Cerberus was a three
headed monster in Greek and Roman mythology that guarded the entrance
to Hades. Instead of fur, Cerberus had snakes on his tail and
mane. He allowed only spirits (also called shades) to go in and
out of Hades. He guarded the gate with such ferocity that only
three mortals got past.
Hercules' last labor
(number 12) was to go into the Underworld and bring back Cerberus.
Hercules got Hermes to show him the hidden entrance to Hades.
Hermes then left Hercules to complete the task alone. Charon ferried
Hercules across the river Styx. At the gates, Hercules met Cerberus.
Cerberus lunged out at Hercules and Hercules dodged him. Hercules
then grabbed Cerberus and wrestled with him for hours. Cerberus'
poisonous tail stung at Hercules, but Hercules had on lion skin
that protected him. Finally, Cerberus fell down exhausted.