I dream a lot, but I rarely have nightmares. I think that if I ever found myself haunted by terrible dreams, I would self-prescribe a generous dose of Granny Weatherwax’s headology. So… when Björn, over at the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, asked, “How about the nightly visits?” I responded with a poem inspired by Granny’s headology, in Terry Pratchett’s Maskerade.
I collect nightmares.
Petunia was my first, named
after a great-aunt, who forced me
into pink lace, taffeta and chiffon,
topped by a brain-shrinking tiara.
She wilts under black ink,
at the sight of comfy jeans.
The Prick, my second nightmare,
wears eyes, teeth and stink
that fit Aunt Petunia’s son.
She says The Prick doesn’t exist;
but armed me with couch-talk
and pills of fog, to quiet
what might lurk in my dark.
Talk and fog make poor weapons
against crooked teeth and eyes aflame.
To collect The Prick, I had to craft
a heavy Nightmare-Be-Naught Stick.
On days of turmoil, The Prick
has tried to creep into my sleep;
but my Stick breaks his teeth
and puts out his eyes
before he can spread his stink.
I collect nightmares… and Sticks.
Headology: “Granny Weatherwax had never heard of psychiatry and would have had no truck with it even if she had. There are some arts too black even for a witch. She practiced headology—practiced, in fact, until she was very good at it. And though there may be some superficial similarities between a psychiatrist and a headologist, there is a huge practical difference. A psychiatrist, dealing with a man who fears he is being followed by a large and terrible monster, will endeavor to convince him that monsters don’t exist. Granny Weatherwax would simply give him a chair to stand on and a very heavy stick.” ~ Maskerade
linked to Rereading My Pratchett
“I Said No Bogeymen”, by Zorm
(This illustration was inspired by Hogfather, a different Pratchett book. But the character’s reaction to the boogeyman makes me think that she, too, has heard of Granny’s headology.)