Huntsmen not infrequently figure in my dreams. On July 1st, 1909, I dreamed I was standing on the veranda of a house, overlooking a neatly kept lawn and a broad white carriage drive, beyond which was a spinney. It was a beautiful evening, and every object stood out with startling perspicuity in the powerful moonlight. Whilst I was gazing admiringly at the transcendental loveliness of the landscape, I felt a soft hand laid caressingly on my arm, and, on looking round, saw a lady clad in the costume of the middle ages. As she often figures in my dreams, I was in no degree astonished at her appearance. ”How romantic we are!” she said, with a smile; “I was quite under the impression that lingering so long in a great city had spoilt you for the pleasures of the country. With me it is too much country, I long for the town for the theatre! Cannot we go there tonight?” ” Tonight!” I ejaculated; “say rather tomorrow!””No! Tonight” she answered, with a pout of her pretty lips;” you always try to disappoint me but I will have my way this time, you shall see! I will summon the horses!” She clapped her tiny, bejewelled hands together as she spoke. There was a loud clatter of hoofs, and the next instant two silver-grey, fiery-eyed horses trotted in at the front gates and galloped across the lawn. “Come!” she cried, seizing me by the arm, “let us be off at once!” Yielding to her wishes, I followed her out of the house and on to the lawn, where the steeds stood impatiently pawing the ground. Leaping nimbly on to one of them, she looked down at me with an artful smile on her bewitching lips, and crying out: “Through the wood! Through the wood! Beware of the huntsman in the green hood!” struck the animal across the neck with her whip and was off like an arrow, whilst the sound of her words “Through the wood I through the wood!” etc., echoed and re-echoed through the still night air till every stone, and stick, and blade of grass seemed to take it and bellow it in my ears. It was in vain I tried to mount and follow. Every time I tried to get my foot in the stirrup, the beast slipped away from me, and I narrowly escaped a tumble. At last, in desperation, I made a frantic rush, but my steed melted into nothingness, and the next moment I found myself racing through the spinney in hot pursuit of my wayward companion. On and on I tore but no sign of the horse and its rider, only the shadows from the great, gaunt trees that stole out one by one to look at me. At length I came to an opening in the wood, in the centre of which was a fountain; and standing by it, with his back to me, I saw the figure of a man in a tight-fitting suit of Lincoln green, his head covered with a hood, a quiver full of arrows at his side, and a bow in his right hand. At the sight of him my heart leaped into my mouth, for I guessed, at once, he was the huntsman of whom I had so emphatically been told to beware. Had I not been prevented by one of those spells so common in dreams, I should have turned back, but try how I would I could not stir from the spot, and I had no choice other than to stand there, sick with suspense and trepidation. Though I had not as yet seen it, the face of the huntsman was what I feared most. It is the faces always the faces of these grotesque-looking individuals in my dreamland that are so alarming. As minute after minute passed and still he did not turn round, my anticipation at length grew to such a pitch that, unable to restrain myself any longer, I shrieked to heaven for pity; upon which he swung round and his countenance was fully revealed. So strong were the moonbeams far stronger than they are in actuality that every feature in his face stood out as clearly as if I had seen them through a magnifying-glass. The nose was hawk-like, prominent and curved, the chin long and pointed, the eyebrows black and slanting; and the eyes God help me! only a lurid, Satanic glitter proceeding from the innermost recesses of the skull. The face was fleshless and the skin, which was white and luminous, hung closely to the bones, which in places had broken completely through it. It was the face of the long since dead animated by the spirit of a devil, and I doubt if even the Hell of Dante could show such another. Familiar as I was with the sight of ghastly phantasms of all kinds, I had never seen one that impressed me with quite such a terror as this, and, as it glided slowly towards me with out-stretched arms, I verily believe my heart would have burst asunder and I should have died in my sleep, had not the spell that held me limb-tied been suddenly broken. With wild shrieks of despair I fled away, and from behind every bush and tree darted, similarly apparelled, huntsmen in close pursuit. Every now and then, there was a loud twang and an arrow whizzed past my ears, whilst all my pursuers joined in shouting at the top of their harsh, shrill voices! Through the wood; through the wood! Beware of the huntsman in the green hood. With their shouts ringing louder and louder in my ears, I was fast coming to an end of my tether, when there was a blinding flash of jagged, blood-red lightning, and I found myself in the market square of a mediaeval town. The place was full of people, all wearing green costumes of the fashion of the fifteenth century, and on my appearance, they all began to dance. Not a word was spoken by anyone, and not a sound was heard beyond the incessant tapping of feet on the cobble-stones, which continued until, as if in obedience to some unheard command, everyone was suddenly motionless. There was then a great stir and the crowd, moving away, bore me with them through innumerable streets streets that, narrow and winding, and crossing each other irregularly in all directions, were in reality alleys. The houses in them were fantastically picturesque. At all the windows stood, or leaned, men, and women, and queer looking things for which I can find no suitable name they were part human and part animal and all shouted, and yelled, and gesticulated, regardless of sense and order. At last, when the confusion had reached a climax, the crowd, again obeying some secret order, dived up another street, and the most deathlike hush ensued. Then, from far away in the distance, came the pattering of many soft-clad feet, and a long procession filed past me knights in armour on richly caparisoned horses, standard bearers, palanquins, litters with fair-haired ladies, men-at-arms, archers, drums, trumpets, spears, silver and gilded maces, troupe after troupe of merry-eyed dancing girls, followed by a hundred or so of the same queer-looking creatures I saw at the windows, carrying triangles in one hand and scales in the other; and last last of all mounted on a gigantic white horse, the tall and gaunt figure of Death. He wore nothing save two long, green feathers which waved to and fro, in the most ludicrous fashion, as he bowed his fleshless head, first on one side and then on the other, in gracious acknowledgment of the salutes of the people. And what a reception he had! A reception in which everyone joined, young and old, rich and poor, from those on the housetops, and balconies , and in doorways, and windows, even to those in the procession itself! One and all shouted and cheered, clapped, stamped, and yelled with glee; and then then without the slightest warning the air resounded with shrieks of terror, and, on straining my neck to perceive the cause, I saw advancing up the street towards where I stood dozens of green clad huntsmen, who were discharging their arrows indiscriminately at the revellers. In less time than it takes to tell the crowd vanished, and I found myself flying through street after street, now all silent and deserted, pursued by the huntsmen, whose hoarse cries curdled my blood. At last I came to a vast, white building, and across it was written in blood-red letters, The Fountain Theatre. Without stopping to ask permission, into it I dashed. A play was going on, and as I entered everyone including the performers, shook their fists at me and hooted. Then, like magic, the place emptied and I found myself the only audience present sitting in the front row of the stalls, gazing at the stage, which, like the entire auditorium, was bathed in funereal gloom. Presently a hollow sounding clock boomed twelve, and, ere the last notes had died away, the orchestra filled with vast formless things that, seating themselves, evidently in their accustomed places, at the signal of their conductor beat their spectral palms frantically together. On to the stage from either wing there then wriggled and writhed in ghastly imitation of worms, shapes which suggested more than I dare to name and which I shrank from analysing. And whilst they were in the midst of their hateful evolutions, a cloud of arrows suddenly burst upon them, and, on looking round, I saw, to my terror, that boxes, circles, and gallery were filled with huntsmen, who now levelled their bows at me. A thousand burning pains rushed through my body, and as the agony of my soul found vent in one loud and final scream of horror and despair, I rose to my feet, staggered forward, tottered, and, amidst the discordant hum of harsh, inhuman voices woke. The significant features of this dream, which I am now able to interpret, are as follows: The white steeds signify preservation from danger; the green in the costumes of the huntsmen, and in the plumes of Death, signify the advent of some psychic experience; the figure of Death points to a birth, engagement, or marriage; the triangles are symbolic of the counteracting of evil by good influences; the dancing, of impending minor disappointments; the mimicry of worms, of recovery from illness, and success in histrionic.My dream was fulfilled within a week in the following manner: I narrowly escaped a serious accident; I heard of the engagement of the sister of my greatest friend to a man of exceptionally fine character; I encountered evil influences, which I succeeded in dispelling, in a haunted house; I was unable to accept an oiler from a firm, with whom I had particularly wished to publish, owing to lack of time; and I took part, unexpectedly, in a theatrical performance that was voted a great success.
Read more about dreaming of PHANTASTIC DREAMS – Dream VII: DREAMLAND HUNTSMEN in other dream meanings interpretations.