10. “What’ll I do if I have a nightmare?” she asked. “I often have nightmares and then Grannie takes me into her bed—I can’t stay in the dark—it all gets ‘whispery’...”
“You just go to sleep, child,” said Alice, pulling off her socks, “and don’t you scream and wake your poor Pa.”
But the same old nightmare came — the butcher with a knife and a rope, who came nearer and nearer, smiling that dreadful smile, while she could not move, could only stand still, crying out, “Grandma! Grandma!” She woke shivering to see Father beside her bed, a candle in his hand.
“What’s the matter?” he said.
Kezia is all alone in the house at night time, with her cook Alice and her father. Being a little girl, she is scared of being alone in the night. She usually gets nightmares. Most young children get nightmares because adults most often scare them with ghost stories to make them eat or to obey them. Little children believe whatever elders tell them. Sometimes it can affect them to a great extent. Kezia worries if she would get nightmares. A nightmare is a nasty dream which is frightening. She says that she would often have nightmares and it was grandma who would take care of her. She would take Kezia to bed and stay with her until she sleeps. Kezia tells Alice that she finds it difficult to stay inside a dark room. Darkness can be scary to even adults as one cannot see what is happening around them. Mostly supernatural elements are associated with darkness.
The little girl is scared of nightmares
Kezia also says that the darkness makes it appear as though someone is whispering. When it is quiet in the night, every minute sound appears as a whisper. Alice tries to console her, saying that she should not overthink. Being the cook of the house, all she cares about is if the child has been put to bed and has been attended to. She removes the socks on Kezia's foot to get ready for putting her to sleep. But she also warns that if Kezia makes any sound in her sleep due to a nightmare, it might wake her father up.
Although Kezia tried sleeping, the same old nightmare came back to her. In it, she saw a butcher with a knife and rope approaching her, bearing an evil smile. She was so scared that she could only stand up and cry out. She calls out for her grandma as she is the only one who could comfort her. But instead, she sees her father standing by her bedside holding a candle. He had woken up hearing the noise and come to see what it was all about. He questions her as to what had happened.
She gets a nightmare
Words with difficult meaning:
|Nightmare||An unpleasant dream|
|Whisper||To talk slowly|
|Butcher||A person who cuts or sells meat|
National Council of Educational Research and Training (2006). Beehive. The Little Girl - Katherine Mansfield (pp.32-35). Published at the Publication Division by the Secretary, National Council of Educational Research and Training, Sri Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi.