My three-year-old boy, James, was talking about his fears as I tucked him into bed tonight:
"I'm not scared of possums on the roof. I'm not scared of anything. [Pause.] I'm only scared of three things: I'm scared of the dark, scared by myself, and scared of Outside."
I complimented him on his nearly-comprehensive bravery – and then after a long pause he leaned very close to my ear and said, in a sinister small whisper: "And the rats. The rats hate humans." I tried, rather feebly, to talk him out of this strange and troubling conviction. But deep down inside I knew he was right. So I went and wrote down one more thing at the bottom of my own long list of fears.