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The Tiger and The Wolf

Dreamed 2011/1/15 by "Jo"


For over a week I have been having anxiety dreams that wake me up early. This is because I can't relax. Every second seems to be taken up with learning to be a librarian. It's grinding me down.

That said, I found time yesterday to read a few articles about Devonshire Black Dog stories ( and catalogue some of my books on Library Thing. Doing this got me thinking about how I wish I had a favourite book. Then I remembered Philip K. Dick's A Scanner Darkly. I've read it over a dozen times in the past few years.


I am back in my old home, which is in the wilds of Wales: fairy country. I am walking alone through this narrow bit of woods that leads to a small hamlet when this mangy black dog with a lot of greying fur appears in front of me. I know it well. Sometimes on walks I run into it. Back when I was afraid of dogs, this terrified me, as it's never on a lead and is only occasionally being walked by someone. And even then it's usually one of the area's stoners or drop-outs. But as I got to trust dogs more, we became friends. He gives me a look that says he wants me to follow him, so I do. He leads me into a bookshop. I decide that while this is nice I have to go, but he grabs my hand with his teeth and leads me to the counter. He's not hurting me, but he could.

The owner says hello, says the dog gets temperamental because he has arthritis. He gives the dog a sweet and the dog settled back. The man chats to me for a while. Pretty soon he mentions his son. The police phone him every week to tell him that the missing persons investigation continues. And it's been decades. He has a lot of respect for the police, and seems pretty happy with how the investigation is going, even though it's hopeless. I sympathise. The fact is, a lot of people go missing around our way. Especially in the woods on foggy nights, when they the barriers between this world and the world of fairies is thin. Not that I believe in fairies. Nobody does. But also, nobody walks in the woods at night, if you get what I'm saying.

He tells me that the dog is just older than me, which I find impressive, mid-twenties is a pretty good age for a dog. Okay. So it's an impossibly good age. But most dogs don't look so intelligent. Most dogs can't help run bookshops. For that matter, most dogs with arthritis don't walk on their hind legs unwrapping sweets with their paws and teeth, but this one does just that. I tell the man about my course and mention bibliographic cataloguing schemes for bookshops. He asks me why I always look at the dog when asking a question. I don't tell him. The fact is, I don't think I know the limits of what that animal can do. I don't think it actually has any limits.

When I try to leave, the dog grabs me by the hand again. Leads me back. Much, much later, after dark I am in the woods again. I see a tiger leaping from tree to tree. Then I see this huge black dog, as big as a tiger, it is jumping after the tiger. Following just behind. I know these animals too. But only from stories.

The Lightning Tiger waits till you are directly under a branch, then it leads over, drops on you and eats you. But the black dog can save you. I realise who the black dog is. It's my friend. I try to walk home, avoiding branches. But there's this sense of danger. And excitement. All I have to do is step under a branch, and I'd get to see what would happen.


I woke up utterly stumped by this one. Hence, I'm writing it out for a second time.

Black dog: I used to be afraid of dogs. Big, black dogs especially. But then I grew to like them.

Lightning Tiger: in A Scanner Darkly, there's a story about an animal that kills animals just like the tiger does. It's this beautiful black and white wolf, with power and grace. The farmers have to kill it. and mount its hide. People come from miles around to marvel at its beauty. But it had to die, because you have to kill animals like that. This is the only story a washed-up drug addict knows.

This dream is a bit of a reversal, in that the black dog doesn't seem to be evil. But it has this necessary other, which is dangerous.

But maybe there's a difference between danger and evil. The black dog seems to be my capacity to work, while the tiger is my risk-taking and playing. The black dog can achieve a lot on its own, but when it's combined with play it becomes graceful.



LISTS AND LINKS: forests - Wales - elves and fairies - guides in dreams - dogs and wolves - tigers - You Are Lunch - dares and challenges - literary dreams - Philip K. Dick - dream advice - More dreams by Jo -

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