It was a Friday morning when Nigel and his parents were having breakfast together.
Nigel was drinking chocolate and eating serials. His parents were drinking coffee and eating sandwiches.
Listen Nigel, said father. We will go out to dinner with our friends this evening and you will go to granny for the night.
Nigel felt like crying but he didn’t say a word. Tears were running down his cheeks right into his cereal bowl.
Oh my, said mother, you are crying. What are you crying for? You like granny. Don’t you like to sleep over at her place?
Nigel couldn’t help it. He started to cry out loud.
Father started to get nervous. What got into him? Father asked the mother.
Don’t get nervous. It may have something to do with his nightmares.
I see, said father.
During the past weeks Nigel had had nightmares almost every night. The nightmare was always the same. Big lorries were chasing him trying run over him. The nightmare used to wake him up in the middle of the night. After that he would sit on his bed and jut cry and cry. Mother and father had to calm him down and it could take up to fifteen minutes before he fell asleep again.
Evenings Nigel was afraid to go to sleep. One evening when mother had already given him a good night kiss and told him good night, he said, ‘I am not going to sleep at all. I will stay awake all night. That way I won’t have that awful nightmare.’
C’mon, don’t say that. You must sleep at night. Everyone must sleep at night. If a person does not sleep at night, he is so tired next day that he cannot do anything.
I don’t care said Nigel. Anyway, I will stay awake all night, said Nigel decisively.
In fact, Nigel did fall asleep in no time but if it only would have been possible, there is no doubt about it that he would have stayed up all night in order to escape his nightmares.
Nightmares or not, you will go to granny anyway. We have not had a chance to go out, just me and your mother, and parents need some time on their own too, said father impatiently.
Yes, but we can inform granny about the nightmares, thought. Granny can, for example, leave the door open to Nigel’s room. When the door is open, granny will hear if Nigel wakes up and can come and soothe him.
When the parents left Nigel at granny’s for the night that evening they were so busy that they simply forgot to inform granny about Nigel’s nightmares. Nigel thought to himself that he will do it himself when granny puts him to bed.
When granny was reading the bedtime story to Nigel, he said: You know granny, I have a nightmare almost every night. It is always the same awful dream. There are huge trucks trying to run me over. I cry in my dream and then I wake up. Mom or dad comes to comfort me and it may take quite some time before I fall asleep again.
Granny listened to Nigel attentively and then whispered into his ear.
– Listen, Nigel, I can tell you a secret about nightmares. Do you want to hear it? she said.
Nigel was puzzled. He nodded to signal that he wanted to know what the secret was.
There are no nightmares, said granny. Nigel did not understand a thing.
Granny explained: Look, the fact is that all dreams have a happy ending. Only sometimes a person may wake up in the middle of a dream, at a moment when something exciting is happening so that he misses the end of the dream. I can bet that your dream with those trucks has a happy ending, but you have to continue to see it in order see what happens.
Nigel wondered, could it really be so.
Do you remember the Bambi video? Asked granny all of a sudden.
Do you remember that there is an exciting moment when Bambi’s mother dies?
That part is so tragic that even I, an older person, always cry when I see it. Don’t you think it would be horrible if at that moment there was an electricity blackout and you could not see the film any further? The film has a happy ending but only if you have a chance to see it to the end.
But I don’t know how the dream ends because I always wake up when the trucks start chasing me.
So, you do but perhaps you would not wake up if you knew how the dream continues.
– How does it continue then? Asked Nigel in bewilderment.
You can never know for sure, but you can always imagine the happy ending. What do you suppose will happen after the trucks have been chasing you?
I don’t know said Nigel. He was thinking.
I don’t know either, but I can imagine that you would find that the trucks would not run over you, but they would only come close to you and perhaps they would want to give you something. What might they want to give you? Nigel got excited about the thought. He said: “An ice hockey stick!”
“An ice hockey stick”, repeated granny. I should have guessed that knowing that you are such a champion ice hockey player. So, the dream might continue with the trucks surrounding you, you would lower you head, and you would start cry. When you would lift up your head again, to your surprise the truck drivers would have come out of the trucks and they would ask you to come inside the trucks. Inside each of them there would be a kind of a sport shop and you would be asked to choose one item from each one of them. Would you like that? If something like that would happen, would that make the nightmare become a good dream?
– Sure, said Nigel.
I am not saying that the dream will continue like that. You can come up with something else instead. But now that you go to sleep, think about how you want your dream to end. If you think hard of the happy ending, you will see that your nightmare will turn into a goodmare.
What is a goodmare? asked Nigel in bewilderment.
It is the good dream behind the nightmare that comes to us when we have the courage to see how the bad dreams end, explained granny.
When Nigel put his head to the pillow, he imagined how the trucks surrounded him and how he was invited inside of them. In one of them he chose a ice hockey stick that had the original signature of his favourite player.
From another truck he got a fantastic ice hockey helmet and from the third truck he got a cool shirt. When he was falling asleep, he was almost hoping to have the very dream that he had so much been afraid of.
When mom and dad came to pick him up the next morning, they asked granny how the night had gone.
– We were going to tell you last evening that Nigel has recently had a recurring nightmare, but we were so much in a hurry that we forgot all about it. Did Nigel wake up in the night because of his nightmare?
– No, he didn’t. He slept throughout the night like a log.
That’s surprising. I think that must be like the first night in two weeks when he does not have his nightmare. What magic has granny been using again? asked mother smiling.
I just told Nigel how to turn nightmares into goodmares. Nothing magic about that. By the way, Nigel, how did you manage? Did you see the end of the dream?
– I tried but it didn’t work. The dream just never came.
Granny smiled and padded Nigel on the head.
Next evening when Nigel was already in bed browsing through a picture book, mom went to talk with him.
– Listen Nigel, I have never told you, but sometimes I have nightmares tool. Not every night but every now and then I have the same unpleasant nightmare. Could you please tell me what granny told you about how to turn nightmares into goodmares?