[from 'The Woman of Knockaloe' 1923]



I should like to say, for whatever it may be worth in excuse and explanation, that the following story, in all its essential features, came to me in a dream on a night of disturbed sleep early in December, 1922. Awakening in the grey dawning with the dream still clear in my mind, I wrote it out hastily, briefly, in the present tense, without any consciousness of effort, not as a smooth and continuous tale, but in broken scenes, now vague, now vivid, just as it seemed to pass before me.

Only then did I realize, first, that my dream contained incidents of actual occurrence which had quite faded from my conscious memory; next, that it could not claim to be otherwise true to the scene of it ; and finally, that it was in the nature of a parable which expressed, through the medium of a simple domestic tale, the feelings which had long oppressed me on seeing that my cherished hope of a blessed Peace that should wipe out war by war and build up a glorious future for mankind, had fallen to a welter of wreck and ruin.

There were reasons why I should not put aside an urgent task and write out my dream into a story, and other reasons why I should not attempt to publish anything that was so much opposed to the temper of the time, but I had to write it for the relief of my own feelings, and here it is written. And now I publish it with many mis- givings and only one expectation-that in the present troubled condition of the world, in the midst of the jealousy and hatred, the suffering and misery of the nations, which leave them groaning and travailing in pain, and heading on to an apparently inevitable catastrophe, even so humble and so slight a thing as this may perhaps help the march of a moving Providence and the healing of the Almighty hand.

It was a dream. Ah, what is not a dream ?

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