In issue 58 of The Sandman, the child Daniel is missing, apparently abducted. Later, Cluracan is visiting The Dreaming and while stepping off the path and gazing into a mirror, he manage to create his own nemesis.

In the mirror can be seen what looks like a small version of the next incarnation of Dream of the Endless, that Daniel will turn into. The figure in the mirror has a naughty smile, then turns into a cat and departs. This all happens before Morpheus and Daniel have "the talk" and Daniel receives the eagle stone.

I don't get this part. How did he get there and how does it change the interpretation of the story and what is to be inferred by the reader?

  • I haven't noticed this earlier. Now that you mentioned it, I looked into it. I am not sure if that figure in mirror is Daniel, although it does look remarkably similar to Daniel.
    – kmdhrm
    Commented Nov 6, 2013 at 7:29
  • Yes I'd say it resembles a pre-school Daniel, while the first "official" drawing of Daniel has the proportions of a 12-year old or early teen. Later, Daniel is drawn as an adult. The incident fits with a later comment by Destiny, that the new dream will contain some aspect of a small child in his personality. The nemesis incident could be meant to illustrate this, with a kid pulling a prank on Cluracan. Though chronologically it's out of place
    – Abulafia
    Commented Nov 6, 2013 at 15:03

3 Answers 3


First, let's examine some word meanings. Nemesis: the inescapable agent of someone's or something's downfall. Also, Nemesis is a goddess: a spirit of divine retribution against those who succumb to hubris, defined specifically as arrogance before the gods.

Cluracan, notably in his behavior in the palace of Morpheus, and his intention (to remove his sister from Morpheus' service) shows hubris. When he gazes into the mirror, it first shows him his own reflection, then the image of Dream/Daniel, who smiles, transforms into a cat, and departs; then it somehow sparks the formation of his own nemesis within him. This indicates that the mirror itself is a mirror of Nemesis, one of the perilous magics of the palace of the Dreaming; Nuala's fear and outrage for her brother, and her instant understanding of what occurred, suggests that this particular peril is not unfamiliar to those who live in the palace.

The agency of the mirror, shown by Dream/Daniel's appearance, sees Cluracan's hubris, and responds with the creation of Cluracan's nemesis (though later, in 'The Wake', we see that Cluracan's nemesis is not so single minded in its intentions, and in fact may play a more ambiguous role in its relationship to him).

But here's where it gets interesting. Daniel/Dream is also Nemesis. If Daniel did not exist, Morpheus would not have been willing to die, Fates or no. It is only because he has a successor that Morpheus, duty-bound as he always has been, is willing to let go. Thus, Dream/Daniel is the nemesis of Morpheus himself, and a mirror of Nemesis, in the realm of Dream, would, by dream-logic, show the manifestation of Dream that reflects its own function.

We know, in Neil Gaiman's world, that prophecy works, and that the future echoes into the past. The very idea of Nemesis implies a knowledge of the future; that the downfall is inescapable, as Morpheus' succession by Daniel is. The mirror shows us this, with Cluracan's experience being only a lesser echo of the Nemesis that permeates the entirety of the Dreaming, the end which has been foreseen, in many different ways, since the beginning of the story.


I remember reading somewhere in sandman about appearance of Dreak King Morpheus, though I can't seem to remember where. So, I would just quote from Wikipedia:

Morpheus' appearance ranges widely "depending on who's watching." People generally perceive him as wearing a style of dress appropriate to their region and era. In the Dreaming, he is often seen wearing a grey t-shirt and dark pants. He appears to be light skinned when interacting with white characters, but the people of Tales in the Sand's primordial African city see him as a star-eyed black man. Although he is most often seen in human form, Morpheus appears as a huge black cat when speaking to the lonely cat-pilgrim of Dream of a Thousand Cats and as a cat-headed god when addressing the Egyptian feline goddess Bast.

Throughout the Series we have seen Morpheus usually wearing something black. And in the end of series we see Daniel as a White Avatar of Dream. Although Daniel's appearance is in total contrast with that of Morpheus's usual appearance, we can't say for sure that Morpheus has never taken an appearance like that before.

What I want to say here is that the shadow that Cluracan sees in the mirror could easily have been the shadow of Morpheus itself.

Following are some points that will help me strengthen my case:

1. I quote Morpehus from the last panel of 4th last page of Sandman #58 (Kindly Ones #02 that you referenced here):

You are a Rogue Cluracan. But you are an amusing rogue.

I noticed you stepped off my path when you came to this place.

So it could have been Morpheus in the mirror who noticed Cluracan.

2. The moment Daniel became Dream King we have always seen him with the Green Dreamstone around his neck which is not there in the mirror.

3. Everything in the mirror appears to be white so it could just have been a White Shadow of Morpheus's usual Black Appearance.

So, the similarity in appearance of Daniel and the Shadow in the mirror could be just a coincidence.(Although, you wouldn't want to believe in coincidence when you read Sandman :P)

What I don't get here is that what is the significance of the appearance of the cat in the mirror?

Could it be a reference to one the two cat-like forms of Morpheus that I quoted here?


Remember from spider-man 2 when you have to face Mysterio in his apartment called Funhouse of Doom as you play through the mission Spidey comes across a room full of mirrors then he had to fight mirrors images of himself. Think of it like this we are from the regular side of the world everything is normal and the mirror would represent the opposite side of the world everything is reverse what I'm saying is that the mirror that people look at is like another world but just the opposite of us so I think that's why Cluracan image in the mirror became an enemy.

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