two weeks ago? I cannot say. One does not often remember what they dreamed or
when they dreamed it beyond the first cup of coffee in the morning.) It seems
almost too bold to say “I dreamed.”
The dreamer is actually not the active subject but, instead, the passive
object of the dream. The dreamer neither plans nor directs the dream. He just
goes along for the ride. But in this case, it was rather a nightmare instead of
a dream. (Why a female horse is saddled with the blame for galloping off with a
sleeper where he knows not, is beyond me.)
Nevertheless, in the dream, I came upon a
bard. For it was a medieval dream and a medieval bard. He sang about a glorious
land. But his was a requiem for a lost
age and a lost people.
The land he lamented was golden and wide.
It was blessed with great mountains and furrowed plains and thick forests and a
roaring river. And that golden land was dotted with homes. And each home was a
castle. And each castle had a knight and a maiden, and sons and daughters. The
castles were as varied as the people. Some were of stone, some of wood, and some
of iron. But each was sturdy and
proud. And each knight had steel in his hand and iron in his spine. And each
maiden wove the fabric of their clothes and the fabric of their
The land was happy and fruitful. But a
great red dragon slithered through the forest and came upon that blessed land in
its twilight. And the dragon cast a spell upon the land (it seems curious that
spells are always cast and never
tossed or thrown or lobbed). And the land began to shrink, and shrink, and
shrink; the great mountains became hillocks; and the thick forests became modest
orchards; and the roaring river was humbled to a sighing brook.
The land was so diminished by the dragon’s spell that it seemed to be
smaller even than that green Irish Isle upon the
But the Bard’s sorrow was not so much for
the land, but for its people. For they were not diminished in size, but in
heart. (He did not tell me this. But I felt it. One learns that about dreams.
Some things one just knows.)
The bard was broken over the brokenness of
the land and its people. The knights of the land were mostly gone. Only a
remnant, a septet, remained. There were homes but no more castles in the land.
And a new king came upon the throne in its hour of need. He spoke well. He
certainly dressed well. (Kings and queens always dress well, especially in
dreams.) He sat well. But he was really a knave. And he surrounded himself with
princes, who were really knaves in disguise. And he had a
The king ordered his craftsman (whom the
bard kept calling crafty men) to build larger and more magnificent castles. The
new architecture went up swiftly. And the king decreed that all the younglings
of the land be gathered into his castles. He sent his court jesters throughout
his diminished land to entertain them with stories and juggling balls of red and
blue and silver and gold.
It happened upon a bright morning in that
land, that a black rider upon a black horse rode up to one of the king’s castles
in one of the quieter provinces of that provincial land. He had no shield
because he had nothing to defend. But he did have a blade hanging from his belt.
(At this point in my dream, if a dream has a point, the bard began to weep. I
remember imploring him to go on with his story. How long he wept, I know not.
But then time seems not to matter in dreams anyway.) The black rider dismounted,
strode up to the castle wall, and cut a hole in it with his giant blade. As it
turns out, this wall, indeed, all of the castle walls, of this castle, and all
the king’s castles, were made simply of paper. It was stiff paper like card
stock, and richly colored and textured paper, but paper none-the-less. As the
black rider burst through the gap in the castle wall, he dropped his disguise,
which was an ingenious disguise, and revealed his black scales and claws
beneath. For, the bard told me, that black rider was really a dragon. (It seems
to me a great author once wrote that nothing is as it seems. He certainly must
have known his dreams, if he knew nothing else.) The black dragon proceeded to
eat the children in the castle in great gulps. And when the king’s champion
finally arrived in the province in answer to the cries of the children, the
dragon promptly ate himself. In the distant sky, sounded crackling, like
thunder, or was it the snickering of a great
The bard then related the deep sorrow in
that shrunken land, like Rachel weeping for her children, who would not be
comforted, because they were not, because they were eaten by Herod that great
The men and maidens of the land now petitioned the king to once again promote knights and allow them to build the former castles of stone, and wood, and iron. But he would not. For you see, the
knave king was more fearful of his own knights whom he could see than he was of
dragons whom he didn’t see. In fact, the final blow that broke the land and
broke the heart of the bard in my dream, was the day that the king and his
princes broke the swords of the last seven
How absurd. A land without castles, and homes without knights. How terribly absurd.
But, then I realized, it was only a dream.