Donkeyskin | Modern Interpretations

The story of Donkeyskin and its themes have appeared in literature and other forms of art. This page provides a small discussion of some of the better known treatments by authors and other artists.

Modern Interpretations

Lackey, Mercedes. Unnatural Issue: An Elemental Masters NovelNew York: DAW, 2011. Buy the book in hardcover
 or ebook.

NOVEL: From the publisher: "A brand-new Elemental Masters novel from the national bestselling author Mercedes Lackey. Richard Whitestone is an Elemental Earth Master. Blaming himself for the death of his beloved wife in childbirth, he has sworn never to set eyes on his daughter, Suzanne. But when he finally sees her, a dark plan takes shape in his twisted mind-to use his daughter's body to bring back the spirit of his long-dead wife."

McKinley, Robin. Deerskin. New York: Ace, 1993. Buy the book in hardcover or paperback.

NOVEL: When her growing beauty begins to resemble her mother's too closely, Princess Lissar must flee her father's wrath, and, in doing so, she unlocks a door into a world of magic.


Malkin by Sophie MassonCold Iron in Sophie Masson's Fairy Tale TrilogyCold Iron by Sophie Masson

Masson, Sophie. Serafin. Saint Mary's Press, 2000. Buy the book in hardcover or paperback.

Originally published in Australia as:
Masson, Sophie. Cold Iron. Australia: Hodder Headline, 1996.

NOVEL: Synopsis from the book cover: When the penniless Tattercoats is included in an invitation to the Earl of Mairnsey's grand ball, the servant-girl Malkin and Pug the gooseherd are determined that she will attend and claim the inheritance denied her since birth. Together they set off for the court, collecting a ragtag assortment of allies along the way. But their journey proves increasingly difficult as events overtake them and they become enveloped in a disturbing and powerful magic. Inspired by the English fairytale Tattercoats and Shakespeare's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream', 'Cold Iron' is a cunningly complex and compelling tale that reawakens and revitalises the great fairytale tradition.



Once Upon a Crime

Allyn, Doug. "Thousandfurs." Once Upon A Crime. Ed Gorman and Martin H. Greenberg, eds. New York: Berkeley Prime Crime, 1998. Buy the book in hardcover or paperback. 


Kissing the Witch by Emma Donoghue

Donoghue, Emma. "The Tale of the Skin." Kissing the Witch: Old Tales in New Skins. New York: Harper Collins, 1997. Buy the book in hardcover or paperback.


Once upon a Galaxy by Wil McCarthy, Martin H. Greenberg, John Helfers

Friesen, Richard E. "Dancing in the Ashes." Once Upon a Galaxy. Will McCarthy, Martin H. Greenberg, and John Helfers, eds. New York: DAW, 2002. Buy the book in paperback.



Black Thorn, White Rose

Snyder, Midori. "Tattercoats." Black Thorn, White Rose.Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, eds. New York: Avon, 1995. Buy the book in hardback or paperback.


Wilson, Barbara. "Suit of Leather." Salt Water and Other Stories. Los Angeles: Alyson Books, 1999.


Armless Maiden edited by Terri Windling

Yolen, Jane. "Allerleirauh." The Armless Maiden and Other Tales for Childhood's Survivors. Terri Windling, ed. New York: Tor Books, 1995. Buy the book in hardcover or paperback.


Yolen, Jane. "The Face in the Cloth." The Armless Maiden and Other Tales for Childhood's Survivors. Terri Windling, ed. New York: Tor Books, 1995. Buy the book in hardcover or paperback.


Snyder, Midori. "Donkeyskin. (no external link available at this time)

Windling, Terri. "Donkeyskin." The Armless Maiden. Terri Windling, ed. New York: Tor Books, 1995. Buy the book in hardcover or paperback.

I have listed primarily classical compositions of music using the themes of this fairy tale in either ballet, opera or some other musical style. I have also provided links to popular recordings of the music when available at The advantage to these links is that you can listen to samples of the music at no charge.


Soundtrack by Michael Legrand for Donkey Skin starring Catherine DeneuveDonkey Skin starring Catherine Deneuve

Legrand, Michael. Peau d'Ane. Playtime, 1994, 2008. Buy the book in MP3 album

MUSIC: While not technically a new release, a downloadable MP3 version of the Peau d'Ane (Donkey Skin) soundtrack by Michael Legrand was released in November 2008. Since the out of print CD versions often sell for over $100, a downloadable version for $7.99 (at time of release) is a treasure.

To learn more about these films, please visit the
Internet Movie Database.


Malkin by Sophie MassonDonkey Skin starring Catherine Deneuve

Peau D'ane (1970). Jacques Demy, director. France. In French. Also known as Donkey Skin in USA. Buy the DVD or VHS.

Catherine Deneuve .... Peau d'ane 
Jean Marais .... The King 
Jacques Perrin .... The Prince 
Micheline Presle .... La Reine Rouge 
Delphine Seyrig .... The Fairy 
Fernand Ledoux .... Le Roi Rouge

Musical: A fairy godmother helps a princess disguise herself so she won't have to marry a man she doesn't love.

Storybook International DVD Set

"Cap O' Rushes." Part of the Storybook International series. 1985. Buy the DVD.

LIVE ACTION: In a tale that influenced Shakespeare's King Lear, a father asks his three daughters to describe their love for him. The youngest daughter's answer angers the father so much that he banishes her from his home. Later, he comes to appreciate the depth of her love when the meaning of her answer becomes clear.

Jim Henson's The Storyteller DVD

Sapsorrow (1987). Part of Jim Henson's The Storyteller TV series. Directed by Steve Barron. United States. Buy the DVD or VHS.

Upon fleeing her kingdom to escape an arranged marriage, the lovely Princess Sapsorrow toils in the kitchen of a faraway palace, disguised as an ugly hag. Her masquerade is no ball, as Sapsorrow has fallen in love with a Prince, who sees her only as a peasant!


None so far!

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