The judges really enjoyed reading Caitlin’s myth of the Golden Conch of Atlantis, another highly commended entry! Well done Caitlin!
“The Treasure of Atlantis”
Even after doing 12 impossible tasks, Hercules’ torture was not over. King Eurtheseus demanded Hercules do yet another treacherous, preposterous task. The muscular warrior had to locate and steal the lost, golden conch shell of Atlantis. This magical shell gave the wearer powers over the sea, waves and all underwater creatures. If he succeeded in his task, Hercules’ curse would be lifted but if he failed, his curse would never be broken.
Hercules was sitting on the harbour thinking that he had no idea how he would even find the conch shell and wondering if his curse would ever be broken when he heard a terrified whinny. The hero took an immense gulp of air then dived into the murky, mysterious waters below not knowing what lay under him…
Through the gloom, he spotted something thrashing in the water. He could only make out a shimmer of scales and the dark outlines of ropes covering it. Swimming closer, he was finally able to see a young hippocampus, an underwater sea creature with the head and mane of a horse but the tail of a fish. It was terrified and struggling to break free but was only becoming more tangled. Hercules pulled out his dagger and swiftly cut through the ropes. As he stroked the hippocampus’ mane, a lightness swept over him and he realised he did not need to breathe. A voice in his head told him, “You needn’t worry, my name is Sapphire and as long as you are touching me you can breathe under water. I can also read minds and I know that you need to get to Atlantis and because you rescued me I will take you there.”
It was a long and difficult journey, yet when they finally got to Atlantis it was like they had swam into a dream. The golden buildings were encrusted with rubies, emeralds, diamonds. There were pillars covered with intricate patterns of mermaids, dolphins, hippocampuses and other sea creatures. It was a paradise under the sea.
Hercules spotted the conch shell but it was guarded by a hideous, menacing sea serpent. It was all shades of blue, with fangs like daggers and razor-sharp claws. This, however, was not the most frightening aspect of the ferocious monster. What scared Hercules most were the blood stains around her mouth and dotted all over her body. Hercules rapidly formed a plan in his head. Striking the beast in the nose with his vast fist, the brave genius angered the savage monster. Hercules and the hippocampus sped away and the brute gave chase. Heroic Hercules and his new companion weaved in and out, and twisted round the massive serpent, tying it in endless knots. Just as they thought nothing could ruin their chances of getting the conch shell, Hercules slid off the huge seahorse and suddenly felt very dizzy. The underwater world around him was spinning, and he was feeling heavier and heavier… As quick as a flash, he grabbed hold of the creature’s fin and was filled with glorious air. Carefully this time, he snatched up the golden conch shell and sped off back to the harbour.
Once in the harbour, Hercules thanked Sapphire with some golden apples he had stolen from the Hesperides, then returned to King Eurthesues’ castle. He showed the king the shell, and with a whirl of mist and smoke his curse was lifted.
Hercules lived a long, happy life, telling his stories and re-living the adventures of his labours; yet he never told the tale of the Treasure of Atlantis. That was his, and the hippocampus’, secret.