Bensiabel is the son of the witch and an instrumental character in the fairy tale Prunella (Andrew Lang, "Grey Fairy Book").

I've been trying to figure out how his name is meant to be pronounced, but it doesn't seem to be an Italian name. I've been trying to locate a standard pronunciation but have been unable to find one.

I can imagine ben-SIGH-uh-bell, BEN-see-uh-bell, ben-see-AY-bull, or a number of similar pronunciations.

Is there any indication of what would be the "correct"/intended pronunciation?

1 Answer 1


Prunella and Bensiabel are the names in Andrew Lang's version of the tale. There is also an Italian language version of this tale recorded by Calvino, where the names are Prezzemolina and Memé.

prezzemolo in Italian means "parsley, whereas Prunella is derived from the Latin for "plum". Prunella was a common name in the Victorian era in England,

Since there is no apparent connection in the etymology or meaning of the protagonist's name, there is no reason to assume there is one for Bensiabel. Since Lang was Scottish there is the possibility it is derived from Scots (Gaelic). The Italian version also describes Memé as the son of Morgan Le Fay (MĀRA RĪGANĪ-S > MÓR RÍGAN in Gaelic).

If the origin is Scots then the name might mean something like:

  • Ben - perhaps from beinn (/beiNʲ -> bayin) = mountain
  • Sia (/ʃia/ -> shee-yah) = six
  • Bel - perhaps from Beil (bill) = Highlands

And pronounced like bayin-shee-yah-bill.

This is just an educated guess though, I'm not well versed in Gaelic.


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