As a child, I was always afraid of animals and insects. We didn’t keep animals in the house and I wasn’t used to being around them. Why had God created cats and mice and chickens and cows? I wondered.

One hot summer night, my sister and I were sleeping in the yard, as we did every night. I was thinking about God’s creations. I saw myself in a house with many rooms. They were big and beautiful and empty.

Then an elephant appeared in front of me in one of the rooms. I saw a lion in another room. I was scared. I said to myself, “God, I hate animals. I am afraid of them. Why are they here?”

Suddenly more animals appeared in the rooms. They were coming towards me. I yelled “God! I do not like animals!” They disappeared. Then I saw my parents and my siblings sitting together in a room and talking. I called to my mother to tell her about the animals, but she could not hear me.

Then a voice coming from all sides was saying, “You do not like animals so we made them disappear. Your family too. We made them disappear.” I yelled, “Mom help me!” But her face became very strange. She became ugly with a black face and sharp, white teeth with her hair falling down on her forehead. She looked messy, with her sleeves hanging down to her fingers. It was a terrible face and body and I felt she wanted to eat me. I knew this was not my mother, and I regretted having asked for help, so I yelled to God: “You are the only one who can help me. I just want the help of you, no one else. I want to escape from here.”

My mother with the black face was now close to me, saying, “I am not your mother. I am evil.” When I heard this, the house disappeared, and I was then standing on top of a hill, looking down at flames and fire. The evil tried to catch me. I screamed and cried, but no one helped. I heard the voice again, saying, “You do not like animals, you should die too.”

I yelled loudly then, “God forgive me, help me escape from this place.” Everything disappeared, the evil, the hill, the flames.

When I opened my eyes I was in my yard. I was shocked, but very happy it was just a dream. I hid my face in my pillow and cried.

This dream affected me deeply. I now appreciate all of God’s creations and I learned that everything has its own benefits. I learned that in this kind of situation no one will help me except my God.

My view of animals has changed since my childhood. I have learned about animal life in biology class and I have learned about the connections between man and animals and our environment and the relationships among all living things. Although I still don’t often touch animals, I like them now, and at times I try to be near them and touch them as others do.

By Rahela

photo by Hennie van Heerden