At age 18, Ann still loved daydreaming. With her long golden brown hair and porcelain skin, she looked like a doll, and every night she dreamed about a prince who came to her.
The prince’s name was Danny, and the dream gave no details about his personal or family background. For her part, Ann was the maid of a very rich family, employed by a middle aged wife who never held a job and had no children. She was the Queen of the family. Her husband was very rich and spent his days counting his gold coins and looking at his jewelry. In Ann’s dream, the master of the house never spoke to her, and indeed hardly even interacted with her. On the contrary, the mistress was like a cruel monster, always screaming at Ann, pointing a finger at her forehead, and reprimanding her for not cleaning the house or watering the flowers properly. Ann, however, never spoke a word in her dream.
Once day, when Ann was watering the roses in the garden, she saw Danny on a blue horse, flying through the pink sky. She did not think there was anything unusual about seeing a tall young man wearing a golden suit and a silver belt with a big diamond buckle flying through the air on a horse. From that day on, Ann went to the garden every day at the same time, and whenever she looked up the sky, she saw Danny again. All of which seemed perfectly normal to her.
Ann had this dream repeatedly. Whenever she woke, she would remember the young man named Danny. During the day, Ann went about her usual activities: going to school, studying, singing and gardening.
One day, Ann’s father returned from a business trip to Italy, with a gift for her: a doll prince wearing the same suit and riding the same horse that Ann dreamed about every night. The only difference was that the doll had a clear, handsome face, while the dream prince was faceless. Ann loved the doll very much. She put it next to her bed, and every night she had the same dream.
One afternoon, Ann’s cat accidentally knocked the doll off the shelf. The doll was made of clay and broke into many small pieces. Ann tried and tried to mend the doll, but she failed. From that night on, Ann did not have the dream again. When she woke up, she felt empty, like there was a big missing link in her life where the faceless prince once was.
On the morning following her first dreamless night, Ann realized that her dream was a vital part of her life, that it gave her life meaning, and that it made her alive. There was no boundary now between day and night; she could not focus on her work and did not dream at all. She missed the prince desperately.
Ann’s father noticed that Ann was very sad and her life very disorganized after the doll broke, so he brought her another one. Ann did not like the new doll very much, feeling loyal to the old one. That night, Ann had a dream about a different prince, who tried to force her to marry him. Ann shouted in her sleep and woke up drenched in sweat. She picked up the new doll and threw it to the floor, where it shattered.
Ann did not know why she had such different feelings about the two dolls. The first one was so important to her; the second one so hateful. Ann did not understand how her dreams could reflect her feelings about the dolls. She decided to ask her mother about it. Her mother was unsurprised, and seemed to know all the details of Ann’s dreams, even before Ann told her. Ann was deeply puzzled, until her mother told her, “I dreamed the same dreams. And your grandmother dreamed them too.” The only difference between the dreams of Ann’s mother and grandmother, and her own, was that no one had given them any dolls. But both dreamed of the two princes.
Ann asked her mother how she and her grandmother got over the dreams and managed to live in reality. Her mother that they just let it be.
Ann did not understand. Her mother explained, “If the dreams come, just let them come; if the dreams do not come, just let them not come. If the first prince makes you miss him, let yourself miss him; if the second prince wants to marry you, marry him if you like, refuse him if you don’t.”
Ann asked her mother why three generations of women in their family dreamed the same dreams. Her mother replied, “Because none of the three of us could find an ideal man in our lives, and we are all so lonely that we look for that man in our dreams.”
Her mother told Ann that it had taken her about five years to overcome the loss of the first prince, and another two years to escape from the second prince. Ann suddenly smacked herself on the forehead and exclaimed “I get it! Because there is no romantic relationship in my life, my first dream reflects my desire for a certain kind of love, and my second dream reflects my resistance to being oppressed and controlled by men I do not like.”
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