Page:Freud - The interpretation of dreams.djvu/421

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VII

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF THE DREAM ACTIVITIES

Among the dreams which I have heard from others there is one which at this point is especially worthy of our attention. It was told to me by a female patient who in turn had heard it in a lecture on dreams. Its original source is unknown to me. This dream evidently made a deep impression upon the lady, as she went so far as to imitate it, i.e. to repeat the elements of this dream in a dream of her own in order to express by this transference her agreement with it in a certain point.

The essential facts of this illustrative dream are as follows: For days and nights a father had watched at the sick-bed of his child. After the child died, he retired to rest in an adjoining room, leaving the door ajar, however, so as to enable him to look from his room into the other, where the corpse lay surrounded by burning candles. An old man, who was left as a watch, sat near the corpse murmuring prayers. After sleeping a few hours the father dreamed that the child stood near his bed clasping his arms and calling out reproachfully, "Father, don't you see that I am burning?" The father woke and noticed a bright light coming from the adjoining room. Rushing in, he found the old man asleep, and the covers and one arm of the beloved body burned by the fallen candle.

The meaning of this affecting dream is simple enough, and the explanation given by the lecturer, as my patient reported it, was correct. The bright light coming through the open door into the eyes of the sleeper produced the same impression on him as if he had been awake; namely, that a fire had been started near the corpse by a falling candle. It is quite possible that on going to sleep he feared that the aged guardian was not equal to his task.

We can find nothing to change in this interpretation. We can add only that the contents of the dream must be over-

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