Nonfiction > Lionel Strachey, et al., eds. > The World’s Wit and Humor > American
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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes.  1906.
Vols. I–V: American
 
A Remarkable Dream
By Charles Henry Parkhurst (1842–1933)
 
MANY stories are told of children, but this strikes me as a remarkable one in many ways, not the least of which is that it is true.  1
  This child was allowed to sit up one evening when there were guests at dinner. The child was five years old.  2
  Her grandmother was her especial guardian in matters of conduct, and toward the middle of the dinner, feeling that the child had been up longer than was good for her, told her that she must say good night and go up to bed.  3
  The child did not show any ill-temper. She had been well brought up, and she left the table without any protest.  4
  But the next morning at breakfast she complained to her mother that she had had such a terrible dream. Her mother and her grandmother tried to get her to tell what it was, but she hesitated. She did not want to tell her dream. Finally she said:  5
  “I dreamed that I was dead.”  6
  Her mother was worried, and asked her to tell the rest of her dream.  7
  “I dreamed that I was dead, and I went up to heaven and knocked at the gate. And then some one came to the gate, and he had keys in his hand, and so I knew it must be St. Peter”—the child had had Bible instruction—“and St. Peter said, ‘Well, little girl, what do you want here?’  8
  “And I said, ‘I died, and I’ve come up to heaven.’  9
  “And St. Peter said: ‘I’m sorry, little girl, but heaven’s full. There isn’t any room for you.’  10
  “So I went away, and then I went down to hell, and knocked at the door. A man came to open the door—and he was a very nice-looking man. ‘Well,’ he said, ‘little girl, what are you coming here for?’  11
  “And I said, ‘I died, and I went up to heaven, and St. Peter said he couldn’t let me in, and all that sort of thing, so I came here.’  12
  “And the man was very nice. He said: ‘Well, we’ll find room for you, little girl. We’ve got a good many people here, but we’ll find some place for you.’ So I went in, and it seemed to be quite a pleasant place, and there were a good many people there. It didn’t seem to be a very uncomfortable place. And the man took me to a room where there was a lounge against the wall, and he said, ‘You can sit there on the lounge for a little while, but you can’t stay very long, because we’re saving this lounge for your grandmother.’”  13
  Well, there was nothing to be said. It was her dream. They couldn’t punish her. They just had to let it go—but I’ve never believed it was a dream.  14
 
 
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