Yesterday the anaesthetist called me to prepare for my surgery on Thursday, he said, “He would be looking after me for the day during my seven hours of surgery”. Into my head came an image of my mum saying when I was a child, that the Sandman came at night to help you to sleep. On Thursday I will have my very own Sandman to watch over me while I sleep and I hope that he will have the picture umbrella with him, as the story says below!
Traditionally, the Sandman is a character in childrens stories, he is said to sprinkle sand or dust on to the eyes of the children at night, to bring sleep and dreams. The grit or “sleepy men” in one’s eyes on waking is supposed to be the result of the Sandman’s work the previous evening.
Hans Christian Andersen’s 1841 folk tale “Ole Lukøje” tells of the Sandman named Ole Lukøje.
There is nobody in the world who knows so many stories as Ole Lukøje , or who can relate them so nicely. In the evening, while the children are seated at the table or in their little chairs, he comes up the stairs very softly, for he walks in his socks, then he opens the doors without the slightest noise, and throws a small quantity of very fine dust in their eyes, just enough to prevent them from keeping them open, and so they do not see him. Then he creeps behind them, and blows softly upon their necks, till their heads begin to droop. But Ole Lukøje does not wish to hurt them, for he is very fond of children, and only wants them to be quiet that he may relate to them pretty stories, and they never are quiet until they are in bed and asleep. As soon as they are asleep, Ole Lukøje seats himself upon the bed. He is nicely dressed; his coat is made of silken fabric; it is impossible to say of what color, for it changes from green to red, and from red to blue as he turns from side to side. Under each arm he carries an umbrella; one of them, with pictures on the inside, he spreads over the good children, and then they dream the most beautiful stories the whole night. But the other umbrella has no pictures, and this he holds over the naughty children so that they sleep heavily, and wake in the morning without having dreams at all. (ref. Hans Christian Anderson. Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Anderson. 1841. Wikipedia)