Page:American Journal of Psychology Volume 21.djvu/272

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Did some one come out also in this case? This question was followed by the remark, “No, no, the stork brought down the little brother from heaven.” What is there peculiar about the fact that nobody came out of the nurse? We recall that Anna identified herself with the nurse and planned to become a nurse later, for,—she, too, would like to have a child, and she could have one as well as the nurse. But now when it is known that the little brother grew in mama, how is it now?

This disquieting question is averted by a quick return to the stork-angel theory which has never been really believed and which after a few trials is at last definitely abandoned. Two questions, however, remain in the air. The first reads as follows: Where does the child come out? The second, a considerably more difficult one, reads: How does it happen that mama has children while the nurse and the servants do not? All these questions did not at first manifest themselves.

On the day following the explanation while at dinner, Anna spontaneously remarked: “My brother is in Italy, and has a house of cloth and glass, but it does not tumble down.”

In this case as in the others it was impossible to ask for an explanation; the resistances were too great and Anna could not be drawn into conversation. This former, officious and pretty explanation is very significant. For some three months the two sisters had been building a stereotyped fanciful conception of a “big brother.” This brother knows everything, he can do and has everything, he has been and is in every place where the children are not; he is owner of great cows, oxen, horses, dogs; everything is his, etc. Each sister has such a “big brother.” We must not look far for the origin of this fancy; the model for it is the father who seems to correspond to this conception: he seems to be like a brother to mama. The children, too, have their similar powerful “brother.” This brother is very brave; he is at present in dangerous Italy and inhabits an impossible fragile house, and it does not tumble down. For the child this realizes an important wish. The earthquake is no longer to be dangerous. As a consequence of this the child’s fear disappeared and stayed away. The fear of earthquakes now entirely vanished. Instead of calling her father to her bed to conjure away the fear, she now became very affectionate and begged him every night to kiss her.

In order to test this new state of affairs the father showed her pictures illustrating volcanoes and earthquake devastations. Anna remained unaffected, she examined the pictures with indifference, remarking, “These people are dead; I have already seen that quite often.” The picture of a volcanic eruption no longer had any attraction for her. Thus all her scientific interest collapsed and vanished as suddenly as it came. During