Eat My Dreams!
What’s the best way to get rid of bad dreams and nightmares? Eat them.
There’s one strange and helpful creature known as a “baku” in Japanese Shinto mythology that does exactly that: it eats dreams.
Traditionally the baku was represented with tigerlike claws, an elephant’s head and tusks and a cow’s tail. A bit fearsome.
But over time it has become a lot more gentle and nowdays is thought of as like a kind of tapir. They are pleasant creatures always willing to help human beings, and wander around in groups grazing with their long snouts.
“yume wo taberu!” *
If you have a bad dream, you simply call the tapir and it will come and eat the dream for you. Such a cool idea!
* yume = “dream”, taberu = “eat”
It’s great for children who are reassured by their parents at bedtime that the baku are there looking after them while they sleep.
Sometimes pictures are used, or even fluffy tapir stuffed toys.
In an endearing twist, apparently sometimes if you’re having a good dream a gentle tapir might just come along and eat that too, leaving you without any dream at all!