The story behind Cancer the Crab

Hercules had twelve tasks and he had to complete every one, to prove to his Dad that he was strong and powerful . The second of these tasks was to defeat Leonean Hydra, which was a monster with a long snake or dragon like body and twelve heads. If Hercules cut off one of the monster’s heads another one would grow in its place. During the fight Hercules brought his nephew Iolas along with him to help. The plan was that Hercules would cut off Hydras head and Iolas would sear off where Hydras head had been, meaning it could not grow back. Thinking that Hercules would win this fight Hera, Zeus’ wife (who was jealous of Zeus’ love for Hercules) sent a crab to bite Hercules and distract him from the fight. However as the crab grabbed Hercules foot Hercules jumped back and stomped on the crab with his other foot. He crushed the crab to smithereens. Hercules then cut off the final head off Hydra and Iolas quickly burnt the wound. Hercules had completed the mission much to Hera’s annoyance. To honour Hercules victory and to remind Hera of her failure, Zeus placed the constellation of Cancer the crab in the sky.

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