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Rags to Riches:
A Fight for Love

Dreamed October 2006, by Hyal

I dreamed I was in modern times, but not our modern setting. We all dressed and acted as though we still were in the Middle Ages. I appeared as I normally do save for my clothing, which was of medieval style, and ragged. I was low-class--a street rat. My "job" was as a hired underground rapier-duelist for a highly respected kingpin, a man with many duelists working for him, including two or three prized fighters. I had never met him and was probably not even known to him.

All of the money I made fighting, I spent on classes from perhaps the most brilliant and prestigious rapier fighters in the kingdom, Lord Corvin and his wife, Lady Isabel. Under their tutelage, my fighting skills quickly improved; soon they offered me an assistant teacher's position. I accepted and began teaching new students, all the while taking advanced lessons from Corvin.

Early one morning I went into the school only to find it empty. Lady Isabel appeared and told me "The school is closed for the day, because the King is having a ball to find a husband for his daughter, who's come of age. Corvin and I have been formally invited because of our service to the crown."

Corvin, as one of the best fighters in the kingdom, had on more than one occasion defended the Crown at inter-kingdom competitions and had won many times. Because of this, Corvin was well known throughout the kingdom and was a great friend of the king's.

Hearing the news, I turned to leave, but Isabel stopped me. She said "Corvin and I would like it if you accompanied us to the ball as a representative of the school."

I looked at her skeptically and said "Come on, I'm a street rat. Even if I wanted to go, I'd have nothing to wear." She smiled, handed me a pouch of money, and said "Go buy a set of decent clothes, then."

So I did. I went out to the merchants' area and bought a plain black jerkin, a set of black pants, a large-sleeved poet-style green shirt, and a pair of tall leather boots. When I got done I found that I had money left over, so I bought a nice black-feathered hat.

I returned to the school, got washed up and dressed myself for the ball. I didn't like the clothes, they felt too restricting and fancy; I preferred my loose-fitting rags. Corvin and Isabel appeared a short while later, nodding their heads in approval at my new outfit, while I blushed and shook my head. Corvin went back to his sword rack and picked two beautiful rapiers. He handed me one. I drew the blade and tested its weight and balance. Perfect. Not only did it handle well, the hilt was marvelous, with rings that twisted and turned into patterns most extravagant.

I belted on the sword and went over to my small cubby area. While there I grabbed my dagger, the one piece of property that I owned. I do not know how I had acquired it but when I held it I felt strong and confident. It was a simple design, with an ebony handle and steel pommel. The quillions were short and curled in tightly, and the blade extended outwards between them. I belted the dagger as well as the sword, and looked to them with a nod.

Corvin led us to the school stables where the three of us mounted the most beautiful horses the school owned: white horses for Corvin and Isabel, and me on a black horse with a white mane, tail, and white hooves. We rode through the city streets and up a road that lead to the castle. I noticed people were staring at me--a man they recognized as a street rat, riding a magnificent horse beside the most respected Lord and Lady in the kingdom. Mouths gaped in disbelief, or tightened with jealousy and anger.

When we got to the castle, a gateman in fancy uniform greeted Corvin and Isabel and instructed another man to take our horses. As we dismounted our horses, the gateman shot me a nasty look. I shot one back at him and followed Corvin and Isabel in through the castle gates, across a courtyard full of splendidly trimmed bushes, and into the main ballroom.

When Corvin and Isabel entered the room, another man read aloud their names and everyone in the ballroom turned to the door and applauded. Corvin bowed and Isabel curtsied. And as they did that, I just stood there. After the applause died down, some of these people, too, began to stare at me as if I wasn't welcome.

One end of the ballroom had tables to sit down and eat at, while the rest was an open dance floor. We made our way to the tables, Corvin and Isabel bowing and curtsying to other nobles they passed and me simply absorbing many more stares.

We sat down at a table and some food was brought to us. The food was delicious. I hungrily gobbled up plate after plate, stuffing my face because the food was so good.

A little while later, Corvin stood up and said "I must pay my respects to His Majesty."

As he left, Isabel leaned over to me and asked "Are you all right now? You looked so uneasy at first."

I said "I was feeling nervous and out of place, but with all this food, it doesn't matter!" I continued my ravenous eating and just barely noticed when the horns blew to announce the arrival of the princess.

She came down the stairs wearing a long yellow and white elegant dress. Her long blonde hair flowed delicately down over her shoulders to right above her chest line. For the life of me, I cannot describe her face, but I was, and still am, in love with her.

I stopped eating and wiped my mouth, all the while staring at her. I left the table without a word to Isabel, because I didn't even consciously realize that she was still there, and made my way through the crowd to try to get a better look. There was a long line of suitors waiting to dance with the princess, but I didn't want to dance with her; I just wanted to watch as she moved gracefully around the room. She was so beautiful.

But then she noticed me. She looked at me directly in the eyes, and although she had a long line of suitors waiting to dance with her, she looked at me and said, "Would you like to dance?" I did not reply, I just strode forward out of the crowd and took her hand. I took my hat off, bowed very low, and kissed her ever so gently on her hand. We danced and danced and it seemed to me that no one else was in the room except for the two of us. I couldn't even hear the music; all I could concentrate on was the sheer beauty of this princess. The two of us were in love, and at that moment, that was all that mattered. After our dance we opted to have another.

However, three suitors interrupted us, pulling me away from her. Immediately, all the lords and ladies moved to the sides of the room, clearing a space around us. The first of the three suitors stood in front of me and told me "You have no business in the castle. If you do not leave, we will kill you."

They drew their swords, but as they did, Lord Corvin stepped in between us, his sword drawn and ready.

I placed my hand on his right shoulder and said, "I will handle it." I turned to the king and asked "Your Majesty, do I have permission to fight for your daughter's hand?"

He said "I grant you permission. However, if you lose, you will be banished from the kingdom."

I bowed to the king and drew my rapier and dagger. I looked at the three suitors…there was such fury in my eyes and in my heart, this was my princess, the woman I loved, and I would not let her go. Something about the way I looked at them made them quiver in their boots.

The premier suitor said "From this day on, you'd better watch your back." And then they turned and walked out of the ballroom!

As I began to turn my head to see my princess, I woke up.


Two features of this dream stood out for me:

  1. the food at the ball was amazing. Not just that it was delicious, but that I could taste it so vividly, exactly as if it were real.
  2. my emotion when I saw the princess. I'd never felt so close to someone before. She seemed to complete my soul, my being. I would also like to add that I find it odd that the princess was blonde; I tend to prefer women with brown or black hair and rarely do I feel an attraction to a blonde young lady like the princess.

Two different aspects of the dream connect to my daily life:

  1. The two fencing masters, Lord Corvin and Lady Isabel are real people who have taken me under their wing and tutored me in the art of the fence. They are very well known and prestigious in our community, though Corvin and Isabel are not their real names.
  2. My social position: in the fencing society, I am a low-budget fencer who fights in near rags, although I actually prefer it that way. I would still wear my rags even if I did have loads of money.
On the other hand, I do not understand why I had a job dueling for that kingpin, or where the princess's coming-out ball came from.



Wow, you sure are consistent! Ten years ago you dreamed of Trespassers in Malanchai--a dream of a hierarchical world where you were shunned and found wanting, until you fought a duel that won you acceptance and respect. One huge change: now you fight not for mere acceptance, but for love.

I'll start where your dream did--first clothes, then food, THEN love.

Your new sword and clothes are the clearest sensual details in the dream; you recall design and color. You accepted both aspects of that fine blade, beauty AND utility; but though your new clothes have both beauty and utility too (declaring your role and status) you're reluctant to accept that utility. Are they only physically restricting, or is a class/social restriction bugging you?
When I eat dream food, it always tastes as vivid as waking food; but I know many people can't smell or taste things much in dreams. So I approach this aspect of your dream as something of an outsider. OK, you've been warned!
  1. Literal first. Do you really taste your food in waking life? Your narrative has a vivid sense of social connections and status, but except for your new clothes you report few sensual details--even the food and the princess's face are just recalled as generically wonderful. Are you like this in waking life too? Maybe your dream's found an imbalance, and thinks food is the place to start. Do you eat well? Do you eat swill? If you're too poor to afford fancy meals, can you cook great meals yourself?
  2. If the food's symbolic instead, your craving for this feast you're given (at a table of your enemies!) must be prompting you to do something. Is the food social, sexual, emotional, intellectual, spiritual? It must be something you find in waking life around people you're uneasy with--the fencing society?
You instantly felt the princess was your soulmate. I wonder if she IS part of your soul--a Jungian anima, the female side of you society represses. Since her attraction is spiritual (we want to be whole!), the princess need not look like the women who usually attract you sexually. If my guess is right, she may reappear in dreams whenever you struggle to develop neglected feminine sides of yourself. What those are, exactly, I don't know; good clothes may be one. In the dream you had to don them to meet the princess. They might not be literal; they might mean formality, or manners, or flashiness in general...

On the other hand, I'm not as mystical as Jung. Dreams can be absolutely literal, and predictive, too. You never know. If you run into the Princess in real life, take the dream as a dating tip. You dance with that girl, blonde or not.

--Chris Wayan

LISTS AND LINKS: social class - mentors - friends - gifts and giving - clothes and fashion - knives and swords - socializing and parties - food - taste and smell in dreams - royalty - soul-mates - dance - self-defense - courage - anima/animus and other spiritual guides - balance of feeling, thought, sensing, intuition - love - a psychic childhood dream by Hyal: Trespassers in Malanchai -

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