TRANSLATED, WITH AN INTRODUCTION, BY
EDWIN E. SLOSSON
B. W. HUEBSCH
Copyright, 1913, By THE INDEPENDENT
Copyright, 1914, By B. W. HUEBSCH
First printing, April, 1914
Second printing, November, 1914
Printed in U. S. A.
Before the dawn of history mankind was engaged in the study of dreaming. The wise
man among the ancients was preëminently the interpreter of dreams. The ability to
interpret successfully or plausibly was the quickest road to royal favor, as Joseph
and Daniel found it to be; failure to give satisfaction in this respect led to
banishment from court or death. When a scholar laboriously translates a cuneiform
tablet dug up from a Babylonian mound where it has lain buried for five thousand
years or more, the chances are that it will turn out either an astrological treatise or a
dream book. If the former, we look upon it with some indulgence; if the latter with
pure contempt. For we know that the study of the stars, though undertaken for
selfish reasons and pursued in the spirit of charlatanry, led at length to physical
science, while the study of dreams has proved as unprofitable as the dreaming of
them. Out of astrology grew astronomy. Out of oneir omancy has grown—nothing.
That at least was substantially true up to the beginning of the present century.
Dream books in all languages continued to sell in cheap editions and the
interpreters of dreams made a decent or, at any rate, a comfortable living out of the
poorer classes. But the psychologist rarely paid attention to dreams except