The forest is full of mysterious and frightening places but a walk through it may reveal the innermost secrets. Who walks there? Is it the ghosts of the past who make their homes in the deep recesses of the trees which have stood there for centuries? Or is the dull secret of the past where several women were burned alive for adultery? No one will ever know since the secrets are closed up and the voice is silent.
I walk with trepidation into the darkness. The grass appears soft and green beneath my feet as I decide to walk deeper into the forest. Sounds start numbing my ears as a concoction of birds begin to shriek and make all sorts of noises. It is as if I am almost surrounded by this noise which never seems to stop. Far into the distance I can almost see something which appear to look like a witch. Is it the truth or afigmnet of imagination? I cannot tell but an invisible pull almost lures me towards the object in front of me. I break into a run as my brisk walk takes on more urgency. I feel numbed and scarred at the same time. I reach the clearing where the witch supposedly stands but there is nothing here. All of a sudden I feel faint and fall to the ground without much energy. It is almost as if a terrible and all powering tiredness has overcome me, I feel I need to sleep desperately. My memory fails me and I drop off into a deep slumber.
I wake up with a start. The forest starts making strange noises and I feel completely enveloped by some invisible and irresistible force. The wind whips up strange shapes as the trees around me almost take up the shape of old men. What am I going to do? Sheer terror envelops me as I feel powerless and at a loss what to do. I begin running away from the forest but seem to have lost my direction. All of a sudden I reach a clearing where an old, dilapidated house still stands. And to add to the mystique of the place there seems to be someone at the window as the light inside is shining brightly. I am caught between two minds what to do. Should I leave the place or should I knock at the door and see what happens? The decision seems to have been made for me since it has began to rain pretty heavily all of a sudden and I should be finding some refuge for the night. I run to the door and hesitate for a few seconds before knocking. For some minutes I can hear nothing then a shuffling sound seems to be moving closer to the door. My heart is in my mouth and I feel fear as the door seems to open. It is open now yet I can see nothing inside except a large cavern without any sort of furnishings. Am I dreaming or ave I taken leave of my senses? All of a sudden I wake up in my bed at home and as a cold sweat trickles down my face, I realize that it was all a dream after all.
Bettelheim, B 1981. Fairy Tales as Ways of Knowing. In Metzger, Michael M, and Mommsen, Katherina (eds): Fairy Tales as Ways of Knowing: Essays on Märchen in Psychology. Las Vegas: Peter Lang.