The thirteenth labour of Hercules was to kill a plant which had an immortal petal. When the plant was killed the petal would drop to the ground and the plant would grow from it all over again. There was but one way to kill the petal and that was to immerse it in water.
The plant was on the island of Sicilty and Hercules took many months to arrive at his destination. As soon as he arrived he sought out the plant. It wasn't hard to find for it grew nearly all over the island and had destroyed one town and was in the act of destroying another. The stem was one foot thick at the base.
Before Hercules cut through the stem, he posted a man at each bloom, so nearly the whole population was spread over the island. He gave instructions to each man that if a petal should fall he should hold it until Hercules arrived.
Then Hercules struck a mighty blow at the stem so that three inches had been cut through and the life-giving sap started to trickle out. Hercules struck another blow at the plant-now six inches had gone.
Then arose a shout from one of the men. Hercules hurried over to the man and there in his hand was a petal from one of the blooms. The plant was dying quickly and the problem was to get rid of the petals without their touching the ground. Hercules solved the problem by forming a chain of men from inland to the sea; the last man was to immerse each petal as it was handed to him.
Soon the petals were rendered harmless and Hercules had rid the world of another strange menace.
ALAN DAVIES, 1A