and hungry will you cross my plough," the peasant shot
back, and whacked Hercules sharply with his pole.
Hercules' blood boiled. Not for nothing was he the
strongest man in the world. He yanked the pole out of
the king's grasp, snapped it over his knee like a twig, then
shoved the man aside and unyoked one of the oxen, his
favorite food of all. Thiodamas sputtered with rage. Never
had anyone dared cross him like this. He filled the air with
a stream of curses foul enough to shrivel a lesser man, and
stormed off to call his people to arms, turning time and
again to lob rock after rock at Hercules, who shrugged off
the stones like so many gnats. With his sharp bronze sword
he made short work of the lumbering ox, then skewered
the meat, roasted it to a turn, and pulled it off the fire.
They all fell to and ate their fill, but Hercules put away
the most by far, didn't even spare the bones.
As they were polishing off the last of the meal, King
Thiodamas rode up with a host of his warriors, all armed
to the teeth. His men would dispatch the bum right off,
L O V E R S ' L E G E N D S
Hercules and the ox