BY OVID (ADAPTED)
 IN ancient times, when Apollo, the god of the shining sun,
roamed the earth, he met Cupid, who with bended bow and
drawn string was seeking human beings to wound with the
arrows of love.
"Silly boy," said Apollo, "what dost thou with the warlike
bow? Such burden best befits my shoulders, for did I not
slay the fierce serpent, the Python, whose baleful breath
destroyed all that came nigh him? Warlike arms are for the
mighty, not for boys like thee! Do thou carry a torch with
which to kindle love in human hearts, but no longer lay
claim to my weapon, the bow!"
But Cupid replied in anger: "Let thy bow shoot what it will,
Apollo, but my bow shall shoot thee!" And the god of love
rose up, and beating the air with his wings, he drew two
magic arrows from his quiver. One was of shining gold and
with its barbed point could Cupid inflict wounds of love;
the other arrow was of dull silver and its wound had the
power to engender hate.
The silver arrow Cupid fixed in the breast of Daphne, the
daughter of the river-god Peneus; and forthwith she fled
away from the homes of men, and hunted beasts in the forest.
With the golden arrow Cupid grievously
 wounded Apollo, who fleeing to the woods saw there the Nymph
Daphne pursuing the deer; and straightway the sun-god fell
in love with her beauty. Her golden locks hung down upon her
neck, her eyes were like stars, her form was slender and
graceful and clothed in clinging white. Swifter than the
light wind she flew, and Apollo followed after.
"O Nymph! daughter of Peneus," he cried, "stay, I entreat
thee! Why dost thou fly as a lamb from the wolf, as a deer
from the lion, or as a dove with trembling wings flees from
the eagle! I am no common man! I am no shepherd! Thou
knowest not, rash maid, from whom thou art flying! The
priests of Delphi and Tenedos pay their service to me.
Jupiter is my sire. Mine own arrow is unerring, but Cupid's
aim is truer, for he has made this wound in my heart! Alas!
wretched me! though I am that great one who discovered the
art of healing, yet this love may not be healed by my herbs
nor my skill!"
But Daphne stopped not at these words, she flew from him
with timid step. The winds fluttered her garments, the light
breezes spread her flowing locks behind her. Swiftly Apollo
drew near even as the keen greyhound draws near to the
frightened hare he is pursuing. With trembling limbs Daphne
sought the river, the home of her father, Peneus. Close
behind her was Apollo,
 the sun-god. She felt his breath on her hair and his hand on
her shoulder. Her strength was spent, she grew pale, and in
faint accents she implored the river:—
"O save me, my father, save me from Apollo, the sun-god!"
Scarcely had she thus spoken before a heaviness seized her
limbs. Her breast was covered with bark, her hair grew into
green leaves, and her arms into branches. Her feet, a moment
before so swift, became rooted to the ground. And Daphne was
no longer a Nymph, but a green laurel tree.
When Apollo beheld this change he cried out and embraced the
tree, and kissed its leaves.
"Beautiful Daphne," he said, "since thou cannot be my bride,
yet shalt thou be my tree. Henceforth my hair, my lyre, and
my quiver shall be adorned with laurel. Thy wreaths shall be
given to conquering chiefs, to winners of fame and joy; and
as my head has never been shorn of its locks, so shalt thou
wear thy green leaves, winter and summer—forever!"
Apollo ceased speaking and the laurel bent its new-made
boughs in assent, and its stem seemed to shake and its
leaves gently to murmur.
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