The Paper Bag Princess

One of the best books I’ve read recently is a short children’s book by Robert Munsch called The Paper Bag Princess.  In the story, a beautiful princess named Elizabeth is set to marry a prince named Ronald.  But a dragon came and attacked the princess, destroyed her castle and burnt all her clothes with his fiery breath.  The dragon also carried off Prince Ronald.  The princess was determined to chase after Ronald and save him.  She had no clothes- so she wore the only thing she had left was a paper bag.  Princess Elizabeth followed the burnt trail left by the dragon and found his lair.  Through some imaginative whit, Elizabeth stood up to the dragon and duped him.  She was able to find her prince and started to free him.

But when the Prince saw Elizabeth- he was appalled by her appearance.  Ronald took one look at her and yelled, "Boy, are you a mess!  You smell like ashes, your hair is all tangled, and you are wearing a dirty old paper bag.  Come back when you’re dressed like a real princess."

I enjoyed the book up to this moment… but I really enjoyed what happened next.  It’s one of the greatest moments in any children’s books ever.  After Ronald chewed out the princess for not appearing as he expected she should, the princess said:

"Ronald, your clothes are really pretty and your hair is all neat.  You look like a real prince, but you are a bum."

Robert Munsch then ends the book with the simple anti-fairy tale statement: "They didn’t get married after all."

There are so many ways to launch off of this story for a spiritual moral.  The first one that comes to my mind is that we were appalled by the appearance of Jesus when he came to rescue us.  The second one is that we deserved to be called bum’s and to have Jesus reject us.  The third moral is that women should never settle for an arrogant prince.  The fourth moral is that men can be idiots.  The fifth is 1 Samuel 16:7.

Be sure to get this book!


  1. Ken, i love this story! we have it on tape and i’ve listened to it so much growing up! i love the part in the middle when the princess is getting the dragon all tired out! “just one more time dragon!” how often in our pridefulness do we give in to “one more time” …
    keep ‘er lit ken!

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