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Herbert, S. (1922). Three Dreams. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 3:329-331.

(1922). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 3:329-331

Three Dreams

S. Herbert

A Magical Dream Wish

Mrs.H., who had written her first book, received one afternoon a very complimentary letter from a high authority on the subject, and was very elated about it. The same afternoon her younger girl N. became ill, which rather disturbed the joyful feeling of the house. The next morning after breakfast, being asked for the letter, she could not find it anywhere. She had taken it to bed with her; and all she remembered was that she had put it in the morning into her dress pocket together with other papers. After some search it suddenly struck her that she might have thrown the letter into the fire accidentally with some other papers; though she could not conceive how she could have been so careless with a letter she valued so much. Anyhow, a search in the hearth led to the discovery of the charred remains of the letter, so that there was to her chagrin no further doubt of what she had done. My own suggestion was that this could not have been a mere accident. The letter was too precious to Mrs.H. to be destroyed thus by her—even carelessly.

The attempt of analysing the incident was by no means an easy one. In the course of the analysis Mrs.H. reported the following dream which she had had the night preceding the burning of the letter: 'The treasured letter she had received dropped into the marmalade (which was on the tea table) and turned somehow into crumbs (of bread and butter).' The analysis of this dream brought the following explanation: N., the younger daughter, had been feeling ill soon after the letter had been received, and would only have bread and butter with marmalade for tea. In the dream that followed in the night the letter changed into crumbs, as if N. had eaten it. Mrs.H., on finding that her child took ill the very afternoon she had received the letter, had had the thought: 'Fate does not allow unalloyed joy.'

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