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Freud, A. (1926). An Hysterical Symptom in a Child of Two Years and Three Months Old. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 7:227-229.

(1926). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 7:227-229

An Hysterical Symptom in a Child of Two Years and Three Months Old

Anna Freud

The little incident which I shall report here did not come under my own observation. The child's mother, Frau Hilda Sissermann, told me about it and gave me leave to publish it. She vouches for the correctness of the observation. Her story is as follows:—

At the time of the occurrence she and her children were living in Tula, in a house in the courtyard of which there was a deep well. She had repeatedly told all the children that they were not to go near the well by themselves or even to play by it and, in order to deter them from doing so, she had vividly described to them the danger of falling in. One day she happened to be standing near the well with one of the children, a little boy of two years and three months old, when a full bucket of water which had just been drawn broke away from the chain and crashed down into the well. The incident obviously made a profound impression on the baby. He spoke of it as follows (as far as he could speak plainly at all): 'Bucket was naughty; bucket fell into the well'. He continued to talk of it with excitement, making the bucket into a child, and finally he himself became the child that fell in.

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