When Heracles first set out on his labours he was told he only had to do 10 of them, King Eurystheus who was setting the labours had decided that two of the labours Heracles had completed were now null and void, Heracles needed help to defeat the Lernean Hydra so Heracles didn’t complete the task on his own, secondly Heracles received a payment of cattle for cleaning the Augean Stables which rendered this task as a failure. The horrible King Eurystheus had 2 more labours ready for Heracles to complete before he is set free.
King Eurystheus really wanted Heracles die, and so the labours became more and more difficult, the king thought he had found a labour to finally defeat our hero, It was to steal the apples from the garden of the Hesperides.
The Hesperides were the daughters of the Titan Atlas, Atlas was the god given the punishment of holding up the heavens on his shoulders and the Hesperides lived in a garden which was home to the legendary golden apples, apples that only a god could pick.
After a long complex journey Heracles arrived at the garden, Heracles was mortal and knew that he couldn’t pick the apples from the branches, he did however know Atlas was nearby holding up the heavens. Heracles asked Atlas if he would pick the apples for him and so Heracles swapped places with Atlas taking the weight of the heavens on his shoulders while Atlas went to pick the apples.
Atlas soon returned with the apples but refused to take his place under the heavens again, so Heracles asked Atlas to deliver the apples for him, Atlas agreed and Heracles asked Atlas if he could just take the weight of the heavens for a moment so he could re-position his shoulders and get comfortable, the moment Atlas took his position Heracles dashed away leaving Atlas stuck with the weight of the heavens on his shoulders once more. Heracles delivered the apples and Atlas remains holding up the sky to this very day.