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Yellow Dwarf

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Illustration of the Yellow Dwarf (right) with Toutebelle (left) by Walter Crane

The Yellow Dwarf is the main antagonist of the fairy tale of the same name by Madame d'Aulnoy.


The Yellow Dwarf is short, and has a yellow complexion (possibly referring to jaundice), a bald head, big ears, and an ugly face. He may or may not be depicted with a beard. He is tricky, aggressive, and possessive, and will stop at nothing to cause misery.


One day, the yellow dwarf encounters a queen. He tells her that he will marry her daughter, Princess Toutebelle, who she is trying to find a husband for. Toutebelle is known for being vain, selfish, and spoiled, and is showered with attention. (She had already rejected twenty suitors.) The dwarf agrees, and shows the queen his home. However, his home is filthy and miserable, and the princess would most likely grow to hate living there. The queen grows ill.

Toutebelle goes to the dwarf's orange tree, where she encounters him. He saves her from the lions eating her, and she promises to marry him. But later on, Toutebelle falls in love with the King of the Gold Mines and decides to marry him instead.

On the day of the wedding, the yellow dwarf, with the help of the Fairy of the Desert, interrupt the celebration. The fairy arrives in her cart driven by two large turkeys, and the yellow dwarf appears from it mounted on a cat. The yellow dwarf kidnaps Toutebelle, and the Fairy of the Desert kidnaps the king. The king makes his escape and then goes to save his beloved.

The king receives a sword from a mermaid, and fights his way to Toutebelle. He discovers where she is, but Toutebelle believes that the king is unfaithful. The king tries to convince her that he isn't.

The yellow dwarf finds the two and takes the king's sword - the king had accidentally dropped it. He then asks the princess to marry him. If she refuses, he will kill the king. The king refuses to let the yellow dwarf marry Toutebelle, so the dwarf kills the king. Toutebelle dies of grief upon seeing her lover's dead body. The dwarf is pleased with this, for he did not want to see Toutebelle in the arms of another.

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