Borges - Dreamtigers

In my childhood I was a fervent worshiper of the tiger—not the jaguar, that spotted "tiger" that inhabits the floating islands of water hyacinths along the Parana and the tangled wilderness of the Amazon, but the true tiger, the striped Asian breed that can be faced only by men of war, in a castle atop an elephant. I would stand for hours on end before one of the cages at the zoo; I would rank vast encyclopedias and natural history books by the splendor of their tigers. (I still remember those pictures, I who cannot recall without error a woman’s brow or smile.) My childhood outgrown, the tigers and my passion for them faded, but they are still in my dreams. In that underground sea or chaos, they still endure. As I sleep I am drawn into some dream or other, and suddenly I realize that it’s a dream. At those moments, I often think: This is a dream, a pure diversion of my will, and since I have unlimited power, I am going to bring forth a tiger.
Oh, incompetence! My dreams never seen to engender the creature I so hunger for. The tiger does appear, but it is all dried up, or it’s flimsy-looking, or it has impure vagaries of shape or an unacceptable size, or it’s altogether too ephemeral, or it looks more like a dog or bird than like a tiger.

The is the complete story of Borges's Dreamtigers. How I wish to be The Maker, even better than the Maker. In my dreams I can be one. I want to dream of things more subtle and more grander than the real. But see how miserable do I fail. Instead of a tiger, I do not know what I have dreamed. With my failing sight and spirit, I have brought life to an apparition. A spectre of the real that is not capable of anything. Of not even existing!

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