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- Dreams and Dream Stories - 4/44 -
indeed, to be limitless in height. Upon this wall was written in great black letters-- "There is no way out."
Overwhelmed with despair and anguish, I fell upon the stones of the street, repeating aloud "There is no way out."
- Hinton, Jan. 1877
V. The Bird and the Cat *
I dreamt that I had a beautiful bird in a cage, and that the cage was placed on a table in a room where there was a cat. I took the bird out of the cage and put him on the table. Instantly the cat sprang upon
----------------- * This dream and the next occurred at a moment when it had almost been decided to relax the rule of privacy until then observed in regard to our psychological experiences, among other ways, by submitting them to some of the savants of the Paris Faculty,--a project of which these dreams at once caused the abandonment. This was not the only occasion on which a dream bore a twofold aspect, being a warning or a prediction, according to the heed given to it. (Ed.) ------------------
him and seized him in her mouth. I threw myself upon her and strove to wrest away her prey, loading her with reproaches and bewailing the fate of my beautiful bird. Then suddenly some one said to me, "You have only yourself to blame for this misfortune. While the bird remained in his cage he was safe. Why should you have taken him out before the eyes of the cat?"
VI. The Treasure in the Lighted House
A second time I dreamt, and saw a house built in the midst of a forest. It was night, and all the rooms of the house were brilliantly illuminated by lamps. But the strange thing was that the windows were without shutters, and reached to the ground. In one of the rooms sat an old man counting money and jewels on a table before him. I stood in the spirit beside him, and presently heard outside the windows a sound of footsteps and of men's voices talking together in hushed tones. Then a face peered in at the lighted room, and I became aware that there were many persons assembled without in the darkness, watching the old man and his treasure. He also heard them, and rose from his seat in alarm, clutching his gold and gems and endeavoring to hide them.
"Who are they?" I asked him. He answered, his face white with terror; "They are robbers and assassins. This forest is their haunt. They will murder me, and seize my treasure." "If this be so," said I, "why did you build your house in the midst of this forest, and why are there no shutters to the windows? Are you mad, or a fool, that you do not know every one can see from without into your lighted rooms?" He looked at me with stupid despair. "I never thought of the shutters," said he.
As we stood talking, the robbers outside congregated in great numbers, and the old man fled from the room with his treasure bags into another apartment. But this also was brilliantly illuminated within, and the windows were shutterless. The robbers followed his movements easily, and so pursued him from room to room all round the house. Nowhere had he any shelter. Then came the sound of gouge and mallet and saw, and I knew the assassins were breaking into the house, and that before long, the owner would have met the death his folly had invited, and his treasure would pass into the hands of the robbers.
--Paris, Aug. 3, 1877
VII. The Forest Cathedral
I found myself--accompanied by a guide, a young man of Oriental aspect and habit--passing through long vistas of trees which, as we advanced, continually changed in character. Thus we threaded avenues of English oaks and elms, the foliage of which gave way as we proceeded to that of warmer and moister climes, and we saw overhead the hanging masses of broad-leaved palms, and enormous trees whose names I do not know, spreading their fingered leaves over us like great green hands in a manner that frightened me. Here also I saw huge grasses which rose over my shoulders, and through which I had at times to beat my way as through a sea; and ferns of colossal proportions; with every possible variety and mode of tree-life and every conceivable shade of green, from the faintest and clearest yellow to the densest blue-green. One wood in particular I stopped to admire. It seemed as though every leaf of its trees were of gold, so intensely yellow was the tint of the foliage.
In these forests and thickets were numerous shrines of gods such as the Hindus worship. Every now and then we came upon them in open spaces. They were uncouth and rudely painted; but they all were profusely adorned with gems, chiefly turquoises, and they all had many arms and hands, in which they held lotus flowers, sprays of palms, and colored berries.
Passing by these strange figures, we came to a darker part of our course, where the character of the trees changed and the air felt colder. I perceived that a shadow had fallen on the way; and looking upwards I found we were passing beneath a massive roof of dark indigo-colored pines, which here and there were positively black in their intensity and depth. Intermingled with them were firs, whose great, straight stems were covered with lichen and mosses of beautiful variety, and some looking strangely like green ice-crystals.
Presently we came to a little broken-down rude kind of chapel in the midst of the wood. It was built of stone; and masses of stone, shapeless and moss-grown, were lying scattered about on the ground around it. At a little rough-hewn altar within it stood a Christian priest, blessing the elements. Overhead, the great dark sprays of the larches and cone-laden firs swept its roof. I sat down to rest on one of the stones, and looked upwards a while at the foliage. Then turning my gaze again towards the earth, I saw a vast circle of stones, moss-grown like that on which I sat, and ranged in a circle such as that of Stonehenge. It occupied an open space in the midst of the forest; and the grasses and climbing plants of the place had fastened on the crevices of the stones.
One stone, larger and taller than the rest, stood at the junction of the circle, in a place of honor, as though it had stood for a symbol of divinity. I looked at my guide, and said, " Here, at least, is an idol whose semblance belongs to another type than that of the Hindus." He smiled, and turning from me to the Christian priest at the altar, said aloud, "Priest, why do your people receive from sacerdotal hands the bread only, while you yourselves receive both bread and wine?" And the priest answered, "We receive no more than they. Yes, though under another form, the people are partakers with us of the sacred wine with its particle. The blood is the life of the flesh, and of it the flesh is formed, and without it the flesh could not consist. The communion is the same."
Then the young man my guide turned again to me and waved his hand towards the stone before me. And as I looked the stone opened from its summit to its base; and I saw that the strata within had the form of a tree, and that every minute crystal of which it was formed, --particles so fine that grains of sand would have been coarse in comparison with, them,--and every atom composing its mass, were stamped with this same tree-image, and bore the shape of the ice-crystals, of the ferns and of the colossal palm-leaves I had seen. And my guide said, "Before these stones were, the Tree of Life stood in the midst of the Universe."
And again we passed on, leaving behind us the chapel and the circle of stones, the pines and the firs: and as we went the foliage around us grew more and more stunted and like that at home. We traveled quickly; but now and then, through breaks and openings in the woods, I saw solitary oaks standing in the midst of green spaces, and beneath them kings giving judgment to their peoples, and magistrates administering laws.
At last we came to a forest of trees so enormous that they made me tremble to look at them. The hugeness of their stems gave them an unearthly appearance; for they rose hundreds of feet from the ground before they burst out far, far above us, into colossal masses of vast-leaved foliage. I cannot sufficiently convey the impressions of awe with which the sight of these monster trees inspired me. There seemed to me something pitiless and phantom-like in the severity of their enormous bare trunks, stretching on without break or branch into the distance--overhead, and there at length giving birth to a sea of dark waving plumes, the rustle of which reached my ears as the sound of tossing waves.
Passing beneath these vast trees we came to others of smaller growth, but still of the same type,--straight-stemmed, with branching foliage at their summit. Here we stood to rest, and as we paused I became aware that the trees around me were losing their color, and turning by imperceptible degrees into stone. In nothing was their form or position altered; only a cold, grey hue overspread them, and the intervening spaces between their stems became filled up, as though by a cloud which gradually grew substantial. Presently I raised my eyes, and lo! overhead were the arches of a vast cathedral, spanning the sky and hiding it from my sight. The tree stems had become tall columns of grey stone; and their plumed tops, the carven architraves and branching spines of Gothic sculpture. The incense rolled in great dense clouds to their outstretching arms, and, breaking against them, hung in floating, fragrant wreaths about their carven sprays. Looking downwards to the altar, I found it covered with flowers and plants and garlands, in the midst of which stood a great golden crucifix, and I turned to my guide wishing to question him, but he had disappeared, and I could not find him. Then a vast crowd of worshipers surrounded me, a priest before the altar raised the pyx and the patten in his hands. The people fell
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