Within the story young Traugott is busy doodling instead of working in the sight of a mural showing a Mayor and his page. And he totally wants to fantasize about the page. Then like any normal ETA Hofmann story, things get weird.
This story provides examples of:
- Arranged Marriage: At the start of the Story Traugott is engaged to be marrying Christina Roos. Then he sees the mural...
- Did Not Get the Girl: More like did not get any of the three girls.
- Either/Or Title: Whether or not you translate the title has pretty much given this story a multitude of names.
- Mad Artist: As we are first introduced to Berklinger he tells of the mural he is touching up that is over 200 years old as if he was the one who originally made it. We of course later learn he is overly protective of his younger daughter, if the mural always looked like her is well not explained.
- Magic Realism: This story honestly plays itself out like a whimsical dream, with some things seeming like Traugott may be daydreaming a bit too much, or that he's living in a very strange world.
- Mind Screw: Poor Poor Traugott, this story has quite a toll on him. As well as to the reader.
- Papa Wolf: Berklinger in a Mad Artist kind of tone.
- Prophecy Twist: Berklinger doesn't want his daughter to wed because he is said to die not long after. He falls over dead at the sight of her accepting a marriage proposal.
- The Quest: Traugott goes on one for love, and really screwed things up.
- Sweet Polly Oliver: Berklinger has his daughter dress as his son in hopes no young man will ever steal her away from him.