1 "Interpretation of Dreams," p. 489.
Dream 1. Her brother seemed to be taken away from her to a cave where she also saw her mother dying, and then she seemed to go to another house where she was very happy and teased by children.
Dream 2. She and her brother were out together, and a witch plagued her and took her brother away from her and locked him in an enormous cave.
Now these two dreams clearly represented the fulfilling of strong, repressed wishes of the little girl, namely, to have revenge on her brother and mother and banish them from the family circle. By this means she hoped to gain ascendency over the household and thus end the family conflict. Of course such a wish, because impossible of fulfillment in reality, either dominated the little girl's day-dreams or was suppressed into unconscious. The wish, however, was persistently present and was fulfilled at night in dreams, because the censor was relaxed and allowed the undisguised wish to enter the consciousness of the sleeper. The dream used as material certain fairy tales, because these served to fulfill the little girl's desires. The instigator of these dreams was harmless enough, but the use made of the instigator was to fulfill the unconscious but repressed wish, i.e., to get rid of both mother and brother. Thus out of childhood wishes arise mental conflicts which may cause the important and apparently contradictory dreams of adult life, such as the dreams of the death of a near or dear relative (father or mother1) or the embarrassment dreams of nakedness.
Sometimes, too, children will use the material of an interesting fairy story as the content of an entire dream, in order to continue the excitement of the story during the night. A five-year-old boy, for instance, after having had a portion of "Alice in Wonderland" read to him, became intensely excited and interested, so much so that it became necessary to discontinue the reading for the day. However, the next morning on awakening, he sat up in bed and spontaneously said: "O dear me! I am surprised to see myself in my own bed, because my Teddy bear went down a hole, and I went after him, and then I thought I swam in my own tears." Here was evidently a pure wish dream, a desire to continue the day's excitement caused by the story, plus the wish to continue playing with his Teddy bear. Another boy, age four, who during the day had been to a children's party, betrayed the wish to continue the good time he had at the party by the following dream: "Daddy, when I am in bed with my eyes closed, I can see Barbara's party."
1 The so-called OEdipus or Electra-Complex dreams.
The dreams of primitive races of men in many ways strongly resemble the dreams of children, because, as was previously mentioned, savages possess many childlike and primitive activities, the same as do civilized children. In fact, up to a certain age, the civilized child is really a savage, with his strong egotism and feelings of rivalry and jealousy, and his few or no altruistic tendencies. From a psycho-analytic viewpoint all war is a form of reversion to the unbridled fury of our childhood life, at a time when there was no repression. In the child as in the savage, the wish and the thought are synonymous, - there is no distinction or separation; both want their desires immediately gratified, although such gratification may be impossible in reality. The dreams of the American negro, particularly the so-called pure-blooded negro, are simple wish fulfillments, because the mental activities of the race are less complicated than those of the Caucasian.
A Yahagan Indian, for instance, in trading groceries with a settler stated:1 "Me buy English biscuit and me dream have more English biscuit and things and wake up and find no got any." This is an example of a pure wish dream, like the dream of a little child. If a Carib Indian believes he has a specific enemy or dislikes a particular Indian, he will dream that this Indian is attempting to kill him, the thought being father to the wish. He will interpret the dream as an actual attempt on his life, and thus the repressed wish to get "square" with his enemy is fulfilled in the dream, the dream thus furnishing the excuse for his already wished-for revenge.
1 This and other dreams of primitive tribes, as well as for the reference to Grubb, were kindly furnished me by the well-known explorer, Charles W. Furlong, F.R.G.S.
In a most interesting book,1 Grubb states that "dreams play a very important part in the life of an Indian and to some extent govern many of his actions. . . . Dreaming is, in the opinion of the Indian, an adventurous journeying of the soul attended by much danger. While the soul wanders, being ethereal, it is able to gratify its desires more freely than if it were in the body. ... As the Indian
1 W. B. Grubb, "An Unknown People in an Unknown Land." (Refers mainly to the Lengua Indians of the Paraguayan Chaco region.) looks upon the body only as a house or as an instrument in the hands of the soul, he considers that what he dreams about is in reality a declaration of the will of the soul and therefore, whenever possible, that will must be gratified through the body." In this attitude of the Indian towards his dreams we seem to have a very simple and primitive conception of the Freudian theory that dreams represent fulfilled wishes. In a previous contribution,1 the following statement was made: "There is a certain resemblance likewise between the mental life of the savage and the neurotic, for instance, in the relationship of the taboo and the neurotic obsessions or obsessional prohibition, a comparative feature which is best seen in the fear of touching certain objects (delire de toucher). Suppression is the result of our complex civilization. Savages, like children, have not learned to suppress."
1 Isador H. Coriat, "Abnormal Psychology," 2nd edition, New York, 1914 (pp. 331-332).
Several pure wish dreams of these Indians are given by the author, and from these the following is selected as sufficiently illustrating the type of material:
"While sleeping in an Indian village one morning, I awoke long before the first light and noticed a number of men sitting round a fire engaged in an animated conversation. Joining the party, I found that they were laying plans for a hunting expedition. The night before I had heard nothing of such a project. I found that they were proposing to sally forth to some open plains, some distance to the north, where they expected to find ostriches. While listening to the conversation, I gathered that one of the men had just had a dream, and in it he had seen ostriches in that district."
Thus the inability of the Indian to distinguish a dream from reality had betrayed his wish, a condition exactly similar to dreams of civilized children. A four-year-old boy, for instance, on being brought into a room to view the expected Christmas tree, carefully touched the various branches of the tree with his fingers. This was a reminiscence, no doubt, of a dream in which the tree vanished on awakening, and thus, in this symptomatic action, he wished to assure himself of the tree's reality.