Saturday, November 18, 2023

Mon Petit Ami

I have a bad cold today and have been drifting in and out of sleep most of the day. That means lots of little bite-size dreams. A few of these seemed potentially significant.

The first was a “recitation” like the recent Tim dreams, more like a PowerPoint presentation than like a movie. The speaker was not visible, but he didn’t sound like Tim, and he was speaking French. (At least that was my impression, just as it was my impression that Tim had been speaking Latin.)

I was shown a closeup of a wooden surface painted white, maybe a whitewashed fence, with a few irregular but mostly vertical streaks of black paint. The French voice invited me to contemplate these streaks and try to see shapes in them, Rorschach style. On the left was a streak that looked just a bit like a person: a vertical streak that was a bit wider at the top, suggesting a head, and split into two “legs” below. On the right was a shape that looked something like an animal with a V for a head and a long straight tail going up and to the right.

The Frenchman said I had interpreted the paint streaks correctly. He said that he himself had spent years contemplating them and had written a book about what he had seen. One thing that had eluded him was the identity of the human figure, so he had titled his book Mon Petit Ami and left the identity of his “little friend” ambiguous. On the last page he had included a photo of the original paint streaks so that readers could decide for themselves.

When I woke up, I immediately thought of The Little Prince. It was written by a Frenchman, and the paint-streak “animal” suggested the odd-looking fox. I found my copy of that book, which I own but haven’t read in about 20 years, and took it down from the shelf. When I saw the ISBN barcode on the back cover, an electric thrill went through me: the paint streaks! I know it’s an absurd reaction — every commercially published book has such a barcode, and there was nothing special about this one — but it was nevertheless what I experienced.

The possible relevance here is that the Little Prince comes from a tiny planet where everything is very small. And in his paint-streak form he was certainly extremely skinny.

Note added November 21: I walked into a bookstore today, and right in front of the entrance was a whole display devoted to The Little Prince. That's strange, since they usually highlight new books. The Little Prince was published in 1943 and the last movie based on it was in 2015.


Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

The Frenchman writing a book by contemplating streaks of paint reminds me of a dream I had years ago about Jeremiah writing the Book of Lamentations by contemplating a grid of numbers. The kicker is that my account of this dream caught the attention of a Frenchman named Jeremie, who translated it into French!

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

If you follow the link, you’ll find that the French translation features a Triforce-like diagram.

WanderingGondola said...

Though I'd heard of it, somehow reading The Little Prince had passed me by. Having now rectified that, the story is poignant. The fox's ears are long enough to be taken for horns or rabbit ears, but his secret -- that only the heart sees what's important, not the eyes -- is what really resonated.

Go to the window; it’s dark but clear

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