Babar’s Dream (The Dark Thoughts Fleeing)

The Dark Thoughts Fleeing (Babar's Dream)
My mom recently sent me this email about my last blog post, The Dark Thoughts Approaching:

"The Dark Thoughts look a *lot* like the bad dreams in the Babar book that  scared you when you were little. I couldn’t possibly put this on your blog—everyone would know your MOTHER was doing it. But it really struck me.—Love, Mom"

Thanks, Mom!

Above is the illustration from the book, Babar the King (Le Roi Babar) by Jean de Brunhoff.

Apparently I was about three or four years old when this frightened me. I don’t really remember being afraid of it, but just looking at it as an adult, I can see how it might have disturbed me as a child. Brunhoff’s creatures are truly demonic looking. There’s a primal and vivid wickedness in these, however kind of obsurd or cartoony. And though they’re supposedly being driven back, perhaps to some underworld, I’m afraid they may be driven right off the page and into our world. But I’m able to revel in these images now. The embodying of the respective concepts (fear, despair, spinelessness, etc.) is genius and done with such beautiful simplicity. Wild imagination really gets to shine here (even if it does scare little kids).

8 Responses to “Babar’s Dream (The Dark Thoughts Fleeing)”

  1. 1 Jamie

    This is quite amazing, both in its similarity to your dark thoughts and as a stand alone piece. I love what you said about the dark thoughts looking as if they are being chased into our world; an impression I had before being able to verbalize it. ~J

  2. 2 Lee-Roy

    Thank you, Jamie. Fortunately they are still securely on the page.

    Or are they?

  3. 3 Cheryl

    Dark, but still…Sickness is pretty damn cute.

  4. 4 Lee-Roy

    Yeah, a lot of them are actually kind of cute in a weird way. Maybe they’re just misunderstood.

  5. 5 Jim Deutsch

    I am giving a talk on children and how they manage their struggles with all their dark thoughts. I was searching google images for this picture of Babar.
    Thanks. It would help the people I am talking to, to work better with troubled children.
    I liked your blog post. I saw a little boy in the clinic who had his first seizure while watching Babar deal with having to go to the dentist. It can really affect children-and grownups.
    Jim Deutsch, Toronto

  6. 6 Lee-Roy

    Hello Jim,

    Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and experiences. I’m glad you enjoyed the post and wish you the best of luck in your efforts. I do believe art (and cartoons) comes from and can tap into a very powerful place. Is it good or bad that artwork and stories can elicit negative responses, and especially in children? I don’t know, but somehow I think these experiences are valuable. I certainly do think it is valuable that artists be free to express themselves in ways that are sometimes grotesque or haunting or stressful for the viewer. I imagine you can learn a lot by someone’s response to a work of art or a story and still allow an environment that is very safe for that person. It is only an image, after all. That seeming innocence can put us at ease a little more and also allow us to get even deeper and closer to that fear than we would normally be willing, perhaps.

    You’ve provoked some interesting thoughts. Thanks for commenting.

  7. 7 Roy Leonhardt

    Lee Roy,

    My name is Roy Lee Leonhardt. I have been here before and must leave a comment this time around. Your story and illustration have great significance on a world level.

    These bad dreams and negative thoughts and energies are of great personal developmental and even spiritual importance. I Love you mother and the way she explained it to you. What a wonderful kind and giving soul. You must really Love her very much. I know she sure does Love you. Thanks for posting this I don’t know why I was drawn to it. Perhaps your name or the like. But just thought I had to share.

    Love Your blog. Keep up the great work.

    Love You,


  8. 8 Lee-Roy

    Roy — It has been a very long time since your comment. I have not maintained this blog much in the past year or more. However, I did want to thank you for your comment and I’m very glad you found this post so significant. Thanks for the kind words and, by the way, nice name you’ve got there.

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