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The Two Curmas






A rustic named Curma, of Tullium, near Hippo, Augustine's town, fell
into a catalepsy. On reviving he said: "Run to the house of Curma
the smith and see what is going on". Curma the smith was found to
have died just when the other Curma awoke. "I knew it," said the
invalid, "for I heard it said in that place whence I have returned
that not I, Curma of the Curia, but Curma the smith, was wanted." But
Curma of the Curia saw living as well as dead people, among others
Augustine, who, in his vision, baptised him at Hippo. Curma then, in
the vision, went to Paradise, where he was told to go and be baptised.
He said it had been done already, and was answered, "Go and be truly
baptised, for _that_ thou didst but see in vision". So Augustine
christened him, and later, hearing of the trance, asked him about it,
when he repeated the tale already familiar to his neighbours.
Augustine thinks it a mere dream, and apparently regards the death of
Curma the smith as a casual coincidence. Un esprit fort, le Saint
Augustin!

"If the dead could come in dreams," he says, "my pious mother would no
night fail to visit me. Far be the thought that she should, by a
happier life, have been made so cruel that, when aught vexes my heart,
she should not even console in a dream the son whom she loved with an
only love."

Not only things once probably known, yet forgotten, but knowledge
never _consciously_ thought out, may be revealed in a dramatic dream,
apparently through the lips of the dead or the never existent. The
books of psychology are rich in examples of problems worked out, or
music or poetry composed in sleep. The following is a more recent and
very striking example:--





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