Characters

  1. Tyl: the painter who was a lean man and rode on a donkey.
  2. Archduke of Battenburg: The ruler of a dukedom under a king.
  3. Captain of the Guards: A tall, well-built, red-haired man of about twenty-five. He was handsomely dressed in his gold-braided uniform.
  4. Jeff: Tyl’s donkey
  5. Commander-in-Chief of the Army: a short, fat, bald man with an enormous paunch.
  6. An elderly lady: She had a large hump on her back.
  7. A young lady: The companion of the Duchess, she was young and pretty but had lost three of her front teeth in an accident.
  8. Duke’s jester: A fool who had no blue blood in his veins.

Introduction

Charles De Coster the famous Belgian writer was born in Munich in 1827. His masterpiece is ‘The Legend of Tyl Ulenspiegel and Lamme Goedzak’ published in 1867. It is a 16th-century romance, which is not read in Belgium. But it gained popularity all over the world. It is considered one of the classics in Belgian Literature.

He is known as the father of Belgian literature. He died in 1879. ‘The Mysterious Picture’ narrates the dilemma of Tyl Ullenspiegel from Flanders who reached the court of the Archduke of Battenburg and offered to make a portrait of the Archduke along with the courtiers. The courtiers wanted Tyl to make them look more handsome and attractive than they actually were, while the Archduke wanted him to paint all my courtiers exactly as he sees them.

Summary

Tyl reaches to Battenburg

‘The mysterious picture’ is a story by Charles De Coster. The main character in the story is Tyl, a Flemish painter. Tyl reached Battenburg, riding on a donkey. When the Captain of the Guards heard that Tyl was a Flemish painter, he allowed him to enter the palace. Tyl presented Archduke, the portrait painted by him. He was really clever and talked to the Archduke in such a pleasing way that the Archduke appointed him as his court-painter. He wanted Tyl to paint his portrait, along with all the courtiers exactly as they look.

Tyl realizes that he cannot satisfy everyone with his painting

Before he commenced the painting, each of the courtiers visited Tyl and said that they wanted to look perfect in the painting. The courtiers visited Tyl and said that they wanted to look perfect in the painting. The courtiers also threatened to kill him if he painted them with any signs of aging or scars. Now, Tyl understood that he would die if he agreed to the Archduke or the courtiers.

Tyl was in big trouble – he had to paint the Archduke and his courtiers without causing displeasure to anyone. He was sure that he can’t paint a picture pleasing everyone. So, in order to escape from being killed, he decided not to draw any portraits.

Tyl’s act of smartness

He kept on asking for more days to finish the painting. He feasted himself on the choicest food and royal wines. At last, when it was time to show the painting, he announced that only those with noble blood in their veins would be able to see the picture. To prove that they had noble blood, everyone pretended that they could see the picture. To Tyl’s surprise, the court-jester spoke the truth that there was no picture on the canvas. Meanwhile, Tyl escaped from the court, riding on his donkey.

Conclusion

The story is very interesting and very simple. It is about how we manage to deal with a difficult situation with our smartness. Tyl was in big trouble – he had to paint the Archduke and his courtiers without causing displeasure to anyone. It is easy for a skilled painter but Tyl’s case was different. The comic aspect is how the Archduke and others were brought to admit that they all saw their portraits in the painting. There was no painting – the wall was as white as a fresh canvas but everyone said he saw his portrait with the others.