A variation is found in The Kingis Quair, a 15th-century poem attributed to James I of Scotland, in which Cupid has three arrows: gold, for a gentle "smiting" that is easily cured; the more compelling silver; and steel, for a love-wound that never heals.
complaining that so small a creature shouldn't cause such painful wounds.
In contemporary popular culture, Cupid is shown drawing his bow to inspire romantic love, often as an icon of Valentine's Day.
It is the first of several unsuccessful or tragic love affairs for Apollo.
In other contexts, Cupid with a dolphin recurs as a playful motif, as in garden statuary at Pompeii that shows a dolphin rescuing Cupid from an octopus, or Cupid holding a dolphin.
The dolphin, often elaborated fantastically, might be constructed as a spout for a fountain.
Venus laughs, and points out the poetic justice: he too is small, and yet delivers the sting of love.
The story was first told about Eros in the Idylls of Theocritus (3rd century BC). The untiring deceiver concocted another battle-plan: he lurked beneath the carnations and roses and when a maiden came to pick them, he flew out as a bee and stung her.