Once upon a time there was born a boy-child -- with a magic shadow. The birth, on the night of a new moon, took place down a narrow alley. The sun never penetrated there beyond the third-storey windows -- which is why the charwoman, his mother, was so long in discovering her child's strange gift. One day, when she and her boy were out playing, the boy stopped for a moment. He stood and smiled at her with the sun at his back -- and his shadow lay upon the whitened steps. But the silhouette was not that of a little breeched boy at all, "but of a little girl in petticoats" -- with long curls, where the charwoman's son was close-cropped! "The Magic Shadow" is one of the dozen-plus stories of everyday life -- and of not-so-everyday delight and wonder -- in "Naughts and Crosses," by the author of "The Splendid Spur."