Strauss explored writing tone poems from about 1885 onwards. The music plays with the character of Till Eulenspiegel, a trickster who figures in folk tales in Europe, possibly real (and died in 1350), certainly grown larger than life, clever, mischievous, deceptive, often lovable, salacious, frank, with a keen eye for exposing vice. Tales of Till Eulenspiegel appear in print in a small book published in 1515, written or compiled by "N.", becoming a classic of German literature. The character and his exploits have inspired books, comics, music, films and plays. Paul Oppenheimer in his 1993 translation of the book, writes about Strauss's poem: "The scampering twists and turns of the music mimic well N.s style, with its mix of informality, roughness, slang, lightness, and, here and there, formal speech.