In my Latin lessons, I have recently finished reading Ovid’s narration of the story of Apollo and Daphne, in which the origin of the Laurel or Daphne plant is revealed. However, a least a few parts of the tale itself seem a little strange.
When Daphne, the river Nymph- or daughter of the river Peneus, as she is known for most of the narration- runs from Apollo, she finds herself at the river Peneus and begs her father to change her form so that she will be saved from Apollo, which he does.
‘fer, pater, opem! Si flumina numen habetis, qua nimium placui, mutando perde figuram!’ (“Father, bring help! If you rivers have power, destroy my figure, by which I please too well, by alteration!”)
Now, that’s all well and good, but my plot-flaw/my objection to the plot comes in that the river-god does her no favours when he chooses to change her into a tree. Trees, of course, cannot flee from their predators.
My version of events:
(If there’s one thing I can do, it’s putting smiley faces on clip-art and editing pictures!)
Is this really what Daphne had in mind…?
Maybe rivers aren’t as clever as they think they are…
Whilst on Google searching for clipart, I actually found some quite good depictions of Daphne’s transformation, both ancient and modern. I did want to be a bit strange- I am strange at times- with my images here… Nevertheless, it seems that this rather odd tale has captured the imagination time and again.