Mark Twain, Summary of The Mysterious Stranger

I have been reading a lot.

This summary is about the story “The Mysterious Stranger”, written by Mark Twain.

It takes place in the Middle Ages in a town in Austria called Eseldorf. The book deals with the story of three boys, Seppi Wohlmeyer, Nikolaus Bauman and Theodor Fischer, narrated from the point of view of the latter.

Mark Twain, America's first man of letters and humorist.

Mark Twain, America's first man of letters and humorist.

One day they are sitting in their favorite place in the woods, when a youth strolling comes toward them and starts talking to the boys. He commands magic power and introduces himself as the nephew of the devil.

Yes, Mark Twain could talk to anyone. 

Yes, Mark Twain could talk to anyone. 

In the first moment the boys are scared of the stranger, whose name is Satan, but he assures them that his uncle is the only one in his family who has ever sinned. As Satan is able to tell a lot of great stories and can apparently do a lot of wonderful things, they stay with him.


After his appearance, strange things start to happen in Eseldorf.  The priest Father Peter finds a lot of money and an old woman's cat helps her find a fortune.


At the time of the story, many people are accused of being witches, and so are some of the people Satan helped.  Folks are very suspicious about things they can’t explain. Satan tries to help them, but not all of them. When the boys ask him for his reasons why, he tells them how he thinks about the human race, which is not necessarily consistent or generous. One time Satan tells Theodor that he has to change something in the future for two people, one of them being their good friend Nikolaus. Further he explains his reasons and why he sometimes has to do things that are not good fortune.

The occasion Satan changed in Nikolaus’s life was that he should die twelve days later. Satan argued that if he were not to intercede, Nikolaus would have a terrible life.

Theodor has to accept this and is only allowed to tell Seppi. Together they spend their time with Nikolaus on his last days, but with a bad feeling.

After NIkolaus's funeral some more things happen, leading back to Satan’s work. Satan makes himself unpopular with the people, often laughing about the stuff humans do.

"What are the folks up to now?"

"What are the folks up to now?"

With other things he seems to help the people, but often those things are not so obviously his work. After a while his visits to Theodor get more and more infrequent, as Satan "has a lot to do in other universes."

One day he sees Theodor and is off forever.




 --- Verena Loderbauer