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The Legend of the Laurel
The Legend of Laurel Apollo

The sun god Apollo, the son of the chief god Zeus, used to travel across the sky every morning with his golden chariot drawn by four divine horses. One day, while he was wandering around in his golden chariot, he came across the baby-faced Cupid Eros, who had a bow and arrow in his hand. Looking at the bow and arrow in the hand of Eros, Apollo could not help himself and asked the God of Love; “O god of love! These war vehicles do not fit your hand. If you give them to me, I'll use them on the battlefield. You know, my arrows can hit anything.”

    Eros, the God of Love, who was very angry with these words, also said to Apollo; “O God of the Sun, strong and wise Apollo! Your arrows can hit anything, but you mustn't forget that my arrows can hit you too." He replied and left there with thoughts of taking revenge on Apollo one day.

    One day, while Apollo was walking in his green country, he saw the beautiful nymph Daphne wandering alone in the forest. As soon as he saw her, a shiver went through his whole body. In an ecstatic state, he began to watch this nymph, whose beauty made even the goddesses jealous. Watching these eyes from afar, Cupid Eros, thinking that it was time for revenge, drew an arrow of hate from among his arrows that only the gods of love could see, and thrust it into Daphne's heart. Daphne's heart, which had pierced into her heart with the divine arrows of Eros, is now closed in love on earth. Eros took the love arrow from his quiver and stuck it in Apollo's heart and went away. After that day, Daphne did not accept the marriage despite all the insistence of her family. This beautiful nymph went out to the forest every day and wandered around, admiring all the living things on earth. Apollo was also walking around the forest every day, watching this fascinating beauty secretly. Neither his success in battles nor his hunting sniping satisfied Apollo anymore. As the days passed, Apollon, who could not be content with watching Daphne from a distance, confronted Daphne.

    Seeing the God Apollo suddenly appearing in front of her, Daphne was frightened and started to run away. Realizing that Daphne was running away from him, Apollo started chasing her with words of love. Daphne, even more frightened by these words of love with the arrows of hate in her heart, continued to run away at full speed. After a while, Daphne, who got tired of running and could no longer run away, began to feel the burning divine breath of Apollo on her neck. His legs, which were trembling with exhaustion, were no longer able to support his body. She stopped suddenly and scratched the ground with her foot and cried out, "O mother earth, cover me, hide me, protect me". With this heartfelt plea, she suddenly began to feel heavy. His feet have slipped into the depths of the earth, his body has become encrusted, making all women jealous of the earth, and his hair, which makes all living things dizzy with its scent, has turned into leaves. Its slender, slender arms are elongated and turned into branches. Beautiful Daphne has turned into a laurel tree. Apollo, who was astonished at what he saw, hugged the laurel tree; “O beauties, I loved you very much, you didn't want me. From now on you will be my tree of honor, me and all the heroes will decorate themselves with the branches of your tree. I will crown the leaves of this tree, which has fragrant hair, on my head.” Daphne, who turned into a laurel tree upon these sincere and sweet words, bowed respectfully before Apollo. The place where this divine love story takes place is the Harbiye of today's Antakya, and the waterfalls of Harbiye are the tears shed by Apollo...