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Little Nemo's Bed

Drawn c.1906 by Winsor McCay

Winsor McCay's famous Sunday comics page of Little Nemo's bed going out for a gallop.


The World Dream Bank normally sticks to dreams known to be real. I made an exception here--whether or not McCay ever dreamt anything like it, this iconic page is one of the best known works of art depicting a dream, and a good example of McCay's notions of dreaming--full of exaggeration, but really requiring no expert interpretation a la Freud.

Nemo's a timid child, but he's not alone in his galloping bed; his recurrent dream frenemy Flip is there, luring him (as usual) into adventures and testing limits.

Nemo: "I wish I were brave like you!"
Flip: "A whole lot of people are wishing the same thing!"
Flip's disruptive in many dreams, but consistently braver than Nemo--a Freudian id, or a Jungian shadow, embodying energy Nemo at first fears but slowly (through Little Nemo's long run) learns to value.

And the high-spirited bed-horse is much the same. It runs wild, climbs too high and stumbles; but as Flip puts it, "A bed likes to get out once in a while!"

--Chris Wayan

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