In 1865, in a small town in Germany, a little boy was very sick. His name was Max Hoffman.
"Will our son die?" Max's parents asked the doctor.
"Maybe," the doctor said quietly. "Stay with Max. Keep him warm. That's all you can do."
For three days Max lay in his bed. Then he died. He was only five years old.
Max's parents buried their son in the town cemetery. That night Max's mother had a terrible dream. She dreamed that Max was moving in his coffin. She screamed in her sleep.
"Sh, sh," her husband said. "It's all right. You had a bad dream."
The next night Max's mother screamed in her sleep again. She had the same terrible dream.
On the third night Max's mother had another bad dream. She dreamed that Max
was crying. She got out of bed and got dressed. "Quick! Get dressed," she told her husband. "We're going to the cemetery. I want to see Max. I want to dig up his coffin."
At four o'clock in the morning Max's parents and a neighbor hurried to the cemetery. They dug up Max's coffin and opened it. There was Max. He looked dead. But something was different. When Max's parents buried him, he was lying on his back. Now he was lying on his side.
Max's father carried Max home. Then he ran to get the doctor. For an hour the doctor rubbed whiskey on Max's lips and warmed his body. Then Max opened his eyes. Max was alive! A week later he was playing with his friends.
Max Hoffman died—really died—in the United States in 1953. He was 93 years old.