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Baldanders or The Soon-Another is a creature of Germanic literary myth that features protean properties.
Baldanders was first conceived by shoemaker and writer Hans Sachs after reading the description of Proteus in The Odyssey. According to Sachs’ and collected descriptions, the Baldanders is a creature that is symbolic for the continual change in nature and society as well as the importance of familiarizing oneself with the common from another perspective. Its name is derived from the combination of German words for Soon (Bald) and Another (Anders).
Baldanders was later featured in a novel by Grimmelshausen, Simplicius Simplicissimus to which the creature was further elaborated on by the alternate author and even illustrated on the cover page. In it, the hero of the story stumbles upon a stone statue of an ancient Germanic god. Once touched by the protagonist, the statue explains that it is the Soon-Another or Baldanders to which the statue demonstrates its powers and transforms into a variety of objects.
Baldanders are often described as having a human torso and head, having either a single goat leg attached to the hip or a goat leg and a bird leg together as well as large bird wings and a fish tail. The rendition in Grimmelshausen's novel depicts the baldanders carrying a sword sheathed on a belt as well as a large book containing drawn pictures of all the forms they have taken. Their primary goal it seems is to change into as many shapes and objects in existence as possible.
Being a creature of literature, the Baldanders is not often featured in contemporary works. However, there have been a few mentions and inclusions of the creature in various media.
In further literature, the Baldanders was featured in the bestiary The Book of Imaginary Beings by Jorge Luis Borges. In The Book of the New Sun series by Gene Wolfe, a recurring character’s name was Baldanders, which Wolfe affirmed was based on Borges' description. In Chanda Hahn's UnEnchanted series book three, Fable, the baldander appears as a small, shape-shifting creature. In music, the Baldanders was the subject of a song by the 1970s German folk/progressive rock band Ougenweide.
Baldanders is a regular character in the bi-weekly, alternate history webcomic What Happened When created by Andrew Scott and Carlos Morote. In this comic's alternate universe, Baldanders fulfils his original role as a 'Trickster' who also gives sage advice to his fellow members of The Ghost Club concerning an epidemic of rage-fuelled madness in Victorian London presumably caused by an onslaught of souls returning from the land of the dead.
The Baldanders is also mentioned in Japanese video games. In the Sega Mega Drive game Curse, the player controls the Baldanders star fighter, which was created by an ancient alien super technology. The PlayStation 2 and portable game Puyo Puyo Fever 2 features a character who is a large dog in knight's armor named Baldanders. In the game Final Fantasy XIII, Baldanders is an antagonist and fal'Cie who poses as a human named Galenth Dysley; in the English translation, his name is Latinized as Barthandelus. In the board-game-like Culdcept, Baldanders is a creature that temporarily changes into a different, random creature every time it fights. In Kazuhiro Fujita's manga, Ushio and Tora, Baldanders appears in the form of a small child, but also can become a ghost-like entity when fighting.
- "The WHW Team is creating Comics". Patreon. Retrieved 2016-04-22.