Medieval Arthurian legend
Of Arthour and of Merlin
14th century Middle English. National Library of Scotland MS Advocates 19.2.1, the Auchinleck Manuscript; Lincoln's Inn Library, Hale MS 150.
At once, the beggar changed his appearance and it was clear that it was indeed Merlin.
One day, King Uther Pendragon was so disgruntled and out of sorts that he took his chamberlain, Ulfin, out for a ride and they came upon a beggar. The man greeted the king graciously.
‘Beggar,’ the king replied, morosely, ‘I’ll tell you in all honesty, I haven’t anything to give you.’
‘Sir, tell me then, what is it that’s upsetting you? Why do you seem so pissed off with life?’
‘Ulfin, can you hear this beggar daring to speak to a king in this way?’
Ulfin looked at the beggar quizzically and guessed who he was.
‘Can you not see him winking at you, sir? It is a beggar of some distinction, I think, and it might cheer you up to know that it is Merlin.’
His semblaunt turned anon Merlin… At once, Merlin changed his appearance and it was clear that it was indeed him.