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Tourmentine

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Tourmentine

Tourmentine is the main antagonist of "The Bee and the Orange Tree", a French fairy tale by Madame d'Aulnoy.

Description

Tourmentine is half-ogress, half-fairy. She has one eye in the middle of her forehead, a large mouth, long ears like a donkey's, and a flat nose. She is a savage creature, but she is also quite intelligent (in contrast to her brutish husband Ravagio). She is also a cannibal, and even eats one of her own children. She also reveres the fairy Trusio.

She is married to Ravagio, another ogre, and has six children of her own, plus an adopted daughter, a human princess named Aimée. She initially takes care of Aimée, but later reveals her true colors when Aimée escapes.

Role in the story

When an infant princess named Aimée washes up on the shore, Tourmentine is taken in by her beauty. Instead of eating her, Tourmentine adopts Aimée and convinces her husband Ravagio to marry Aimée off to their son when she gets older. When Aimée gets older, she resents this arranged marriage. One day, Aimée's cousin, Prince Aimé, washes up on the shore. Aimée protects Aimé from Tourmentine and the other ogres. When Aimée tries to flee, she injures herself on a thorn, and Tourmentine comes to aid her. The ogres then capture Aimé.

Once Aimée is feeling better, she devises another plan to escape. She steals two of the young ogres' crowns, which they must sleep with. Ravagio eats one of them, and Tourmentine eats another one. Aimée then steals Tourmentine's wand and teaches herself to speak Aimé's language. Then she steals Tourmentine's camel. Tourmentine is enraged and sends her husband after the prince and princess to eat them. Aimée uses the wand to change herself, Aimé, and the camel into various things. Ravagio is fooled twice. The third time, Tourmentine goes after the two herself. Aimée turns herself into a bee, Aimé into an orange tree, and the camel into a box. When Tourmentine tries to attack, Aimée stings her, leading Tourmentine to flee.

Afterwards, Tourmentine and her husband disappear from the story. Their ultimate fate is unknown. Aimée and Aimé are later restored to their original forms by the fairy Trusio and marry.

Etymology

Tourmentine's name is derived from the French word for torture. In French folklore, tourmentine is a herb that causes a person to repeatedly run around in circles if stepped on.

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