Following on from Persistent Childhood Nightmares – the story of Eric the Dream Catcher Dragon, I wrote the following primarily for me, or at least, for the child in me. I had an idea for an adult fantasy adventure book which became something else. They say that everyone has a book inside them, which may be true, but I lack the ability to manage all the elements a book entails because I am overwhelmed by the magnitude of such an undertaking.
This piece, therefore, seems unable to decide whether it wants to be writing for grown ups or children and I don’t want to change that because it appeals to some vital part of me, and whatever that is, it does not lend itself to book writing. However, something was growing in me (30 years ago) which would eventually become what is today a Conspiracy of Kindness. In that sense, Eric the Dream Catcher Dragon was far more important than any book I might write because it impacted the real world and the very real lives of children. I was one of the children who lived with persistent nightmares into adulthood and anything that might impact that was far more important than a mere book.
The following is a prelude to the tale of Eric the Dream Catcher Dragon and I wrote it for myself, a half baked idea (a note, perhaps) that served its purpose in my life and I share it in that spirit.
Law and Grace
This is the tale of how Eric (Qhrtudrimstfg) became the Dream Catcher dragon.
In the long ago ages when life was quieter and more peaceful, Eric had a friend. It was a time before Eric moved to Never Land, before he realised that life needed a Dream Catcher Dragon and he lived in another place. In that place he had a good friend, a story teller called Algeron.
Eric and Algeron had many adventures together, but those belong in other stories. There came a day when the two of them arrived at a town. They were looking for something, and their looking had taken them to many strange and amazing places, but eventually they came to this place that we call Earth. What they were looking for was a book, it was called, ‘The Book of Grace’. When the universe was made there were two books made to rule the entire universe. Those books were, ‘The Book of Law’, and, ‘The Book of Grace’.
There are two parts to Law, Justice and Physics. In physics, for example, how would it be if you threw a stick in a tree for conkers or apples, and when the stick hit them they fell upwards? What makes an apple or conker fall is called the Law of Gravity. Or how would it be if when you went to spread some butter on a slice of bread the knife that you used forgot that it was meant to be steel and became rubber? That would make spreading butter very hard, especially if it had just come out of the fridge, so there are laws that tell a steel knife to stay steel.
But there is another side to Law. If someone hurts you, there is something inside you that wants to hurt them back. I think everyone knows about bullies. If no one stopped them then we would be living in a very horrible world. So when someone is being a bully something needs to happen to stop them, that is part what The Book of Law is all about, Justice. That doesn’t mean that you have to hit someone just because they hit you, it might mean that you tell your Mum or Dad and they do something to make sure that the bully knows that bullying is wrong. Law is also what makes stealing wrong; it is never right to take something from someone else without their permission. It isn’t the police who decide that or courts, it is the Law.
But what about if someone steps on your toe by accident? It hurts and that person has definitely hurt you, but if it is an accident and they say sorry, you don’t stomp on their toe, you forgive them. That is what, ‘The Book of Grace’, is all about. The Book of Grace allows us to be kind to each other. The Book of Grace is what can allow us to forgive someone. It does not make a wrong thing right, the Law is the Law and a wrong thing is always wrong but Grace can allow us to say, ‘I forgive you’. If you look inside yourself you will find that you can be kind. That is how we are made and that is Grace.
When the universe was made there was first Law and then Grace came to cover the Law. What that means is that if we do something wrong and say sorry, the Law can’t forgive us, it just decides what is right and wrong, Grace can. Grace can cover the Law and we can be forgiven. So law is first and Grace is second. Both are hugely important, but first there must be Law.
Now someone had switched them, so Grace became covered by Law, indeed smothered, and all the universe was suffering. People were forgetting how to be kind; people were walking around with hard faces. Everyone looked at each other with suspicion and all sorts of bad things were happening.
Eric and Algeron realised that this had happened many times in all the ages that the universe had existed and would again. It also happens that we, right now, are living in a time when this has happened again. If you look at peoples faces, many times you will see a hard look, or a suspicious look, as if they are closed inside themselves. Right now, in our world, we need grace and kindness, but too many people are not being kind, and that is because Law has covered Grace once again.
Eric and Algeron were sitting on a bench talking, late one night, in a place called Godstone and Eric, whose hearing was very good, heard a small child crying in the night. Whatever he and Algeron were talking about suddenly didn’t seem so very important to Eric.
Eric said to Algeron, ‘Algeron, my friend, I hear a child crying and I cannot go on with our quest until I find out why.’
Algeron replied, ‘I cannot hear the crying, dragons ears are more sensitive than human ears, but I will follow you, for I have learnt to trust you and I will follow where ever you lead.’
Algeron followed Eric to a dark house on the corner of a street. As they got closer the crying of the small child came to Algerons ears as well.
Eric said to Algeron, ‘Wait here and I will see what is wrong’, and with that he took wing and flew up to the window the crying was coming from. As he got there the childs parents came into the room and asked what the matter was and the child told them that he’d had a bad dream. They sat with him and held him until he forgot the dream and was able to go back to sleep. As the boys parents left his room Eric overheard the boys mother say to his father, ‘That dream really bothers him, it keeps coming back, I wonder what we can do to help him not have the dream any more?’
As Eric listened to this great tears came to his eyes and ran down his face, because he knew that there was not much that the boys parents could do to stop the bad dreams though they loved him dearly, but he suddenly knew he could help.
When he flew back to his friend, Algeron saw that Eric was very upset and Algeron listened as Eric told him about the little boy and about his nightmares and then Eric said, ‘Algeron, my dear friend, I think I have found the answer to our quest. It is part of Law that Grace cannot be undone. No act of kindness can ever be taken away. Even though, right now, Law is covering Grace, if we who understand these things act kindly, then Grace covers Law once again. There is nothing that can stop us being kind if we choose to be kind and to be gracious. It is not the books we must find but Law and Grace themselves. So I must leave you now. I must go to Never Land and I must help children everywhere to stop having bad dreams. It will be my lifes work and my greatest joy, for children are the hope of the world, they are tomorrows people and anything that we can do for children is the best of all things.’
‘You are right,’ Algeron told Eric, ‘but I too see what I must do. Whilst you are working from Never Land I shall go about all the worlds and tell people about what you are doing. There is something else I can do as well that will help you. I see that you will be the Dream Catcher Dragon, flying between Never Land and all the worlds catching bad dreams and locking them away forever. Perhaps you can put the Horrids that you capture from bad dreams to some use, making Dream Catchers. You can add a special magic to the Dream Catchers so that good dreams will be able to fly through them, but they will catch bad dreams and you can collect them each morning. I will find people who will deliver the Dream Catchers to children who need them on every world’.
So Eric and Algeron parted, and though they met many times after, they worked to help children stop having nightmares.
And it is written in the Book of Law:
“Throughout forever, a gracious act, an act of kindness, can never be undone. It is placed in peoples souls forever. Wherever people are willing, though it cost them a lot, and sometimes may be very hard to do, grace and kindness will always be”.
Whenever you are feeling cross or sad, or jealous and even at times want to be cruel, remember everyone feels like that at times, but when you realise you are feeling those things, perhaps you can learn to stop and to forgive yourself and smile again. Feeling bad is like cold and rain and cut knees, and smiles are like sunshine, love and laughter. Ask yourself which you prefer and, at whatever cost to you, be it, live it and learn from it. As a wheel needs oil, Law needs Grace, or life becomes bitter and hard and fails. So while Law must come first, in life, Grace is supreme,
Keith Lindsay-Cameron aka KOG. 04 June 2021.