PHANTASTIC DREAMS – Dream I: A FOREST dream meaning

Soon after getting into bed one night (in January, 1908), I fell into a deep, blank sleep, from which I was abruptly torn to find myself at the entrance to a forest, a forest I knew, by sight, only too well. It was the forest of Trouble, and, willy-nilly, I had to enter it. On all sides, leviathan trees of the blackest ebony shot up hundreds of feet heavenwards, permitting only the feeblest rays of light to penetrate through their forked branches. What species of trees they were I do not know, for nothing I had seen outside my dreams resembled them. Their trunks were smooth, and in their mirror-like surfaces I could see reflected the workings of their innermost organs, whilst the rising and falling of their hollow voices was wafted down to me from on high, like the murmuring of wind from some mountain top. Nimble hands guided me to a path, and, after setting me in my course, left me to pursue my way as best I could. Plunging irresolutely into the gloom, I followed the winding of the path with considerable uneasiness, fearing to tread lest I should be precipitated into some abyss, and momentarily anticipating the appearance of the strange and uncouth race of people, previous experience had told me inhabited the wood. On and on I went, my fears increasing with the gloom, which, at last, became so impenetrable that I was compelled to halt. I could see nothing, nothing but the faint glimmer of tree trunks; for the rest, all was blackness. I was then suddenly whisked off my feet by a body that shot precipitately between my legs, and, with the wind howling like ten thousand demons through my ears, I was borne through space. For a long period all was turmoil, speed, and darkness; I could feel a thousand objects brush against me, hear the jarring echoes and vibrations of a thousand voices, and then — in one brief instant — all had changed. It was light, a peculiar phosphorous glow pervaded everything, and I found myself in a new plane sitting astride a gigantic beetle with all the trees in the forest running after me. I say “running,” for they all had legs, long and spidery legs, and arms too, whilst their stature having considerably decreased, their proportions differed little from that of tall human beings. As they ran they all laughed, a deep mechanical “Ha, ha, ha!” and raising their hands above their heads, they waved them menacingly at me. But the beetle bore me gallantly on, and, despite the desperate efforts the trees made to overtake us, we still maintained our lead. We had progressed a considerable way in this manner, when I suddenly saw, stretched across our track, a white coffin which rose up on end, and shook off its lid, and disclosed to my startled eyes a man, clad from head to foot in red tights. Stepping out from his prison, he placed his fingers in his mouth and whistled shrilly, whereupon the scene once more changed and I found myself back again in the forest, sitting at the foot of a huge, black tree, with the red man opposite me. “You are fond of music? He said,” Then listen!” and placing a flute to his lips, he blew. The most ghastly, the most hellish of noises rang through the forest, and, ere my shocked senses had time to recover I found myself once again in motion — this time on my own legs — with all the trees, headed by the red man, in hot pursuit of me. On and on I tore, till just as I was on the verge of falling, hopelessly dead beat, and a vast green sea rose up silently before me, and, stumbling into it, I awoke.The significance of the vivid colouring in this dream may be interpreted thus: The black of the trees portended illness, which was speedily verified in the long and protracted illness of my wife; the red of the man foretold change, which was verified in my abandoning the scholastic profession for that of the pen; and the green of the sea predicted success in one or other of the arts, which prediction was fulfilled in the success of the book I was then compiling.

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