blocked the exits to the lion's cave so the lion couldn't escape. Hercules killed the lion with his bare hands. After he killed the lion he wore the lion's skin as a cloak and the jaw as a helmet.  King Eurystheus was so afraid of his heroic cousin that when he saw him coming with the Nemean lion on his shoulder, he hid in a storage jar.  He issued the next labor to Hercules.  He was to seek out and destroy the hydria. The Hydria had ten heads some say, others up to ten thousand. Everyone agrees that every time you cut off a hydria head two more grew back. To make matters worse the Hydria's breath was deadly. Even if a mortal smelt a footprint they would die. Fortunately, Heracles was no ordinary mortal. He sought out the monster in its lair and brought it out into the open with flaming arrows. But now the fight went in the Hydra's favor. It twined its many heads around the hero and tried to trip him up. It called on an ally, a huge crab that also lived in the swamp. The crab bit Heracles in the heel and further impeded his attack. Heracles was on the verge of failure when he remembered his nephew, Iolaus, the son of his twin brother Iphicles. Iolaus look on in anxiety as he saw his uncle being entangled in the hydria's shaking hands. Finally he could bear it no longer. He grabbed a burning torch and ran into the fray.  As soon as Hercules cut off one of the heads Iolaus was there to sear the wounded neck with the torch.  This kept the future heads from growing. Hercules kept on cutting off the heads and after he did that Iolaus burned the neck with the torch.  Finally Hercules cut off the final head which was said to be immortal and he buried it under a rock. The third labor was the capture of the Cerynitian hide. Even though it was a female deer this fleet-footed beast had golden horns. It was sacred to Artemis so Hercules dared not to wound it. He hunted it down for a year before running it down on the banks of the River Ladon in Arcadia. Being very careful Hercules fired an arrow between the tendons and bones of the two forelegs, pinning it down without making the creature bleed. Even though the creature did not bleed Artemis was still upset. However Hercules avoided her wrath by blaming his taskmaster Eurystheus.  The fourth labor was the Erymanthian Boar. Hercules had to go to Arcadia to get a huge boar ,which Hercules had to bring back alive.(This task challenged him, well duh!) While tracking the boar Hercules went to visit his friend Pholus, the centaur. Pholus was examining one of Hercules' arrows when he accidently dropped it on his foot(Owwwww) Since the arrow was soaked in deadly Hydria venom Pholus died immediately. Finally Hercules found the boar on Mount Erymanthus where he managed to drive it into a snowbank, immobilizing it. Flinging the boar on his shoulder, Hercules returned the boar to Eurystheus who as usual hid in his storage jar. Labor number five was The Augean Stables. Eurystheus was very proud of himself when he thought of the next labor, because he was sure it would humiliate his heroic cousin.  Hercules was to clean King Augeas' stables in a single day. Augeas had huge herds of cattle which deposited their manure in such quantity that the manure had piled over and over , leaving a foul aroma in the air. Eurystheus thought Hercules would take a shovel and a basket but he was wrong.  Instead Hercules divided two rivers through the stable yard getting the job done without getting dirty. But because he had demanded payment of Augeas, Eurystheus refused to count this as a Labor. The sixth Labor pitted Heracles against the Stymphalian birds, who inhabited a marsh near Lake Stymphalus in Arcadia. Sources differ from that the birds ate human flesh, or that they shot men down with feathers made of brass, but others said they were merely constituted a nuisance because of their number. Hercules could not approach the birds to shoot them because the ground was too swampy and too marshy to walk through. Finally he decided to use some castanets given to him by the goddess Athena. By making a racket with these, he caused the birds to take wing.  Once they were in the air, he brought them down by the dozens with his arrows.  Labor Seven: Queen Pasiphae of Crete was inspired by a vengeful god to fall in love with a bull, with the result of the minotaur being born.  The minotaur was half-man and half-bull that haunted the  Labyrinth of King Minos. Pasiphae's husband was eager to get rid of the bull, which was also ravaging the Cretan countryside, so Hercules was assigned the task as his seventh Labor. Although the bull was dangerous and could belch fire, the hero overpowered it driving it back to the mainland. which was also ravaging the Cretan countryside, so Hercules was assigned the task as his seventh Labor. Next Hercules was assigned to bring Eurytheus the mares of Diomedes. These mares dine don the flesh of humans who made the horrible mistake of accepting Diomedes' hospitality. One version people tell is Hercules tricked the beast into devouring their own master. In another version they satisfied their hunger on Hercules' young squire a man named Abderus. In every version Hercules rounded up the beasts and led them to the sea where he embarked them for Tiryns. Once he had shown them to Eurystheus, he released them. They were eventually eaten by wild animals on Mount Olympus. This task sent Hercules to the land of the Amazons, to retrieve the belt of their queen for Eurystheus' daughter.  The Amazons were a race of women warriors, great archers who had invented the art of fighting from horseback. Hercules recruited a number of heroes to accompany him on his journey. As it turned out the Amazon queen, willingly gave Hercules her belt but Hera was not about to let the hero off so  easily. The goddess stirred up a rumor that the greek had captured the Amazon queen and a great battle ensued. Heracles made off with the belt, and Theseus kidnapped an Amazon princess. Geryon, the owner of some famous cattle that Heracles was now instructed to steal, had three heads and/or three separate bodies from the waist down. His watchdog, Orthrus, had only two heads. This Labor took place somewhere in the country we know as Spain. The hound Orthrus rushed at Heracles(Hercules same person) as he was making off with the cattle, and Hercules killed him with one blow from the wooden club he always carried. Geryon was dispatched as well, and Hercules drove the herd back to Greece. But p.s. he took a wrong turn and had to go through Italy. The Hesperides were nymphs entrusted by the goddess Hera with certain apples which she had received as a wedding present. These were kept in a grove surrounded by a high wall and guarded by Ladon, a many headed dragon. The grove was located in the far-western mountains named for Atlas one of the Titans or first generation of gods. Atlas had sided with one of his brothers in a war against Zeus. In punishment, he was compelled to support the weight of the heavens by means of a pillar on his shoulders. Heracles, in quest of the apples, had been told that he would never get the them without the aid of Atlas.  The Titan was only too happy to oblige. He told the hero to hold the pillar while he went to retrieve the fruit. But first Heracles had to kill the dragon by means of an arrow over the garden wall. Atlas soon returned with the apples but now realized how nice it was not to have to strain for eternity keeping heaven and earth apart. Heracles wondered if Atlas would mind taking back the pillar just long enough for him to fetch a cushion for his shoulder. The Titan obliged and Heracles strolled off, neglecting to return.  Okay this is the last one got it and I think the most dangerous. As his final Labor, Heracles(Hercules was the same person why didn't I just say Hercules?!) was instructed to bring the hellhound Cerberus up from Hades, the kingdom of the dead. The first barrier to the soul's journey beyond the grave was the most famous river of the Underworld, the Styx. Here the newly dead congregated as insubstantial shades, mere wraiths of their former selves, awaiting passage in the ferryboat of Charon the Boatman. Charon wouldn't take anyone across unless they met two conditions. Firstly, they had to pay a bribe in the form of a coin under the corpse's tongue. And secondly, they had to be dead. Heracles met neither condition, a circumstance which aggravated Charon's natural grouchiness. But Hercules simply glowered so fiercely that Charon meekly conveyed him across the Styx. The greater challenge was Cerberus, who had razor teeth, three (or maybe fifty) heads, a venomous snake for a tail and another swarm of snakes growing out of his back. He sounds look a big deal! These lashed at Hercules while Cerberus lunged for Hercules' throat. Good for Hercules he was wearing his lion skin which was impenetrable by anything short of a thunderbolt from Zeus. Heracles eventually choked Cerberus into submission and dragged him to Tiryns, where he received due credit for this final Labor.  GO HERCULES!