Dreamed 1948 by Nancy Price
ROBIN AND SISKIN
I watched very carefully a robin. He had only one leg, the other being shrivelled like a shrivelled leaf, and he had only one wing. I saw another little bird, a siskin, who kept on advancing towards him, running to and fro. I crept nearer and nearer in my dream and saw that the siskin was feeding the robin with the tiniest berries I have ever seen.
"You see," said the little bird to me, "I must feed my friend because he can't get food himself. He cannot fly so cannot help himself very much, but he can hop, and life is not so bad for him if he gets food."
I entered into quite a long conversation with both birds. I know that I was told how the leg had been lost and the wing injured, how their friendship had started. They confided to me their love affairs, their adventures, their various travelling experiences, their many difficulties arising out of the housing shortage, hedge and tree cutting and other modern abominations, the adverse weather conditions and the unprecedented scarcity of food: these and many other interesting things that birds can tell humans only in dreams. Alas, all this has faded in detail, but the picture of the siskin feeding the injured robin with tiny red berries the size of seed pearls remains.
This same night I dreamt again of birds and again I said to myself, "Now I can tell the ornithologists something even they do not know." But how elusive is memory. Having felt I could not forget so interesting and unique a dream, after my morning breakfast I found little remained. It was as though a blind had been drawn and struggle as I would I could remember little, save for two great parrots, heads of their tribe. I could see their luminous topaz eyes, tufted crests and superb rainbow wings. I know that I was able to share their life and to understand them even as they understood me. I flew with them, shared their feasts, knew even as they, the thrill and fear their lives held. I knew the secrets of the great trees and solitary pools and I could gaze with them unblinking into the sun.
Frequently my more vivid dreams have had a direct bearing on something which has followed almost immediately in my waking hours. It is as though the dream mind, released from the chains of Time, has moved forward a step, beyond the limits of conscious existence across the boundary of the common hour.
This same morning there was a letter with a request that I should open a parrot show, which I accepted. But though I wandered among the gorgeous birds, amazed by their beauty and variety, I could recapture nothing of that which I desired to remember. I was again the other side of the barrier.
Source: Acquainted with the Night by Nancy Price (1949), selections from an experimental dream journal she kept for one year. I added the three boldfaced headings.
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