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Fleeing from the god Apollo, the nymph Daphne was transformed by her father, a local river god, into the laurel tree, now sacred to Apollo, slayer of Python.
“The boy Apollo straightens in his mother Leto’s arms and lets fly an arrow at an enormous snake wrapped in huge coils around the dappled slopes of Delphi. The young Apollo, wavy, blond hair falling on his shoulders, chases after a young girl. Just as he is about to catch her, the girl turns into a laurel tree. Each of these actions is the shadow of the other. If we look carefully at Python, we can see the delicate Daphne in the snake. Looking at the laurel leaves, we can see the scales of Python.”
-Roberto Calasso, The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony, p. 147