Once upon a time, there was a man who had everything that he could ever possibly want. In fact, he even had everything that he could impossibly want (which is, as everyone knows, a very tricky feat indeed.) He lived long ago, as most people in these stories do, and so his life was much simpler than yours or mine.
He may have had everything that he could have ever possibly (or impossibly) wanted, but there was one thing that he didn’t have. The problem is, he didn’t want it. Now of course, I’ve already said (twice) that he had everything that he ever could have possibly (or impossibly) wanted, so what is it that existed that he could never have? That thing, you see, was a dream.
The problem with dreams is that they never occur when one wants; in fact, if one wants a dream bad enough, he is bound to dream about the wanting. The peculiar case of the gentleman in our story, however, is that he knew nothing of dreams. He had never had one, and he could not grasp the concept when it was explained to him. This most unfortunate affliction left our protagonist most confused and perplexed.
In his confusion, he began to ponder the vastness of the quandary that had sprung before him. He thought about dreams, and he wondered why he could not experience them. He knew that dreams existed, yet he had never known one himself. He could not, therefore, want something about which he knew nothing. The concept of a dream can be explained, but the dream itself is a unique and personal experience, something that goes beyond the scope of mere bedtime stories.
Seeing himself in this fix, he decided that he should never sleep again. So he went to the South Pole, which is quite cold, and he slept amongst the penguins and walruses until he died. That is why, from that point onward, the penguins formed a secret society of dream-creators. The penguins creep from house to house and whisper the most inane things in your ears. So if you ever have a strange dream, remember the man who could not dream, and thank your guardian penguins.
Everything seems like a good idea at 12:30 at night…. even this story…