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- "Is this what happens to kids who wander into the forest? It looks like he doesn't like grownups."
- — Navi
Skull Kids (スタルキッド Stalkid?) are a recurring race in the Legend of Zelda series. They are a race of diminutive, mischievous beings that reside in forests. When non-fairy folk get lost in Lost Woods, they are cursed to become Stalfos—but Navi suggests that when children get lost in the woods, they may become Skull Kids. While Skull Kids tend to be friendly toward children, they fear adults and will attack them on sight.
The physical appearance of Skull Kids varies somewhat across games, but their childlike size, tattered, reddish garb, and wide-brimmed hats remain constant.
Skull Kids can be found in the Lost Woods, where they play flute-like instruments. Their faces are entirely black, with glowing orange eyes and large lips. While Link is a child, he can interact with them; however, they become hostile once Link is an adult, firing small projectiles at him through their instruments while circling around Link. This is the only time within the game when the Skull Kids will leave their stumps. Link can kill these hostile Skull Kids, most notably with the Biggoron's Sword or the Giant's Knife due to the substantial reach these provide. Doing so earns Link a huge Rupee worth 200 Rupees.
There is one Skull Kid directly to the left of the entrance to the Lost Woods who will give Link a Piece of Heart if Link plays "Saria's Song" for him. If Link pursues the Happy Mask side quest, this Skull Kid will buy the Skull Mask, but will only pay half-price.
Deeper into the Lost Woods, there are two Skull Kids on tree stumps. Link can participate in a session using his ocarina, the end result of which is a Piece of Heart. Interestingly, when Link has provided another Skull Kid in the forest with a Skull Mask, the ones hosting the Session will be wearing such masks as well, without any explanation given. It is likely that this is a programming error, however, as the extra Skull Masks are removed in Ocarina of Time 3D.
|“Is this what happens to kids who get lost in the forest? He might be our friend if we do something...”|
|“Is this what happens to kids who get lost in the forest? He seems unhappy to have no face...”|
|“Is this what happens to kids who get lost in the forest? He looks satisfied with his skull face.”|
|“Is this what happens to kids who wander into the forest? It looks like he doesn't like grownups.”|
A Skull Kid known simply as "Skull Kid" is the primary antagonist. Prior to the game's events, he steals Majora's Mask from the Happy Mask Salesman. Compelled by the evil within the mask, he uses its power to pull down the Moon and direct it toward the land of Termina, seeking to destroy the world after three days' time. At the game's end, it is heavily implied that this is the same Skull Kid Link befriended by playing "Saria's Song" in Ocarina of Time.
Unlike others of his race, the mouth of this Skull Kid is more reminiscent of a beak than lips.
After Princess Zelda heals Midna and disappears, Midna and Wolf Link head to the Faron Woods to lift the curse Zant placed on Link. In the Sacred Grove deep within the forest they find a maze, which they navigate with the help of a Skull Kid. Link uses the light of the Skull Kid's lantern and the sound of his trumpet to follow him through the woods in a game of Hide-and-Seek. The Skull Kid releases Puppets that attack Link along the way, and allows Link entrance to the area where the Master Sword lies only after Link finds and attacks him enough times.
Later in the game, Link must return to the Sacred Grove. The Skull Kid again leads him through the maze, engages him in battle, and lets him into the Sacred Grove once Link prevails. This time, the Skull Kid thanks Link for the fun and invites him to come back and play again sometime. However, the Skull Kid does not appear upon further visits to the Sacred Grove. Despite this, if Link explores the grove later on in the game, from afar he may see the flickering light of a lantern, supposedly that of the Skull Kid. However, whenever he approaches it, it quickly vanishes.
The song the Skull Kid plays on his trumpet is a rather gloomy, melancholy rendition of "Saria's Song" from Ocarina of Time. As well as his face has a rather similar resemblance to the moon from Majora's Mask, which the Skull Kid from that game was heavily connected to.
In "Skull Kid and the Mask", a two-part side story from the Ocarina of Time manga, it is stated that while his family was on a picnic, a young boy ventured into the Lost Woods to catch a Fairy. As he ran into the forest, his mother yelled at him to stop because he would get lost. Ignoring his mother's advice, the child entered the forest and indeed became lost within. Breathing the air of the dark forest depths caused the boy to gradually transform into a Skull Kid, the fate that befalls Hylian children who venture into the Lost Woods.
In Hyrule Warriors Legends, Skull Kid from Majora's Mask appears as a playable character and wields a stolen Ocarina. He is also equipped with Trumpet used by Skull Kid in Twilight Princess which can summon Puppets to attack enemies.
Skull Kids slightly resemble Imp Poes, with their small shape, mischievously violent nature, and (in Twilight Princess) lanterns. This could mean that Skull Kids are Imp Poes' living counterparts. Interestingly, the Happy Mask Salesman and number of other characters refer to the Skull Kid from Majora's Mask as an imp. Of course this could be simply because of his small stature.