It was near the end of dusk, but not yet dark, and I was walking through the meadows in Edinburgh. Looking behind me, I saw two huge, indistinct shapes under the trees. I stopped and peered into the gloom, trying to make out what they were.
I remembered that rhinoceroses are just about the most deadly animal in the world, after the hippopotamus and the mosquito (everyone knows this fact) and decided to get out of there as quickly as I could manage without tipping them off to my presence.
I quickly reached the edge of the meadows and glanced back to see if I'd been noticed. Bad news - the rhinoceroses were now a couple of elephants, and they were heading my way. I should have kept moving, in order to keep the elephants behind me, but I'd stopped to stare at them for too long, and I found that they'd cut off my way out of the park.
I pressed myself against the wall as they drew nearer, their trunks waving around curiously. They didn't appear to be angry or violent, but they were massive and heading towards me and I felt trapped and pretty small and squashable. Indeed, I was going to be squashed! By strolling elephants! This was it! Help!
Notes for Freudian Interpretation
A day or so before the dream, I'd flicked through a big hardback book about elephants that I'd spent 20 quid on back in the days when I didn't have enough money to be wasting it on big hardback books about elephants, so the purchase had been pretty significant. I was clearing out a bookshelf -- culling neglected books to make space for yet more books -- and filling a bag to take to the charity shop. Would the elephant book go to charity? When I bought it, I justified the purchase by telling myself that it would be an essential work of reference for my artistic career, which would probably involve my doing lots of pictures of elephants. I rarely buy any expensive book unless I can somehow convince myself that it will come in handy for a practical purpose. Sometimes, the book actually does prove to be of some use, but not in this case. The elephant book has been used for precisely no artistic works, although I've read it and thought it was quite interesting.
I decided to save it. I have no plans for any elephant pictures at this point, and I can't see myself doing any in the future, but I like the pictures in the book.
I don't know why the elephants started off as rhinoceroses. Freud says that transformations in dreams are a form of grammar, though, so the "sentence" would go something like: "rhinoceroses, BUT elephants" or "rhinoceroses, BECAUSE elephants". Of course, we'd have to attach some interpretation to each of the other two elements in the sentence in order to interpret it.
And my subconscious was utterly wrong about the degree of deadliness of rhinoceroses, although it correctly placed mosquito first. The real list, approved by science and everything, is this:
1 - Mosquito. 2 - Asian cobra. 3 - Australian box jellyfish. 4 - Great white shark. 5 - African lion. 6 - Australian saltwater crocodile. 7 - Elephant. 8 - Polar bear. 9 - Cape buffalo. 10 - Poison dart frog.