Oberon

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Oberon (also spelled Auberon) is a legendary king of the fairies in medieval and Renaissance literature. He is best known as a character in William Shakespeare's play, A Midsummer Night's Dream, in which he is Consort to Titania, Queen of the Fairies.[1]

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Merovingian legend

Oberon's status as king of the fairies comes from the character of Alberich (from Old High German alb- "elf" and -rîh-, "ruler", "king"), a sorcerer in the legendary history of the Merovingian dynasty. In the legend, he is the otherworldly "brother" of Merowech, whose name is the eponym of the Merovingians. Alberich wins for his eldest son Walbert the hand of a princess of Constantinople. In the Nibelungenlied, a Burgundian poem written around the turn of the 13th century, Alberich guards the treasure of the Nibelungen, but is overcome by Siegfried.

Alternatively he could be a reference to Freyr or Ing, who is the traditional 'King of the Elves' in Germanic mythology.[2]

French heroic song

The name Oberon got its literary start in the first half of the 13th century from the fairy dwarf Oberon that helps the hero in the chanson de geste, titled Les Prouesses et faitz du noble Huon de Bordeaux. When Huon, son of Seguin count of Bordeaux, passed through the forest where he lives, he was warned against Oberon by a hermit, but his courtesy had him answer Oberon's greetings, and so gain his aid in his quest: having killed Charlot, the Emperor's son, in self-defense, Huon must visit the court of the amir of Babylon and perform various feats to win a pardon, and only with Oberon's aid does he succeed.

This elf appears dwarfish in height, though very handsome; he explains that at his christening, an offended fairy cursed him to the height (an example of the wicked fairy godmother folklore motif), but relented and as compensation gave him great beauty. As Alberich features as a dwarf in the Nibelungen, the dwarfish height was thus explained.[3]

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