Guest post: The dream that became a fairy-tale

How a Dream Became a Fairy Tale – by Juanita Havill

I’ve kept dream journals for years and they provide inspiration, characters, and plots. One in particular, about a glass bed, led easily into a story…

The boy I was babysitting didn’t want to go to sleep. “I’m afraid,” he protested. He balked. I insisted. Still he wouldn’t move. So naturally I turned to an alternate bed, that is, a glass bed. I don’t recall exactly why I had the glass bed with me, but what a relief!

As soon as I rolled the heavy glass bed into his bedroom, he lay on it, stretched out, and fell asleep without the comfort of sheets, pillow, or blanket.

The headboard of the bed impressed me mightily. Thick glass, it was carved with images of children, youths, deer, rabbits, and foxes. I watched him snooze for a while to make sure that he was not feigning sleep. The warm glow from the little boy’s night light illuminated the glass carvings. Satisfied, I woke up.

I don’t always wake up from dreams satisfied. Often times I’m anxious, puzzled, or fearful, but not this time. I wrote a quick account of the dream in my journal, and a few years later I turned the dream into a short tale for a children’s magazine and “The Glass Bed” was published.

Such is the waking mind that the story became a fairy tale in which a young prince refuses to go to bed at night and neither king nor queen nor princess nor court wizard can come up with a solution.

Although the court jester’s idea of a glass bed is scoffed at, finally the transparent bed with its solid glass headboard is installed in the prince’s room.

The prince continues to have frightening dreams, but because he is no longer alone, he is able to sleep. Why isn’t he alone? Because everyone at court crowds into his bedroom to watch the prince’s scary dreams projected across the glass headboard.

7 thoughts on “Guest post: The dream that became a fairy-tale”

  1. What a gorgeous story and what a magical dream. That’s the kind of dream I would have loved and would imagine would leave you with the most lovely feeling on waking. How wonderful that it was turned into a book! Thanks for sharing this Jenny and Juanita.

    1. Thank you, Abi. Yes, definitely not one of the nightmare-type dreams, but it left me perplexed. Perplexed is good, though, for a writer because then you have to seek answers.

  2. Yes, like all fairy tales, it’s got an archetypal ring to it – there’s a deeper truth, for me – something about sharing our darkness. In dreams, sharing with a group is a way of making them feel less strange and more part of our normal life. Thank you, Juanita 🙂

    1. You’re welcome, Jenny. Thank you for inviting me to share my dream tale. Some people who study folk tales theorize that the stories come from the dreams of storytellers and reflect the things that haunt us. I tend to have many more anxious dreams than happy ones, but I do have a recurring dream of flying which is very joyful, indeed.

  3. I like that the headboard is carved and that the nightlight illuminates the carvings. If it were my dream I would wonder what the carvings meant. I love the fairy tale that grew out of it. I agree with Jenny that sharing our darkness helps us to feel supported.

  4. I think that idea of the illuminated glass gives the story a magical feel, as well as offering such visual potential. I have quite a lot of dreams which involve effects of light, and I always waken from them with a sense of wonder 🙂

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