Fabricius Cunctator (vulgarly known as "Sunny Sam") was the blacksmith for the village of Ham. He had gotten his nickname for his gloomy disposition and his propensity for foretelling disasters. Despite his reluctance he was persuaded to improvise a suit of mail for Farmer Giles by sewing discarded metal rings on an old leather jerkin and breeches. The smith even supplied an old iron frame of a helmet that the cobbler covered with leather.
Whenever trouble appeared in the tale Sunny Sam became more cheerful, but when things appeared to be going well the blacksmith turned dour. Eventually, when Farmer Giles became king, he outlawed unpleasant prophecy and Fabricius Cunctator changed his profession to the perhaps more suitable one of undertaker.
Fabricius Cunctator is a pun on the name of Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus, a Roman general of the third century BC, who acquired the nickname Cunctator, meaning "Delayer," for the defensive strategy he employed against the Carthaginian army led by Hannibal in the Second Punic War. Fabricius is the Latin word for "blacksmith."