Castles in the Sky

As long as Jason could remember, his dreams had been architectural. He dreamed of arches and columns, colonnades, cupolas, and decorative shutters.   Some nights he dreamed of gazebos and landscape design.

He didn’t realize this was at all unusual until his third birthday. His grandmother gave him a lovely book of fairy tales and invited him to sit in her lap to be read to. He looked at the castles carefully and was thrilled to see one that somewhat matched a building in his dreams the night before.

“I dreamed this one,” he said. “’Cept it had a pretty building in the center with a round roof and the windows were pretty glass. The outside windows all had shiny metal bars.”

“You are good at remembering your dreams,” his grandmother said. “Who lived in that castle?”

“Don’t know.” Jason said. “I only ever dream the buildings.”

The adults thought this was funny for some reason and laughed a lot. After that, his mother started asking him each morning about his dreams. She would ask all sorts of questions about what people said or what happened next or if there was maybe a bunny or a dragon or a dinosaur. “I told you,” he said each time. “I only dream the buildings.”

The next time he had a check-up, his mother asked the doctor about his dreams. “It sounds unusual, but I wouldn’t worry about it. He doesn’t have any difficulty sleeping, and he doesn’t seem disturbed or upset by these dreams. It may just be a phase.”

She told his father about it at dinner. He thought for a moment. “Perhaps if we feed his interest, he’ll be satisfied and move on. If not, he may just become a gifted architect. It couldn’t hurt. I’ll pick up some books at the library on my way home,” his father said.

Father started to read to Jason in the evenings about porticos, reliefs, and spandrels. Jason now had names for the parts of the buildings he dreamed of, but he did not stop dreaming of buildings. He liked the dreams of castles best. He drew with a ruler to direct his crayons and added ramparts and battlements, turrets and keeps to his drawings.

His mother bought a dream dictionary. “Was there more than one door? How many were opened and how many were closed? You may have some regrets over missed opportunities. Do you want to talk about it?” It was all very confusing.

One day, Grandmother came to visit. “It’s a nice day outside. I brought you some sidewalk chalk. Why don’t you go draw out on the patio in back?” Jason thanked her for the gift and ran outside.

His dream the night before had been especially grand. He carefully drew the details of the castle and was rather pleased with the results. He’d even carefully drawn the portcullis up and the drawbridge down, to show that it was peaceful and happy, just like it felt in his dream.

That night something woke him unexpectedly, just when he had been wandering through a library full of secret rooms. A wispy, see-through person stood at his bedside smiling and waving.   If he was a ghost, he was a friendly ghost, so Jason wasn’t afraid.

“Are you a ghost?” he asked, just to be certain.

“No,” the man said. “I am a cloud person. Thank you for building us such marvelous buildings over the years. You are very talented.”

“I was building cloud buildings with my dreams?” Jason asked. Somehow it seemed true. The buildings he visited in his dreams seemed too real not to exist somewhere.

“Yes. And we finally found you when we saw your drawing of the Grand Duke’s new palace. He’s throwing a party to celebrate his new home and would like you to come.”

“How would that work?” Jason asked.

The man gave him a necklace to wear with a big round flat blue stone pendant.   After he put it on, Jason could see through his hands. They were wispy and ghost-like, just like the rest of him.

The cloud person pulled something out of his pocket. It looked like a handkerchief, but grew after he pulled it out until it was the size of a rug. It looked like a piece of rainbow. The cloud man sat on it and Jason sat beside him.

They flew up, up into the clouds and through a cloud city. Jason recognized many of the buildings and gardens from his dreams. The grand castle he dreamt up the night before was at the far end of town. It was just as lovely as he’d dreamed. The grand duke welcomed him as a guest of honor.

There was a tour of the castle followed by speeches and dancing. Jason didn’t really like the food, but everything else was amazing.   The grand duke himself took Jason home when the party was over and thanked Jason again before he left.

Jason gave him back the pendant and snuggled into bed, hoping to find himself back in the library. He did.   It was a great dream.

“I went to a party at a palace last night,” Jason told his mother the next morning.

She smiled. “That’s great! So, do you think you’re done dreaming of buildings, then?”

“I don’t think so,” Jason said. And he was right.