Apollo and Daphne
Apollo & Daphne statue by Gian Lorenzo Bernini
I love Greek Mythology. I especially love how these myths always have a strong message/moral on life.
My favorite myth is Apollo and Daphne.
Daphne was a beautiful nymph and the daughter of the river god, Peneus. She longed to remain free and unmarried and prayed to her father to help her remain so.
Apollo was the God of sun, music and knowledge. One day, he foolishly mocked Cupid for playing with bows and arrows - weapons which he believed should only be handled by experience warriors like himself.
Cupid took revenge upon Apollo by striking him with one of his arrows the moment Apollo feasted his eyes upon the nubile and beautiful Daphne. This made him fall in love with her instantly.
Apollo went into pursuit mode immediately, not realizing that he just fell in love with a girl who wanted to remain free forever. This was Cupid's cruel revenge.
Apollo chased after Daphne relentlessly. She teased him by flirting with him, only adding more fuel to his fire. One day, Apollo began running after Daphne and while running away, Daphne prayed to her father to turn her into a laurel tree. Just as Apollo caught up with her, her lower body began transforming into the bark and her arms into the branches. The story goes on to say that Apollo worshiped the laurel tree for the rest of his life.
The moral of the story is a commentary on pursuing pleasure for its own sake:
"Those who love to pursue fleeting forms of pleasure, in the end find only leaves and bitter berries in their hands."