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Cacus

Cacus, an Italian brigand, who, "once upon a time," lived in a cave on Mount Aventine, and lived by robbing the shepherds and herdsmen of the neighbourhood. But one day he caught a Tartar in the shape of Hercules. This hero was returning from doing a little robbing on his own account, and was bringing home Geryon's cattle from Spain. As Hercules took his siesta, Cacus came down on the cattle and carried off some of the best of the heifers. Being a sort of classical Eulenspiegel, he dragged the heifers in by the tails in order that their steps might seem to be going out; but as Hercules was starting some of the oxen lowed, and the heifers answered and so betrayed their whereabouts. Hercules forced his way into the cave, slew Cacus, and retook his heifers. Cacus is also represented as a giant, son of Vulcan, breathing out flames, and possessed of a sister Caca. Some have tried to give the pair a historical or mythological signification, but to do so seems like trying to fix the identity of, or give a mythological meaning to, Jack the Giant Killer.

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