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The Boyo Who Lost His Shape

By Phil Knight (from Issue 11)

       Here is a tale from the Mabinogion

       sung to me by the bard Aneurin
       of Neil who could recast his shape.

       Just as a man on a hot day casts off
       his cloak, so Neil could shift his shape;
       this was a gift from the other world.

       In the Comrades Land he looked like
       a fire-breathing dragon,
       but he became a sheep in Saxon realms.

       When the Iron Lady of the Angles
       was attacked by the Westlanders
       he became a bag of wind and saved her.

       He could even make himself invisible.
       The men of the Hollow Hills did not see
       him at all during a year and day at war.

       He changed from Briton to Roman
       and they called him great in their
       Councils and Capitals.

       He had command of the nature of all animals,
       he spent much time in the form of an old goat,
       but his favourite shape was that of a fat cat.

       His finest trick was to turn himself
       inside out and people thought it was scarlet
       ermine and they called him a true Lord.

       He even passed his powers on
       to a second generation and the son
       is like the father in every way.

       One day Neil was trapped by a Mirror
       and there he saw he had no skin left
       and his skull was a gleaming Jewel.

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