Le marchand de sable est passé

Discussion in 'French-English Vocabulary / Vocabulaire Français-Anglais' started by alicea, Jun 25, 2009.

  1. alicea Senior Member

    Hello, is there a phrase in english for :

    "Le marchand de sable est passé"

    meaning I feel so tired I need to rest... but applied to children when they rub their eyes when they are exhausted...
    Thank you very much :)
  2. gordon e-d Member

    France: Burgundy 71220
    english :England
    "the sandman comes" ?
  3. alicea Senior Member

    yes thank you, Gordon . Is it used in english?
  4. gordon e-d Member

    France: Burgundy 71220
    english :England
    It was when I was young ! but perhaps not current.
    In fact I remember it as "the sandman cometh". but that sound really archaic and I have no idea where it originates from .
  5. alicea Senior Member

    We still use "le marchand de sable est passsé" a lot in Champagne and probably in Burgundy too :)
  6. jscottseptembre Banned

    American English
    Do Americans say this also? Because I have never ever heard "the sandman has been" or whatever. Makes absolutely no sense to me
  7. dj09ou Member

    Michigan, USA
    English - US
    I'm not too sure I've heard anyone use that expression, but the figure of the sandman is fairly well understood, I'd think. I suspect it would be a bit more recognizable among the older generations than the younger.
  8. Uncle Bob Senior Member

    British English
    For "cometh", it rather depends how old "archaic" has to be. There was a song by Flanders and Swann entitled "The gas man cometh" which, I suppose, dates from the 1960s (1950s?). It is possible that its use in "the sandman cometh" derives from the song. I certainly use it still ("the postman cometh", "the dustman cometh") based on the song. But then I'm archaic!
  9. becel

    becel Senior Member

    Hi Alicea,
    Le marchand de sable is also used in the French Alps! I'd say everywhere, it's still very much the children language.
  10. Island Thyme Senior Member

    Washington, USA
    American English
    When I was a child, in the 1950s, we did say "a visit from the sandman." I think it's fading from use, but it's worth saving.
  11. Kecha Senior Member

    French (France)
    Mr. Sandman, bring me a dream...

    Initial song is from the 1950's but wikipedia says it's been covered in the 1970's, 1990's and even in 2007.
    But maybe I only know it because French brand Auchan uses it for their ads...
  12. sampat1running Senior Member

    it is archaic, but to explain for those who don't know, children rub their eyes when sleepy and parents say that the sandman has thrown sand in their eyes, it is rarely heard but still turns up in literature
  13. bh7 Senior Member

    Limestone City
    Canada; English
    Last edited: May 27, 2011
  14. William Stein Senior Member

    San Jose, Costa Rica
    American English
    I'm translating an advertisement for a luxury mattress company. After describing how comfortable the matress is, the conclusion is:

    Vous n'aurez plus l'occasion de croiser le marchand de sable...!

    That doesn't make any sense, does it? Or do they mean: "You won't need the Sandman's help to fall asleep [with this mattress]!"
  15. Nicomon

    Nicomon Senior Member

    Français, Québec ♀
    Hello William,

    In my opinion, your interpretation would be in French : « Vous n'aurez plus besoin de croiser... »

    A near literal translation would be: You won't have the opportunity to run into the Sandman.

    I understand it as : you'll fall asleep even before the Sandman comes / arrives.

    But you may want to wait for other opinions. :)
  16. William Stein Senior Member

    San Jose, Costa Rica
    American English
    Hi Nicomon,

    I understood the literal meaning I just didn't think it made any sense. Your clever interpretation does make sense (you'll fall asleep before the sandman comes), but I think most readers would interpret the literal meaning as insomnia (
    You won't have the opportunity to run into the Sandman), which would have a very bad effect in an advertisement for mattresses.
  17. Nicomon

    Nicomon Senior Member

    Français, Québec ♀
    Mind you... I also might have interpreted the literal meaning as insomnia, if it weren't for the fact that they are advertising mattresses.
    I can't say that this is the best image I've read, as far as advertising goes.

    I think it means something along the lines of : you'll fall asleep even before your eyes start itching (as if the Sandman had come and thrown sand in them).

    English not being my mother tongue, I'm sorry that I can't come with a clever/catchy idea to render it. :eek:
  18. William Stein Senior Member

    San Jose, Costa Rica
    American English
    That's pretty good but I don't think most English-speakers are aware of that eye-itching legend (personally, I read it for the first time in this thread). I think "you won't need any help from the sandman" should do it, since most people know it has something to do with falling asleep. I only ever think about the sandman when I watch that weird scene in "Blue Velvet" where Dennis Hopper puts on lipstick and tells that kid he almost kills: In dreams I WALK with you! In dreams, I TALK to you!
  19. Nicomon

    Nicomon Senior Member

    Français, Québec ♀
    My second idea (the part in italics) was to not even mention the sandman. I only added the parentheses.

    So if you're going back to your initial idea, then I guess I missed an opportunity to keep my mouth shot. :D
  20. William Stein Senior Member

    San Jose, Costa Rica
    American English
    I appreciate your comments, you have a lot of good ideas, I just don't think that the itching eyes make sense without knowing the sandman legend, and the only people who know it are probably so old that they'll probably die on the way to the store :) I think parents probably stopped telling their kids all those traditional fairy tales because a lot of them are so "grim(m)" (pun intended). "Mommy, why did the witch want to burn them alive?" - "Well, that's an interesting question Bobby!". Even having your kid play "innocent" roles like throwing sand in other kids' eyes to help them sleep might not be too appreciated these days.
  21. Uncle Bob Senior Member

    British English
    That's cheered me up for the day:).

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