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Fanfarinet

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Fanfarinet

Illustration of Fanfarinet (falling) from Andrew Lang's Red Fairy Book.

Fanfarinet is the main antagonist of the French fairy tale "The Princess Mayblossom" by Madame d'Aulnoy.

His name is spelled Fanfaronade in some versions (such as Andrew Lang's version in The Red Fairy Book.)

Description

Fanfarinet is an ambassador to a king whose son wants to marry Princess Mayblossom. He is a handsome, charming ambassador whose attractive appearance belies a cruel, selfish, greedy personality. Despite seeming to love the princess early on, it is obvious that Fanfarinet does not really love her, as evident by his behavior towards her as the story progresses.

Role in the story

When Princess Mayblossom is twenty years old, her parents have her portrait sent about to princes. Fanfarinet sees the portrait and goes to Princess Mayblossom's kingdom. Princess Mayblossom sees him and instantly becomes smitten with him. She escapes with him, taking her father's dagger and her mother's headdress, and they flee to a desert island.

Though at first Princess Mayblossom are in love, things start to change when the princess cannot find food, and Fanfarinet will not do anything but complain of hunger and thirst. Thus he starts to dislike her. Mayblossom is eventually offered honeycomb from a rose, which warns her not to share her food. But the princess shares it with the hungry Fanfarinet, who hogs it for himself without leaving any for the princess. Later, an oak offers Mayblossom a pitcher of milk. The oak gives her the same warning as the rose, but Mayblossom shares the milk with Fanfarinet, who drinks it all up. Even later, a nightingale offers Mayblossom some sugarplums and tarts. This time, she eats them without sharing any with Fanfarinet.

The enraged Fanfarinet chases Mayblossom, who uses her mother's headdress to make herself invisible. When a group of men sent by the king's admiral arrive at the island, the princess makes Fanfarinet invisible and he attacks the men, slays many of them, and they retreat.

Eventually, Fanfarinet becomes so hungry that he decides to kill and eat Mayblossom, who is sleeping. However, a voice warns the princess of impending danger. She wakes up to see Fanfarinet about to stab her with his sword. Mayblossom responds by drawing her dagger and stabbing Fanfarinet in the eye, declaring him to be a false lover and deserving of his death. She does it so furiously that he dies. (Some versions, such as Andrew Lang's version, soften the death by having Fanfarinet being tricked by falling down a cliff and drowning instead.) She is later rescued and brought back to her kingdom, where she marries her intended prince.

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