seer sees his vision of the three-sailed ship.
Although delighted by it he is also troubled. He
is concerned for his readers lest they do not profit
by what they read. For this reason he warns some
against reading it.
They say there is a place, and even a time, between
sleeping and waking when we are between two worlds.
They say that in that between-ness we may see things
that are never there fully, either in waking or sleeping.
Of this I do not really know. It could well be so.
All I know is that I saw the three-sailed ship, clearly
as though it were fully in this world, and in no other
place. Yet it is also true that it was in another world,
where the dimensions were such as I had not known,
nor ever expect to know while this world stands.
This three-sailed ship was to say the least, startling.
I might as well warn you, that if you read this account
you, too will have to enter into the in-between time
and place, for in this place the reality of this world
is not rejected; indeed it is present. Again, in the
in-between world some other world is also present,
and it has the kind of dimensions you generally associate
with dreams. Yet it is real. Hence, when you see the
three-sailed ship with me, you will fully understand.
Given in all this, I have something of a warning for
you. For want of a better word I have to call my story
a vision, and yet I do not rightly know what a vision
is, and I doubt whether any can give you a true description
of a vision. A vision is like a dream, no doubt, but
it is something you see in your waking moments. Once
seen it is with you forever, and you cannot forget
it, A dream generally fades away like the mist dissipating
before the rising sun. Not so with a vision. To tell
the truth it enters into you and is there always, and
you can never get away from it.
I said, "a warning". Why then a warning,
and what for? The answer is that a vision is so powerful
it can totally change the life of a person. I need
not recount to you men and women, both religious and
otherwise, who have had visions, and what it has done
to them, and also what they have done as a result of
this vision. The ancients used to say, "Where
there is no vision the people perish", I like
that saying and am strongly inclined to believe it.
However, it is its corollary which frightens me. The
corollary is this, “Where the vision is told
the visionary perishes!”
Now the strange thing is that the
visionary lives in a terrible dilemma. If he tells
his vision he will
perish. If he does not tell it he will perish from
the containing of it within himself. The strong, hot,
and powerful vision will begin to work within him as
a strange power which cannot be contained, and the
pitiful visionary will feel its pull and tug and thrust,
and then the very structure of him—body and mind—will
feel the shaking and the trembling and the vibrations,
so much so that he will not endure the agony, and at
last, in an anguish of ecstasy he will tell the vision—come
death or come life. So it is with me.
So it is with me: I know that when I tell it the protest
of many will be so strong that I shall be run out of
town, or out of life, or be ridiculed, and the laughter
will not simply be scornful, but pitying and shattering,
making me foolish. However, since I would find the
pity better that the inward rumbling and tumbling and
vibrating, I am forced to share my vision with you.
Because I am launched into it I am anxious to tell
it and be over with it, and doubtless you also are