In reflecting on the dream the patient picked out the rare old official document and linked it up with the red lacquer cabinet. They were both symbols of something rare and perfect. Concerning Colonel X., he said: " He is a fat, coarse, matter-of-fact sort of man, very blunt and ungracious, with a thick red neck." There is a similarity here to the bull symbol in the first dream.
The associations round the French essay were mainly in three directions. (1) He had observed Colonel X. the day before with a French weekly paper, and felt a certain amusement at the sight, for he was certain the Colonel knew no French. (2) His thought wandered to French women, about whom he knew little, but for whom he felt admiration. (3) He felt the French had, by some trick, attained an outlook on life that made many problems easier, and reduced the complexities of living to a minimum. He had often wished to be in France, where, he was sure, one was allowed to exist just as one pleased.
In the last two trains of reflection one must perceive an attitude that haunts introvert psychology. The demands and responsibilities of life, they think, will be less in another country, where people are strangers, and where one is unmolested. They forget that they carry their problems with them wherever they go.
There is a fairy-tale in the Grimm collection that is called " The Frog Prince." Its plot concerns a young princess who is in the habit of playing with a golden ball in the neighbourhood of a pool. One day the golden ball rolls out of her hand away into the pool, and is recovered by a frog and handed back on certain conditions. The princess, once the golden ball is again in her possession, disregards the promise. Her father, the king, is inexorable, however, and the upshot is that she has to marry the frog, who eventually turns into the beautiful prince. I introduce this symbolical story at this point because it has some connection with the dreams under consideration. Here we see something precious—the golden ball—placed at the mercy of something ugly and commonplace—the frog—and it subsequently turns out that the princess has been deceived in thinking that she could escape her compact; and also that she made a mistake in looking on the frog as merely a repulsive creature. When, owing to the pressure brought to bear on her by her father, she has overcome something in herself, she finds the frog is a prince.
The idea of antiquity is associated with both the red lacquer cabinet and the official document written on parchment, as well as the idea of value. In the fairy-story it is not indicated if the plaything of the princess is antique, but it is made of gold, and she is shown to be playing carelessly with it. The dreamer, in the dreams under consideration, is not shown as playing with the symbol of value ; but in one case the symbol is demanded of him, and to his surprise it is not within his reach, and in the other the symbol is being played with, as it were, by a very blunt, matter-of-fact type of man, and this the dreamer resents. The blunt man calls the dreamer's attention to the idea of separation, or separating himself. In this observation there lies a clue. It is as distinctive of introverts to separate themselves, to hold themselves aloof, as it is distinctive of extroverts to mingle together. We are, in this case, dealing with an example of introvert, psychology. The blunt Colonel introduces the idea of separation in connection with the antique parchment document; what, then, is the document concerning which a question of separation is raised ? It is at the mercy of the Colonel in the dream, and this pains the dreamer, who from his point of view thinks the Colonel has no claim to it. But the unconscious has another point of view.
The idea of separation is in a way contained in the red lacquer dream. Here the dreamer finds the cabinet is separated from his store, when he thought it present. It is far away ; the woman customer is annoyed because it is not on the spot, as she apparently expected. One might say that, since the place was a store, and since the articles in a store presumably are at the mercy of customers, the unconscious is presenting the idea that the cabinet symbolizes something which should have been at the mercy of the woman customer. Therefore, apart from the common associations of rarity and antiquity, the symbols of the document and cabinet together form a point of convergence of other meanings. If they symbolize one and the same thing, how comes it that they differ so much in outward form ?
Each dream may present only one aspect of the thing which stands behind the central symbol. What is it that should be more at the mercy of the world as symbolized by the woman and the Colonel ? What is it that the introvert separates from the world ? With what rare and antique thing is the unconscious so occupied in these dreams ? The answer is the force that reveals itself as interest. The cabinet and the document, as well as the fish and the golden ball, are aspects of the primal energy in a special application.
The delicacy of the symbolism in the Frog Prince fairy-tale lies in the manner in which the introduction of the unsuspecting princess to another life is indicated. The golden ball, played with so carelessly and lightly day after day, suddenly falls into the pool, and so she becomes enmeshed in womanhood. The keeping of the golden ball tightly in the hand, so that it may never roll away and vanish into one of the many snares waiting for it, is the natural instinct of the introvert, and this is what the unconscious is harping upon in the above dreams. It is possible to play too carelessly with the golden ball, perhaps, but it is equally possible to be too careful about it. It must be flung about a little in the world of adventure. interest must be pushed out, and entangle the self in some romance or business, otherwise the plot of life cannot come into operation.