Book Cover
Title The Princess who Never Laughed
Series ---
Author Walt Disney
Illustrated By Walt Disney
Publisher Random House - 1974
First Printing Random House - 1974
Category Children
Warnings None

Main Characters

Goofy, the Princess

Main Elements Fairy Tale

By always doing the right thing at the wrong time, Goofy eventually succeeds in making the princess laugh.

This is a Disney retelling of a russian fairy tale which was included in the collection Narodnye Russkie Skazki (Russian Fairy/Folk tales) by Alexander Afanasyev. Of course Goofy doesn't figure prominently in the original! In truth, the Disney tale is really a melding of two different stories, the first about the princess who never smiled, and the second about a young farm boy who managed to always do the wrong thing. When he carried (and then dropped) eggs in his hands, his mother told him next time to carry them in his hat. So the next time when he should have carried the milk in a bucket, he put it in his hat instead, and so one, each time bringing an item home the way the previous item should have been brought. I believe it is a tale by Hans Christian Andersen called Clod Hans or Hans Clodhopper. I'll have to look it up again later.

Anyway, Disney basically took those two fairy tales, wove them together, threw in a little of their own and came up with a book that is sure to make children laugh when you read it to them before they go to bed. The illustrations are funny and in the end the book is just a lot of fun to read no matter your age.

As an aside, the Wikipedia page where I found the background information on this story also brought up another story called the Golden Goose, about a young man who is given a golden goose and starts carrying to the city. Along the way, people touch either him or the goose, and for some reason get stuck to them. And then people touch the other people and get stuck. And by the time they get to the city it is such an odd assortment of characters that the princess just has to laugh.

Posted: February 2011


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