Oh, to love without return. To be pursued without end. This is the story of our immortals, Daphne and Apollo. We explored Apollo a few weeks ago on Immortal Monday, and at that time some interest was expressed in learning more about Daphne.
Daphne, the daughter of the river god, Peneus, was a lovely Naiad Nymph – a female spirit who presided over bodies of running water: brooks, streams, wells, fountains, springs and the like. The Greek gods would have viewed her as a minor nature deity. But nymphs were often depicted as beautiful, young women who loved to dance and sing. A loving nature that set them apart from the restricted and decorous wives of the Greek people and their gods. A nature that made the nymphs most attractive to many men. I think it’s safe to assume Daphne fit into this category.
A nymph, such as Daphne, was typically bound to a particular place – a stream or pond. And it’s possible that she would have lived out her days in such a place. As a nymph, she is considered to be ageless. She would stay forever beautiful and young, and may never die. But that does not necessarily make her, or any nymph, immortal. They are not truly impervious. But if a nymph were to mate with a god, their offspring could be fully immortal.
Daphne would never have children to test that theory. She was a sweet, vivacious virgin when Apollo angered Eros enough for what came next. Eros, irritated with Apollo’s boosts of being better with the bow and arrow, took two arrows – one tipped in gold and sharp at the edge, another dull and dipped in lead. With the gold he shot Apollo, creating an undying love for Daphne. With the other he shot Daphne, causing unconditional hate where Apollo was concerned. Apollo could chase Daphne to the ends of the nine realms, Daphne would never return his love.
Tired and fearful of Apollo, Daphne prayed and begged for her father’s help. He answered, turning the young Daphne into a laurel tree. Still enamored with the beautiful nymph, Apollo declared the laurel tree sacred and took leaves from its branches to adorn his attire.
One can learn an important lesson or two from the myth of Daphne and Apollo. Had Apollo not insulted Eros in the first place the whole mess may have been avoided. And even though Apollo was a little out of his mind at this point, had he not relentlessly stalked Daphne, she may not have had to ditch the life she knew for that of a tree. The situation definitely could have been handled better.
For fun, a little short depicting the story between Apollo and Daphne.
Given the choice, would you pick the life of a nymph? Dancing barefoot in nature sounds pretty good to me! What do you think of the myth regarding Daphne and Apollo? Considering the lessons here, should it be required reading for every high school student?
- Did you know that nymphs who mated with the god Poseidon, were believed to give birth to the mythical creatures, Cyclops?
- Also, the words nymphomania and nymphet are derived from the word nymph.
Reminders: It’s never too late to jump on the Thor tour. All you need to do is drop me a line. Thor has his own page now, by which you can track his progress, catch up on older updates, or just check out fun trivia, videos, and pictures that will be added to on a regular basis. Check it out! Find the link at the top of the page. We should be hearing from our guy real soon. Look for the next check-in this Wednesday, the 17th.
Also, this blog will be relocating to a self-hosted site at some point during the month of November. I hope you’ll follow us to the new digs. My fabulous designer, Laird Sapir, and I have some pretty amazing ideas (I think) and I hope you’ll enjoy what we create there.
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