'Tree of Life'

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Beautiful textile artistry by Lynda McDonald

Ovid

The pursuit of a local nymph by an Olympian god, part of the archaic adjustment of religious cult in Greece,
was given an arch anecdotal turn in the Metamorphoses by the Roman poet Ovid (died AD 17).

According to this version Apollo's infatuation was caused by a golden-tipped arrow shot at him by Cupid,
son of Venus, who wanted to punish Apollo for having insulted his archery skills by commenting

"What hast thou to do with the arms of men, thou wanton boy?",


and to demonstrate the power of love's arrow Eros also shot Daphne, but with a leaden-tipped arrow,
the effect of which was to make her flee from Apollo.

Elated with sudden love, Apollo chased Daphne continually.

He tried to make her cease her flight by saying he did not wish to hurt her. When she kept fleeing, Apollo lamented that
even though he had the knowledge of medicinal herbs, he had failed to cure himself from the wound of Cupid's arrow.

When Apollo finally caught up with her, Daphne prayed for help to her father, the river god Peneus of Thessaly,
who immediately commenced her transformation into a laurel tree (Laurus nobilis).

"A heavy numbness seized her limbs, thin bark closed over her breast, her hair turned into leaves, her arms into branches, her
feet so swift a moment ago stuck fast in slow-growing roots, her face was lost in the canopy. Only her shining beauty was left."


Even this did not quench Apollo's ardour, and as he embraced the tree, he felt her heart still beating. He then declared:

"My bride, since you can never be, at least, sweet laurel, you shall be my tree.
My lure, my locks, my quiver you shall wreathe."


Upon hearing his words, Daphne bends her branches, approving his decision.

Daphne

Plants and animals do have genes in common.