Three Lines of Old French
Introduction by Blake Wilfong

Are dreams merely the fantasies of the subconsicous mind--or voyages to other planes of existence? Abraham Merritt's eloquent and beautiful tale, "Three Lines of Old French", published in 1919, addresses this question.

The story also touches on other important aspects of dreams. Their content can be guided by suggestion, or influenced by sensory stimuli. And the protagonist, Peter Laveller, eventually realizes he is dreaming--which means his dream has become "lucid"! Stranger yet, a dream-character applies the classic reality test--pinching--to prove her existence to Laveller! Merritt apparently knew this test is flawed; it is quite possible to feel a dream-pinch. He also "knew" some misinformation: contrary to the popular beliefs of his time, there is now substantial evidence that dreams do not occur instantaneously.

Many people have dreamt of speaking with the deceased. (Frederik Van Eeden relates such experiences in "A Study of Dreams".) I myself have met wonderful dream characters--people seemingly imbued with emotions, intelligence, and unique personalities--who seemed utterly real. Are such persons merely fabrications of our own imaginations, or do they actually exist somewhere and somewhen?

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