... in TRANSPOSING: ... the story between translation and adaptation - The Sandman


By ETA Hoffmann

Transposed from the German by Angelika Friedrich and Henry Whittlesey

Original title: DER SANDMANN

…the sandman was no longer that bogeyman from the metallica song, the guy who gathers children's eyes to feed the owl's nest on the half-moon. no! he was a hideous, ghostly fiend who brought complaints – distress – worldly, eternal perdition.

I was entranced. at the risk of being discovered and – as I clearly thought – punished severely, I remained standing, my ear turned to the curtain, listening. my dad greeted socular solemnly. let's get started, he cried in a squeaky, purring voice and tossed off his jacket. my dad removed his blazer – still, gloomy – and both put on long black smocks. where they got them, I did not see. my dad opened the wing door of a wall closet; but I saw that what I had always considered to be a wall closet, was actually a black hollow with a small stove. socular moved closer and a blue flame crackled on the stove. all kinds of strange devices stood around. oh my god! as my old dad now bent toward the fire, he looked very different. a hideous, spasmodic pain seemed to have distorted his gentle, honest features into the ugly, repulsive image of the devil. he looked similar to socular. the latter swung glowing red tongs and pulled a brightly blinking mass out of the thick smoke that he then eagerly hammered. it looked as if human faces were visible everywhere, but without eyes - disgusting, deep black holes instead. give me the eyes, give me the eyes! socular called in a muffled, echoing voice. I screeched, gripped violently by wild fright, and tumbled out of my hiding place and onto the floor. socular grabbed me, you little beast! – you little beast! he grumbled, clenching his teeth! he riped me up and threw me on the stove. the flames began to singe my hair: now we have eyes – eyes – a beautiful pair of children's eyes," whispered socular and he took hold of the glowing red beads in the flame that he wanted to strew in my eyes. but here my dad raised his hands imploringly in the air and shouted. master! master! let my matthew keep his eyes – let him keep them!" socular laughed shrilly and shouted: let the young man keep his eyes and do his duty in life ...

Entire text is available in the first collection of transpositions titled From Wahnsinnig to the Loony Bin