I decided to write this story because I think this is how most of our fairy tale creatures came about. Small parts of this are based on what I read about The Sandman, but most of it it elaboration.
Settle down my young ones. Your father and mother have had a long day tending to the homestead and plowing the field, so they’ve asked granny to put you to bed, and that’s what I shall do.
Why do you have to go to bed? My dear little Abigail, you need your sleep. If you don’t sleep, you’ll be tired and unhappy all day tomorrow. And if you never sleep your face will look haggard and worn as you grow older and you’ll never look attractive to the young men you encounter in town.
What’s that? You don’t care about suitors, Abigail? You simply wish to spend all night playing with your dolls and helping the cat to catch the mice? Oh, you too, Edward?
But you must sleep or you will not be visited by your friend, The Sandman! Who is The Sandman? Why, young man, he is a helpful little imp who visits you in the night with his bag of magic sand! He sprinkles it into your eyes while they are closed and sends you off to a wonderful land of dreams and beautiful visions! You’ll know he visited when you wake up in the morning because his sand will still be in the corners of your eyes and you’ll feel refreshed and wonderful and it’s all thanks to The Sandman!
EDWARD!! Get back in bed this instant and stop trying to pull the dog’s tail out!! When Barnabas yelps so, it is because he is in distress! Yes, that’s good, sit back in bed. Now where did Abigail go? ABIGAIL!! You may not stoke the fire further with your father’s writings! Put them back where you found them this instant! EDWARD!! Do not strike your sister for being impudent when you yourself are just as much of a young scoundrel! If both of you do not cease your antics then The Sandman will get you!
What? You thought I said The Sandman was your friend? Well children, that is true for good boys and girls who listen to their elders. But if The Sandman feels that you are naughty, then he is an imp with a most unfavorable disposition.
You see, you must keep your eyes shut, and shut them well, for if The Sandman believes that you have spied him, then he will come forth, sit upon your chest (which will pin your arms and legs down to the bed) and dig his long-nailed fingers into the edges of your eyes. You may attempt to squirm and wriggle your way out, but his nails will bore ever further in. Pain will bristle into your skull and it will feel as though it will take permanent residence inside your head. Once The Sandman has dug all the way to the back of your sockets, he shall pull your eyes out with a loud, audible pop, which may sound like a lollipop being extruded from your puckered mouth. The sound will frighten you so much that you shall never taste sweets again without remembering that horrid night and you will immediately cry blood from your empty, gaping sockets.
What’s that, Abigail? You are afraid of going blind? Oh my dear, you won’t go blind! No, not at all. For The Sandman will cast a spell upon your eyes and you shall be forced to see through them, even as they are rent from the muscles and cast into his magical bag. There, you will still see, and feel, the contents within his bag. The sand will scratch at your eyes all through the night as he continues his rounds to other children’s houses. You may have other eyes accompany you upon the journey that evening as well. They will stare back at you with the same sad disbelief as you are all jostled about until the morn.
What happens then? Then, The Sandman will travel back to his cave on the moon where your eyes will become a feast for his children. They will snatch your eyes up in one quick motion, with their fanged teeth gnashing down upon them. but your eyes shall not burst, little ones. They be chewed upon as though they were taffy and then they will be swallowed whole. They will travel down the green and slimy gullet until they reach their final resting place in the pit of the young imps’ stomachs. You will still see the cavernous and terrifying lining of their insides for all of your days on earth. Occasionally you will experience great pain again as your eyes are feasted upon by the spiders and beetles that the imps swallow whole. You will scream out in terror throughout the day and night whenever you are besieged by one of these frightening creatures and you will collapse to the floor, unable to control your functions.
Now now, children… Your eyes seemed to have closed, yet your cries go on unabated. This will not do either. Perhaps I should tell you of The Sandman’s friend, Mr. Sleep…