E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
The stables of Augas, King of Elis, in Greece. In these stables he had kept 3,000 oxen, and the stalls had not been cleansed for thirty years. When Herculs was appointed to cleanse these stables, he caused two rivers to run through them.
To cleanse the Augean stables. To clear away an accumulated mass of corruption, moral, religious, physical, or legal. To reform wrongs almost past the power of man to tackle.