As with The Pied Piper which Jacques Demy made in 1971, Peau d'ane is an attempt to bring a fairytale narrative to the screen in as faithful a way to the original as possible, yet subtly reinterpreted and reworked from a modern point of view.
A beautiful Queen dies. The King makes a vow that he will not re-marry unless he finds a woman who is more beautiful than his wife. Many are brought before him, but none lives up to his expectations. Then the King, turning his attention to his daughter, the Princess, announces their forthcoming marriage. The Princess' godmother, the Lilac Fairy, does not approve, and directs her to stipulate impossible conditions for the marriage. The King fulfils all the Princess' requests; even, reluctantly, the last one, when she demands the hide of the kingdom's magic donkey, which is able to conjure jewels and gold. At the orders of the Lilac Fairy, the Princess then flees, taking the donkey skin and a magic wand.
In another kingdom, she becomes a peasant and is taunted with the nickname, Donkey Skin. The Prince of this realm falls in love with her, seeing not a rough peasant girl, but a vision of a beautifully clad Princess. He falls ill and declares that only a cake baked by Donkey Skin will make him well again. She bakes him a cake, and in it, the Prince finds a ring that has slipped from her finger. He holds a marriage trial, declaring that the woman.on whose finger the ring will fit, will become his bride. Eventually, he weds Donkey Skin, and her father arrives for the ceremony with his new wife, the Lilac Fairy.