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Sample a moment of magic realism from the Red Book of Hergest:On one side of the river he saw a flock of white sheep, and on the other a flock of black sheep. And whenever one of the white sheep bleated, one of the black sheep would cross over, and become white; and when one of the black sheep bleated, one of the white sheep would cross over, and become black.Before passing on to the Mabinogion proper, Lady Charlotte Guest devotes Volume I of her compilation of medieval Welsh tales to three brief romances of Arthur’s Court. The centrepiece is the story of Peredur, the Dumb Youth – known elsewhere as Perceval, Parzifal, the Holy Fool, et al.This is the violent world of satin-clad knights and their clashing encounters, peremptory slayings of giants and cave-dwelling monsters – a world where love is as sudden and final as death. (Introduction by Martin Geeson)
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