Saturday, 16 July 2011

Dreaming of tigers

Two nights ago, my wife dreamt of tigers. In the morning she told me. A tiger bounding through the house, big and terrible yet somehow innocent as a kitten, purring and growling with ferocious hungry joy.

I said, I suppose it is the dog.

She said, Yes, when he sleeps beside the bed I hear him breathing and stirring in his sleep.

I said, Like all dogs he dreams of hunting.

She said, The dreadful chase, the murderous lunge, the bloody feast and bones.

I said, He is never happier than in those dreams.

She said, And in my sleep I must have heard him dreaming, and so I dreamt of tigers.

The next night I went to sleep after a long sad day, and I dreamt I was standing outside on the lawn as a tiger came towards me, his great paws pounding the earth like drums. I looked into the tiger’s face and loved him, and I was seized by a sudden horror that I would be torn and eaten in one of his savage spasms of reckless unselfconscious joy.

When I awoke I told my wife. Had I dreamt of tigers because of the happy snarling sleeping dog beside the bed? Or was it my wife’s slow breathing that I heard as she lay beside me, naked and dreaming of tigers, a dark tendril of her imagination creeping across the bed into my mind, her quickening heartbeat echoing like dreadful footfalls in my dream? Was it my own dream tiger that I saw, or hers?

10 Comments:

Josh Barkey said...

Nice... and bizzaro, because I saw this not 13 seconds after I posted my own story about tigers (http://joshbarkey.blogspot.com/2011/07/hunt.html). Yet another glitch in the matrix.

Highanddry said...

This reminds me of one of my favourite books 'Life of Pi'. I love the mysterious symbolism of the tiger in that tale, and the powerful relationship Pi forms with the tiger. Ah, to be alone at sea with a tiger...

Student said...

Hers.

besideourselves said...

Neither, both.

In any case it's the same tiger.

kim fabricius said...

Neither, nor both: rather - Job 33:15 - the good Lord is trying to tell you to get a cat!

Pamela said...

When our children were the same ages as yours (we have four children) I can't remember discussing dreams - just strategies on how to get more sleep! :)

Radim said...

"Now. Two questions. one. Your tiger, is what?"
"Mine," Tracy said.
"Two," Dr. Pingitzer said. "Tiger in street, is what?"
“Well,” Tracy said, “I suppose a black panther mauled a keeper and escaped from the circus last
night. Such things happen. I suppose a wounded black panther is now loose in New York. I suppose it will, out of fear, kill somebody if it thinks it must. But the black panther that is loose in the city is also my tiger.”

Fat said...

Both the story and the picture are magnificent.

Anonymous said...

Neither. It was the same tiger, but neither yours nor hers, but a real tiger spirit that decided to come visit you two. Or maybe a manifestation of the Holy Spirit, who shows up in strange ways...
-Ann

Paul Tyson said...

I liked the Holy Spirit manifesting as a white cockatoo in 'The Man Who Sued God'. Very apt for an Australian context. But hey, lets be zoologically catholic, why not a tiger?

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