Turnus’s messenger returns to his master to deliver the news of Diomedes’s refusal. On the way, he passes a cave where Pan now lives and where a bunch of nymphs used to live. Once, a shepherd had stumbled upon this cave and scared the nymphs away. When they realized the shepherd was harmless, they returned and struck up their dancing ritual. The shepherd jeered at their dancing and mimicked them, so they turned him into a bitter olive tree.
This interlude tells of another transformation that occurred nearby and contributes to the fact that everything in the world changes constantly. For a myriad of different reasons—punishment, preference, emotional extremity—creatures transform into new forms, reconstituting the world and unfolding its history.