Metamorphosis TWENTY ONE

Posted on 22nd May, 2019

Day 21


Two pieces today from the prompts on our FB page


Prompt 17 - With many ways of presenting yourself - how many different versions of you are there, and does anyone have the full picture? Do you?


Daft Wullie : Peter Burrows


As a boy there was no escaping the local tale. 

His ancestor, Daft Wullie, the keeper

of Castle Island boats was the one they said

gullible enough to be coaxed to smuggle

the key, to row her across the loch at night

setting her free to her fate. An undeserved title

bequeathed by hearsay, perhaps; four centuries’ mist

obscuring the ‘bastard orphan’. 16 years old, 


‘Wee Willie Douglas’, love-smit, hawked; a fool   

for her cause. The failed attempts. Banished twice.

Yet too much the knave to be doubted again -

Lost in the lore of an unforgiving view.

Behind the masque, he plays the part of courtly page

to the drunken Master. He drops the napkin,

swapping keys, rushing from hall to gaol.

The disguised Queen fleeing to his readied skiff. Locking


all behind, with their sunken boats. Halfway across,

she rises. Lifts her veil to her followers

ashore. By her side, William Douglas

throws the keys into the loch. From the castle

her watching captor, captive, incensed, attempts

to stab himself with his dagger. The oars

ripple out their moment in history.

The keys lost, until dredged centuries later. 




Daft Wullie was inspired by a classmate when I lived in Kinross. Loch Leven is where Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned for about 9 months until  she escaped aided by the illegitimate son of her keeper, Sir William Douglas. I didn't know much about the history being about 11 years old at the time when I learnt it. I was told by a friend that my classmate was an ancestor of 'Daft Wullie' who was remembered as a fool taken advantage of for helping Mary escape. In reality there was a lot of cunning involved. The idea that you had history going back 400 hundred years to somewhere we were just a stone's throw from fascinated me but my classmate was refused to talk about it. Later I found myself going back to the story when revisiting my childhood home and visiting the castle for the first time. The more I read, I discovered that ‘Daft Wullie’ had been unfairly characterised over the centuries.  I'd like to think that my classmate eventually found out the real story and became proud of his real ancestor rather than embarrassed at the thought of the mythologised one. P.B.



Loch Leven Castle where Mary Stwart was imprisoned




Prompt 23 : Kafka’s Metamorphosis : Susan Cartwight Smith


We were already transforming when we were told of a different way of being.

Our hard carapace had not yet formed, but some of us had dared to stretch our wings. Obviously a portion of us suffered damage while still delicate. Others flew unfettered.

We gathered together in our chittering mass, to muse on the best way to deal with this challenge to what we thought was normal, usual. Should we accept that life was now going to be different? Should we make an effort? The crik-crak of our spindle limbs tapped against each other while we chattered.

We knew that the ones who did not fly would be gobbled up, and never heard from. We knew that the ones who flew, however briefly, shone brightly. The ones whose wings unfurled in different colours or shapes, were viewed with suspicion – and some chose never to reveal their incongruousness, and kept their secrets hidden.

We had listened to the transformation story, and the creation story. We turned our jumbled heads this way and that. The world held its breath and waited – we were so many that our decision could change everything. Our actions could destroy the world, or create it anew.







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