Who Is the Sandman, How Did the Elf Get His Name, and Where Does the Sandman Come From?

The Sandman is an elf who sprinkles sand in children’s eyes to make them sleepy.

The character is derived from the remarkable mind of Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875), the Danish writer famous for his fairy tales.

Andersen’s Sandman was a device to explain to children the reason for the grit or “sleep” in their eyes when they woke up in the morning.

The Sandman is found in Andersen’s 1850 story “Ole Lukoie,” which means “Olaf Shuteye.”

Olaf carried two umbrellas.

Over good children he held an umbrella with pictures that inspired beautiful dreams.

Over bad children he held the other umbrella, which had no pictures and caused frightful dreams.

Andersen was born in the slums of Odense, Denmark, and his incredible life story is well worth reading for inspiration.