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The Two Curmas

Categories: Ghost Stories
Scary Books: The Book Of Dreams And Ghosts
: Andrew Lang

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 C
ria 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


"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:--