Dream of: 13 April 1997 "Prince Valiant"

Snow. Lots of snow. Everything outside my window was white. A pretty sight. Carolina and I were staying in a lodge at a park, in a room on the ground floor, and right outside was the snow-covered forest. From the window I could see Picasso and Chaucer, romping in the snow. As was our wont, even though I knew it wasn't allowed, I had taken the dogs off the leash and let them run wild.

Suddenly, however, I realized I might have made a mistake, for I saw that the dogs were chasing something, probably a cat. The cat, like the dogs, was also white with black spots. At first I thought the cat was going to escape, but then to my shock, I saw both dogs grab the cat, one dog at each end, and start pulling on the cat as if it were a rag.

Not dressed, I quickly grabbed a pair of pants and pulled them on. But I didn't take time to put on anything else, and bare-foot and bare-chested I opened the door to our room and ran out into the snow. I thought that since I was so excited I probably wouldn't feel the cold on my feet. And I was right: I ran toward the dogs, not feeling anything.

Carolina followed behind me, and by the time we reached the dogs, I saw that someone else had beat us to them: a park ranger. He was probably in his 40s and dressed in the typical green ranger uniform. He had already forced the dogs away from the injured animal lying in front of him. Actually, now that I was close enough, I saw two injured animals, and neither was a cat as I had originally thought when looking from a distance. One appeared to be another dog, and it didn't appear to be badly injured. It was the second animal which looked to be in bad shape: a baboon.

The brownish-gray baboon, about the size of a five year-old child, appeared to have been badly mauled. It was the kind of baboon which had bright red and blue fluorescent colors in its nose, and I saw at once that it was a beautiful creature. Or at least it had been before the dogs had attacked it. I quickly commanded the dogs to stay back and they half-heartedly obeyed. Carolina also worked on keeping the dogs back. I knelt down beside the ranger and looked more closely at the wounded baboon. I couldn't tell how seriously the animal was injured, but I could see that the skin had been ripped down to the bone on its front arms. There was quite a bit of blood on the white snow, but I couldn't tell if the baboon had been internally injured. I felt terrible about the whole thing, but I didn't know what I could do now.

I figured that the ranger would be very upset and that I would receive a heavy fine or some other type of punishment. I was willing to pay the fine. It was obvious that the whole thing was my fault. But to my surprise, the ranger didn't seem to be trying to place any blame. When he finally began talking, I was able to figure out that the baboon and the other dog likewise weren't supposed to be in the park, that they weren't park animals, but that they had apparently been abandoned there. The ranger was concerned about the injuries of the baboon, but he in no way seemed intent on punishing me.

He seemed more interested in figuring out who had left the baboon and the other dog there. And looking around us, we saw other signs of who had been there. Sitting right next to us was a long cafeteria-style table with all sorts of books and other paraphernalia piled on it. As we looked at the books, it was soon clear that all the books seemed to have something to do with women and girls, and I began to have the idea that some kind of group, something like the girl scouts, had been out here for a meeting, and they had left not only the table and books, but the dog and the baboon. Clearly the ranger had the same impression and he rather disparagingly muttered, "Broads."

I was a bit disappointed I hadn't noticed the table and the things on it before. It looked as if the ranger was probably just going to have everything on the table thrown away. Among the items were some non-sport trading cards which looked rather interesting and which I thought I might like to have; but I didn't want to let him see that I was interested in such trivial things.

However, I also noticed that just to my left was an upright cabinet, sitting next to the table, which also had things on its shelves. From where the ranger was standing, he couldn't see what was inside the cabinet. My view however was unobstructed, and I saw the same type of women's and girls books crowding the shelves. But I also noticed some boxes of non-sport trading cards. One box contained "Loony Tunes" cards, and I thought I might like to have those. But then I saw another long unopened box which contained "Prince Valiant" trading cards. The box looked very old and I immediately wanted it.

Carolina walked up beside me as I pulled the "Prince Valiant" box down from the shelf. Since the ranger still couldn't see us, I told Carolina to put the box under her coat. I couldn't do it because I wasn't wearing a coat. Carolina seemed reluctant, but she finally acquiesced. Once she had the box under her coat, with the two dogs in tow now on their leashes, she started walking back toward the lodge. I noticed that the box was making a slight sound when she moved, as of something was settling in the box, and I hoped the ranger wouldn't hear it and get suspicious. But of course it wasn't as if we were stealing anything: the ranger was going to throw everything away anyway. I just didn't want him to know I was interested in something as trite as trading cards.

The ranger didn't suspect anything, and once Carolina had proceeded on, I turned my attention back to him and the baboon. The ranger spoke to me, and from what he said, I gathered that he was just going to leave the baboon there, and hope that it recovered on its own. He advised me to keep the dogs away from the baboon, but he gave no commands, leaving me with he impression that whatever I did was up to me. He said that in nine or ten days the baboon would probably recover. I knew I wasn't going to be there that long, but I didn't see any reason to bring it up to the ranger.

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