"The living death stood there and, in a sleepy voice and with a tongue only half awake, began to speak"

 

   The sage Merlin, in his familiar form as friend and advisor to King Arthur, was amalgamated from various strands of history and legend by the 12th-century scholar Geoffrey of Monmouth.  Passing through the hands of the authors of various chivalric romances, his history was fragmented into a number of different versions.  Cervantes alludes to this ambiguity in the chivalric canon, his play-acted Merlin refuting the popular tale of his being sired by a demon as a scandalous lie "that passing years have authorized". 

Online edition of Geoffrey of Monmouth's 'Historia Regum Britanniae', translated by A. Thompson (1842)