Proteus was an ancient Greek god also known as the old man of the sea. He served as a shepherd for the sea god Neptune*, watching over his flocks of seals. In return, Neptune gave Proteus the gift of prophecy.
prophecy foretelling of what is to come; also something that is predicted
Proteus possessed knowledge of all things—past, present, and future—but was reluctant to reveal his knowledge. He would answer questions only if caught. The only way to catch him was to sneak up on him at noontime when he took his daily nap. However, Proteus also had the ability to change shape at will. Once he was seized, it was necessary to hold him tightly until he returned to his natural form. Then he would answer any question put to him. The legend of Proteus gave rise to the term protean, which means able to assume different forms.