Children’s dreams are very similar to those of an adult. It is only that a child is facing slightly different problems that changes the themes. Or at least they are probably the same problems but at a different level and from a different degree of experience. For the following dreams I am indebted to Liz Hayes, a schoolteacher, who collected them for me from a class of schoolchildren. All the dreams are from girls about the age of twelve.
‘I am going to tell you about my dream I had last night. It started when 1 went for a walk in a park near my home. Well, I was happy that day, then all of a sudden a man came out of a bush and got me by my hand. I hit him that hard he let me go and I ran as fast as I could. He came running after me. I ran to the Park keeper but he wasn’t there and I got scared. I could have cried. Then I saw an old lady and I ran up to her but she was death. Then I ran to a telephone box and phoned the police. They came and got the man and took him to prison and I got a reward.’
This is either a fear of assault, or what is more likely a representation of her own sexual desires. As yet they are too big to deal with or handle on a relationship level. Several methods are tried, and in the end, moral conscience locks the man up safely.
‘One night I dreamt that I was drowning on a boat and there were strong winds blowing against the ship. I was the only one on the boat and the ship was nearly touching the sea and the waves were over the boat and suddenly the boat went over and I fell out of the boat and the waves came right over my head, then I was screaming and shouting for help and then I found myself awake.’
Obviously things are a bit rough going for this young girl. A boat usually represents the frail craft of our personality structure, with which we set sail on the sea of life.
‘One night I had a strange dream that I was walking down a dark road on my way home from my friend’s when a car drew near me. I began to run up an entry and when I reached the bottom of the entry I saw two men with stockings over their faces. I ran back but the man in the car was behind me and I bumped into him. I dreamed that he stabbed me with his knife and dragged me in his car. Then I woke up very scared.’
Shades of Freud? No comment!
‘I had a dream and this is what it was about. There were some men who threw me down an attic window. The attic was only about one and a half yards wide, but it was very high. I landed on the floor and there was my aunt with her little baby in her arms sitting on a chair. There was no other furniture and the attic was painted all white. There was a very big fierce lion there. I screamed and yelped as the lion came at me. The lion sprang on me and I died. As it was a funny dream I came alive again. The lion sprang at me again. I started shouting and screaming. There was blood bleeding all over. Then I woke up. In the morning my Mom said, “I heard you screaming and shouting for help.” I told her about the nightmare.’
This dream by a young Indian girl possibly represents jealousy over the affection given to a baby. The other dreams in the 31 sent to me deal almost entirely with violence, drowning, assault or chasing.