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Shapeshifters: Tales from Ovid’s Metamorphoses


Silver Jove decided to rule the Earth –

he was bored and wanted something to do.

He made springtime shorter, to share the year

with winter, summer and autumn too.


For the first time the white-hot sun

blazed down from a merciless sky.

The first frost fell and the whole land

turned stony as the snow began to fly.


The good, gold folk who lived in caves

bright with paintings and golden laughter

were replaced by silver ones not as good,

but better than the bronze ones who came after.


These Silver Age people needed houses.

They had to plant acorns to grow an oak

and plough their fields laboriously

with bullocks under a heavy yoke.


From Shapeshifters: Tales from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Retold by Adrian Mitchell and illustrated by Alan Lee. Copyright © Frances Lincoln Ltd 2009. This material may be used, reproduced, communicated and adapted free of charge for non-commercial educational purposes until 31 August 2018.