Daphne was a Naiad nymph in Greek mythology; naiads were minor goddesses associated with fountains, wells, springs, and other types of freshwater bodies. She was the daughter of either the river god Peneus and Creusa, or the river god Ladon. According to the myth, she was beautiful and her beauty caught the attention of the god Apollo. Apollo, who according to some sources had been struck by one of Eros' love-inducing arrows, started chasing Daphne; she tried to evade him, and just before she was caught, she pleaded to her father Peneus or to the goddess Gaea to save her. Her pleads were heard and she was transformed into a laurel tree. The laurel became the sacred tree of Apollo; at the Pythian Games, held in honour of the god, winners were given a laurel crown; while Apollo's priestess at the oracle of Delphi, Pythia, went into a prophetic trance because of the smoke of burning laurel leaves.
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