Persistent childhood nightmares

Image: Eric, the Dream Catcher Dragon.

Some thirty odd years ago I wrote a story in response to children’s persistent nightmares. I could not accept that there was nothing we adults could do to help, it’s a kind of psychological warfare and I came up with a story that, with the help of parents, would magically appear, in a ribbon tied scroll, and shortly after a dream catcher would also appear. I enlisted the aid of my brother who made dream catchers and we made sure that story and dream catcher were presented in such a way as to appear to have arrived by magic and it was up to the parents to assist this magical agency, the dream catcher part being triggered by the ending of the story. Anticipation also played its part in the magic, but kept necessarily short, to a few days, for the child’s sake.

I don’t know how many of these have been received by children over the years, what I do know is that in every case they helped. This is the story.

Eric, the Dream Catcher Dragon.

This is the story of a dragon called…. well, I can’t say it but his name is spelt like this, Qhrtudrimstfg. That is a very hard name to say, in fact it is an impossible name and there is a very good reason for that which I will tell you later. In this story I think we had better call him Eric or someone is likely to get their tongue tied in knots, and as I am telling the story it will probably be me, so Eric it is.

Eric lives high up in the Dream Mountains in Never Land. Some people think that Never Land doesn’t exist but they are entirely wrong. I shall tell you where Never Land is. Whenever you paint a picture from your imagination, or have a day dream, or a dream when you are asleep, or when you build something wonderful out of Lego that has never been made before, you have been to Never Land. Never Land exists inside each and every one of us and is where dreams and ideas are made. People who don’t believe in Never Land are usually people who don’t smile very much and are stern and sensible. They are people who have fallen into the sleep without dreams, the Grey World where the ‘Sensibles’ live. But that is another story. For the rest of us, Never Land is so full of magic it would burst if we weren’t all going to visit it and using the magic in our dreams and ideas.

Where does the magic come from? I hope you were wondering, because that is a very good question. The magic comes from the well of Limitless Possibilities. I think I had better tell you here that Never Land is flat. It is about one mile thick and rests on the backs of four great animals. A lion, a tiger, a bear and an elephant and because the bear and the elephant are bigger then the lion and the tiger, Never Land has a gentle slope to it, which the rivers are very grateful for and tumble along singing their songs until they fall over the edge and turn into clouds. The Well of Limitless Possibilities goes right down through the centre of Never Land and keeps going until forever, which is a very long way, until it dips into the Great Lake of Mystery, which is full of pure magic. The magic bubbles up and makes the long journey of forever until it pours out of the Well of Limitless Possibilities, where it feeds the land and the folks who live there breath it, and when we go there in our dreams and thoughts, it fills us too.

Now Eric, who lives in the Dream Mountains, is a very special dragon. He is a Dream Catcher Dragon. He has very big and bright eyes, so that not even the tiniest of dreams can escape him. Although he is a Dream Catcher, he isn’t bothered with good dreams that leave you feeling warm and snuggly. Eric is only interested in the not very nice dreams, what we call nightmares, it is Eric’s job to catch all the ‘Horrids’ from nightmares and to lock them up in a far away place at the end of the universe called Deep Dudgeon. Once Eric has caught a nightmare there is no escape because in magic the only way anyone can have power over another is if they can say their name. Deep Dudgeon is sealed with Eric’s real name, which is Qhrtudrimstfg, and as it is impossible to say, no-one and nothing can escape from Deep Dudgeon once Eric has locked them there.

Because dreams are made by us humans using the magic of Never Land, we can often dream the same dream over and over again, even horrid dreams. But Eric catches every single horrid dream and seals it away in Deep Dudgeon and the power of those dreams gets weaker and weaker until they just can’t be dreamt any more. Worse still for the Horrid’s, they have to work for Eric and what they make are Dream Catchers that can be hung in peoples windows to make Eric’s job that much easier. As soon as you wake up your dreams fly away to Never Land, but if you have a Dream Catcher in your window, all your dreams have to pass through that on their way to Never Land. In Never Land, good dreams are called Warm Fuzzies, and Warm Fuzzies pass right through the holes of a Dream Catcher and fly off back to Never Land. Bad dreams, though, are called Cold Pricklies and they are all spikes and elbows and full of ‘Horrids’, and because of that they cannot pass through the dream catcher, they get stuck, and just before you wake up Eric comes by and collects them and takes them off to Deep Dudgeon where they have to make yet more Dream Catchers.

Now there is a special magic in Never Land that if any human boy or girl gets to hear about Eric the Dream Catcher dragon, they are sent A Dream Catcher for their window, and if you are hearing this story, then watch out carefully because a Dream Catcher is coming to you.

Keith Lindsay-Cameron aka KOG. 03 June 2021.

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