Dream: Child aged 10 months dream of strawberries: 31st October 1897 : Sigmund Freud

by Julia Evans on October 31, 1897

First appearance:

This first appeared in a letter of 31st October 1897 from Sigmund Freud to Wilhelm Fliess available here  Letter from Sigmund Freud to Wilhelm Fliess: 31st October 1897 : Known as Letter 73 or here. The dream is in the extracts below from both translations:

a)  Letter from Sigmund Freud to Fliess of 31st October 1897 (Letter 73): Translated by Jeffrey Masson : p275-276 of The complete letters of Sigmund Freud to Wilhelm Fliess, 1887-1904. (Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, Ed. and Trans.). (1985c). Cambridge, MA, and London: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.:

Do you believe that what children say in their sleep is part of dreaming? If so, I can present you with the very latest wish dream: Annerl, aged 11/2 years. She had to starve one day in Aussee because she threw up in the morning, which was blamed on a meal of strawberries. During the following night she called out a whole menu in her sleep: “Stwawberries, high berries, scwambled eggs, pudding.” I may have already told you this.

b)  Letter 73 from Sigmund Freud to Wilhelm Fliess (31st October 1897): Translated by James Strachey : : p227-228 in Marie Bonaparte, Anna Freud, and Ernst Kris, (Eds.), The origins of psycho-analysis: Letters to Wilhelm Fliess, drafts and notes, 1887-1902, (Eric Mosbacher & James Strachey, Trans.), London: Imago, 1954:

At the moment another period lacking in results has set in. Do you think that children’s talk in their sleep belongs to their dreams? If so, I can introduce you to the very latest wishdream. Little Anna, aged one-and-a-half, had to fast for a day at Aussee, because she had been sick in the morning, which was attributed to eating strawberries. During the night she called out a whole menu in her sleep: “Stwawbewwies, wild stwawbewwies, omblet, pudden !” I may perhaps already have told you this. [1] Footnote 1: See Interpretation of Dreams :1900 : SE: p.130 ; and “On Dreams” (1901 a)

Second appearance:

The Interpretation of Dreams : November 1899, published as 1900 : Sigmund Freud : Chapter III A Dream is the Fulfilment of a Wish :  [p491] p209-210 of Section III, A Dream is a Fulfilment of a Wish: pfl Volume 4, The Interpretation of Dreams : translated by James Strachey:

If I may include words spoken by children in their sleep under the heading of dreams, I can at this point quote one of the most youthful dreams in my whole collection. My youngest daughter, then nineteen months old, had had an attack of vomiting one morning and had consequently been kept without food all day. During the night after this day of starvation she was heard calling out excitedly in her sleep: ‘Anna Fweud, stwawbewwies, wild stwawbewwies, omblet, pudden!’ At that time she was in the habit of using her own name to express the idea of taking possession of something. The menu included pretty well everything that must have seemed to her to make up a desirable meal. The fact that strawberries appeared in it in two varieties was a demonstration against the domestic health regulations. It was based upon the circumstance, which she had no doubt observed, that her nurse had attributed her indisposition to a surfeit of strawberries. She was thus retaliating in her dream against this unwelcome verdict.¹ [Freud’s footnote 1: The same feat was accomplished shortly afterwards by a dream produced by this little girl’s grandmother – their combined ages came to some seventy years. She had been obliged to go without food for a whole day on account of a disturbance due to a floating kidney. During the following night, no doubt imagining herself back in the heyday of her girlhood, she dreamt that she had been ‘asked out’ to both of the principal meals and been served at both with the most appetizing delicacies.]

Though we think highly of the happiness of childhood because it is still innocent of sexual desires, we should not forget what a fruitful source of disappointment and renunciation, and consequently what a stimulus to dreaming, may be provided by the other of the two great vital instincts.²

² [Footnote added in 1911:] A closer study of the mental life of children has taught us, to be sure, that sexual instinctual forces, in infantile form, play a large enough part, and one that has been too long overlooked, in the psychical activity of children. Closer study, too, has given us grounds for feeling some doubt in regard to the happiness of childhood as it has been constructed by adults in retrospect. Cf. my Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality (1905d). [Footnote added by James Strachey: The sentence in the text above is completely inconsistent with several other passages (eg on pfl’s p356 ff. below)]

Third appearance:

The Interpretation of Dreams : November 1899, published as 1900 : Sigmund Freud : Chapter III A Dream is the Fulfilment of a Wish :  [p593] p370-371 of Section V, The Material and Sources of dreams,  Section (D) Typical Dreams, part (β) Dreams of the Death of Persons of whom the Dreamer is Fond : I have spoken above of the egoism of children’s minds, and I may now add, with a hint at a possible connection between the two facts, that dreams have the same characteristic. All of them are completely egoistic: the beloved ego appears in all of them, even though it may be disguised. The wishes that are fulfilled in them are invariably the ego’s wishes, and if a dream seems to have been provoked by an altruistic interest, we are only being deceived by appearances. Here are a few analyses of instances which seem to contradict this assertion.

I

A child of under four years old reported having dreamt that he had seen a big dish with a big joint of roast meat and vegetables on it. All at once the joint had been eaten up – whole and without being cut up. He had not seen the person who ate it.

Who can the unknown person have been whose sumptuous banquet of meat was the subject of the little boy’s dream? His experiences during the dream-day must enlighten us on the subject. By doctor’s orders he had been put on a milk diet for the past few days. On the evening of the dream-day he had been naughty, and as a punishment he had been sent to bed without his supper. He had been through this hunger-cure once before and had been very brave about it. He knew he would get nothing, but would not allow himself to show by so much as a single word that he was hungry. Education had already begun to have an effect on him: it found expression in this dream, which exhibits the beginning of dream-distortion. There can be no doubt that the person whose wishes were aimed at this lavish meal – a meat meal, too – was himself. But since he knew he was not allowed it, he did not venture to sit down to the meal himself, as hungry children do in dreams. (Cf. my little daughter Anna’s dream of strawberries on p. 628.) The person who ate the meal remained anonymous.

Fourth appearance

From Sigmund Freud : On Dreams (1901a) Part III [p629] : Standard Edition, Volume 5, p633, London, 1951

Moreover, an examination of these dreams offers advantages from another standpoint. For children’s dreams are of that kind – significant and not puzzling. Here, incidentally, we have a further argument against tracing the origin of dreams to dissociated cerebral activity during sleep. For why should a reduction in psychical functioning of this kind be a characteristic of the state of sleep in the case of adults but not in that of children? On the other hand, we shall be fully justified in expecting that an explanation of psychical processes in children, in whom they may well be greatly simplified, may turn out to be an indispensable prelude to the investigation of the psychology of adults.

I will therefore record a few instances of dreams which I have collected from children. A little girl nineteen months old had been kept without food all day because she had had an attack of vomiting in the morning; her nurse declared that she had been upset by eating strawberries. During the night after this day of starvation she was heard saying her own name in her sleep and adding: ‘Stwawbewwies, wild stwawbewwies, omblet, pudden!’ She was thus dreaming of eating a meal, and she laid special stress in her menu on the particular delicacy of which, as she had reason to expect, she would only be allowed scanty quantities in the near future.

Fifth appearance

It was noted at the Reading Seminar VII Group on 27th October  2012 that this dream appears in the Beatles’ lyrics;

Let me take you down, ‘cos I’m going to Strawberry Fields.

Nothing is real and nothing to get hungabout.

Strawberry Fields forever.

 

Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see.

It’s getting hard to be someone but it all works out, it doesn’t matter much to me.

Let me take you down, ‘cos I’m going to Strawberry Fields.

Nothing is real and nothing to get hungabout.

Strawberry Fields forever.

 

No one I think is in my tree, I mean it must be high or low.

That is you can’t you know tune in but it’s all right, that is I think it’s not too bad.

Let me take you down, ‘cos I’m going to Strawberry Fields.

Nothing is real and nothing to get hungabout.

Strawberry Fields forever.

 

Always, no sometimes, think it’s me, but you know I know when it’s a dream.

I think I know I mean a ‘Yes’ but it’s all wrong, that is I think I disagree.

Let me take you down, ‘cos I’m going to Strawberry Fields.

Nothing is real and nothing to get hungabout.

Strawberry Fields forever.

Strawberry Fields forever.

Recorded during the Sgt. Pepper sessions, “Penny Lane” was released in February 1967 as one side of a double A-sided single, along with “Strawberry Fields Forever”. Both songs were later included on the Magical Mystery Tour LP (1967).