What was the Fourth Labour of Heracles (Hercules)? The Boring Erymanthian Boar
Updated: Jun 23
Bless my soul, Herc was on a roll! With three Labours done and dusted, Heracles was a quarter of the way to his goal of being forgiven for the whole 'accidentally murdering his family' thing.
King Eurystheus was properly annoyed with Heracles for completing yet another ‘impossible’ Labour. I guess Eurystheus was also a little surprised that Heracles had managed to capture the Hind, as the next Labour he set was both unimaginative and rushed. Like a rubbish sequel to a great movie, Eurystheus just did the same thing again, only not as well. This time, rather than capturing a fire-breathing deer, Heracles was commanded to retrieve the Erymanthian Boar instead.
What was so exciting about this Boar? Did it fire laser beams from its eyeballs? Did it explode? Could it excrete rainbows from its backside? Nope. It was just a straight-up boring old boar.
The Erymanthian Boar's Stats:
Name: Erymanthian Boar.
Description: Just a large boar, boringly. It did have a shaggy hide and foaming jaws… so that’s something I suppose?
Danger Rating: 3/10.
Location: In the glades of Lampeia, over on the west side of Greece.
Size: About the size of a bull.
Special Abilities: Other than being brain-numbingly boring, the Erymanthian Boar had no special abilities.
Have you ever played an open-world video game, like Hogwarts Legacy or Sonic Frontiers, and got stuck playing a tedious mission? You know the type, go to this place and retrieve this thing and bring it back to where you started for no good reason at all. Then, whilst trudging to your destination, you discover something much more exciting, like a mysterious temple or a dark spooky forest, and you decide to go explore there instead. Well, this must have been what happened to Heracles. Because, whilst trekking through the wilderness, Heracles decided to take a break and pop to see his mate, Pholus.
Pholus was a Centaur. He had the upper body of a muscle-bound human and the lower body of a muscle-bound horse. He lived in a cave and, when he saw his pal Heracles approaching, he invited him in for a chit-chat and a bite to eat. Whilst they munched on their sarnies, Heracles spotted a jug of wine in the corner of the cave, next to the Nespresso machine. He asked Pholus if he could have a swig of the sweet nectar. Pholus was a hospitable fellow but he still refused, explaining that the wine was a gift from the Greek god Dionysus for all the Centaurs who lived upon Mount Erymanthos.
Heracles was not the kind of demi-god who takes no for an answer and, as we discovered in his last labour, he could be very charming when he wanted to be. With a big smile and a friendly wink, Heracles convinced Pholus to open the wine. As soon as he did, an appealing fragrance wafted from the jar. An aroma so lovely and enticing that it probably smelled of Lynx Gold Roll-On Deodorant (other brands of arm-pit stench improvers are available). This odour left the cave and spread far and wide, entering the nasal passages of every centaur atop Mount Erymanthos. The delicious scent drove the Centaurs wild, and they charged to Pholus’ cave like it was the Grand National.
When the centaurs arrived at the cave they were furious to find a human partaking of their sacred wine and, foolishly, they decided to attack. Heracles leapt to his feet and swung his mighty club at the Centaurs, scattering them before his might. Then, as the Centaurs reeled in confusion, Heracles grabbed his bow and his quiver of arrows (remember, they had been dipped in the poisonous blood of the Lernean Hydra). With a ‘twang’ and a ‘twong’ and a ‘twit-twoo’ he shot the arrows at the Centaurs, killing hundreds of the creatures in a few seconds.
The surviving Centaurs fled, probably screaming expletives as they did so. Heracles gave chase, whooping in delight at all the death and violence like a proper ancient Greek hero should. Meanwhile, Pholus decided to have a closer look at one of Heracles' discarded arrows. He was bemused at how something so tiny and puny could kill a powerful Centaur. Pholus plucked an arrow from the ground but his clammy hand couldn't grip it properly and the arrow slipped from his clutch and plunged into his hoof.
At this point, Pholus probably looked to the camera, said ‘Oh poo’, and promptly fell down dead. That was it and that was all for the friendly Centaur.
When Heracles returned from butchering the Centaurs, he discovered the corpse of Pholus. Likely with a confused shrug, Heracles set to burying his ex-friend.
But what about the Erymanthian Boar? Well, Heracles found it stuck in a snow drift, quickly captured it and took it back to King Eurystheus who was so scared he promptly hid in his panic room (aka a large jar buried in the ground). Maybe, whilst you are in there Eurystheus, you could think of a more exciting Labour for next time? You can’t let Heracles get distracted because the quest is so boring. After all, only Heracles could turn a simple fetch quest into an opportunity to commit mass murder. What a lad, ay?
Check back in two weeks’ time for the 5th Labour, Heracles VS Poo!