Tyl Uylenspiegel

Thyl Uilenspiegel is born in Damme, Flanders as son of Claes and Soetkin. He is brought into this world on the same birthday as Philip II of Spain. As a child Thyl already exhibits the naughty behaviour he will become infamous for as an adult. After many stories where Thyl fools other people and especially corrupt Catholic priests the Spaniards arrest his father because of his lutheran sympathies and burn him at the stake. This causes a mental breakdown for Thyl’s mother, Soetkin, who turns mad. Thyl collects his father’s ashes and puts them in a bag he wears on his chest. From that moment on he is destined to fight back against the Spanish oppression.

De Coster gives Thyl a girlfriend, Nele, and a best friend, Lamme Goedzak, who functions as a comedic sidekick. The novel follows many historic events in the Eighty Years’ War.

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