Kerine Doe (fourth feat)
Eurystheus knew that in Arcadia there lives a wonderful Kerine doe sent by the goddess Artemis as a punishment for people. This fallow deer devastated the fields. Eurystheus sent Hercules caught her and told him to deliver the deer alive to Mycenae. This doe was extraordinarily beautiful, her horns were golden, and her legs were copper. Like the wind, she rushed through the mountains and valleys of Arcadia, never knowing fatigue. For a whole year Hercules pursued the Kerine doe. She rushed through mountains, across plains, jumped over precipices, swam rivers. Farther and farther to the north the deer ran. The hero did not lag behind her, he pursued her without losing sight of her. Finally, Hercules reached the far north in pursuit of the fall - the country of the Hyperboreans and the origins Istra. Here the doe stopped. The hero wanted to grab her, but she slipped away and, like an arrow, rushed back to the south. The chase began again. Hercules managed only to overtake the deer in Arcadia. Even after such a long chase, she did not lose her strength. Desperate to catch a fallow deer, Hercules resorted to his blundering arrows. He wounded a golden-horned deer with an arrow in the leg, and only then did he manage to catch it. Hercules took the wonderful doe on his shoulders and was about to carry her to Mycenae, when an angry Artemis appeared before him and said:
- Didn't you know, Hercules, that this deer is mine? Why did you insult me by wounding my beloved doe? Don't you know that I don't forgive insults? Or do you think that you are more powerful than the Olympian gods?
Hercules bowed in awe before the beautiful goddess and replied:
- Oh, great daughter of Latona, don't blame me! I have never offended the immortal gods living on the bright Olympus; I have always honored the celestials with rich sacrifices and have never considered myself equal to them, although I myself am the son of the thunderer Zeus. It was not by my own will that I pursued your doe, but by the command of Eurystheus. The gods themselves have commanded me to serve him, and I dare not disobey Eurystheus!
Artemis forgave Hercules for his guilt. The great son of the thunderer Zeus brought the Kerinean fallow deer alive to Mycenae and gave it to Eurystheus.