The Legend of Zelda has a vast and rich history, with an incredible assortment of colorful and weird characters. Out of all the citizens of Hyrule, there are few more bizarre and mysterious than the Happy Mask Salesman.
This strange man with a sack full of masks has been a confounding presence for years. Who is this weird, creepy businessman? And what is his connection/obsession with happiness?
Let’s take a look at the history of The Legend Of Zelda's Happy Mask Salesman.
What Legend Of Zelda Games Has The Happy Mask Salesman Appeared In?
Ocarina Of Time
The Happy Mask Salesman's first appearance in the Zelda series comes from The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time on the N64. Here he is the owner and operator of the Happy Mask Shop, where he sells his masks to people for the purposes of making people happy. Or so he says at least.
The shop opens later in the game, and upon entering instead of being able to purchase masks, the Happy Mask Salesman offers to hire Link to become a “happiness salesman.” This is someone who sells things (such as masks) and gets happiness (and money for the Happy Mask Salesman) in return. Link, being the helpful mute hero that he is, has no problem being used as cheap labor, so he agrees.
The Happy Mask Salesman will then give Link four masks to sell, the Keaton Mask, the Skull Mask, the Spooky Mask, and the Bunny Hood. Once you’ve sold all the masks to various customers, you can then return to the Happy Mask Salesman and he will allow you to borrow the Mask Of Truth. This mask allows you to communicate with gossip stones and can unlock other interactions with characters. For example, if Link wears the Mask Of Truth while talking to Saria in the Sacred Forest Meadow, she’ll tell him that the mask makes her feel sad.
Thanks for the depressing mask bro.
The Happy Mask Salesman doesn’t do much more after this quest is completed, although it’s important to note one reaction he has. If you don’t give him the rupees you get from selling his masks, well, this happens:
So yeah, you better have his money. This is probably the first sign that something weird and possibly nefarious is up with our mask selling friend here.
As one would guess from the title of this game, the Happy Mask Salesman has a much more prominent role in The Legend Of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. After all, he’s the one who originally possesses the titular mask that nearly destroys the entire world.
Majora’s Mask is stolen from The Happy Mask Salesman at the beginning of the game by the Skull Kid, which causes the moon to get all ugly and be set on a crash course for the land of Termina. Luckily for him, he runs into Link who needs help after being turned into a Deku Scrub by the Skull Kid.
The Happy Mask Salesman tells Link that he’ll help him change back to his original form if he brings him back Majora’s Mask. It also needs to be returned to him in three days, or else the moon will smoosh everyone and everything.
And much like in Ocarina Of Time, when you come back to him without the mask, the Happy Mask Salesman has yet another disturbing emotional freakout:
Seriously, this guy’s mood swings are terrifying.
Once you defeat the spirit of Majora and the mask becomes nothing but a mask, he seems satisfied but a little disappointed to have it back. So what exactly was he planning to do?
The Happy Mask Salesman also shows up in The Legend Of Zelda: The Oracle Of Ages. There he runs a Mask Shop in the Nuun Highlands. After giving him some Tasty Meat, Link asks for a reward for his good deed, which sets the Salesman off on one of his trademark temper tantrums. He then reluctantly gives Link the Doggy Mask as payment.
He also shows up in The Legend Of Zelda: Majora’s Mask manga, but that’s considered to be non-canon. Despite that however, he does appear more sinister in the book. He implies that after Majora is defeated he will “no longer have a need for this world,” which is about as evil as it gets. Link, being influenced by the Fierce Deity Mask he’s wearing, then attacks the Happy Mask Salesman after the Majora battle.
Who Is The Happy Mask Salesman?
His Appearance & Characteristics
The Happy Mask Salesman is always seen wearing the same purple outfit. He also carries around a giant backpack that is presumably bursting full of masks.
The Happy Mask Salesman appears to have the same expression on his face all the time. A seemingly unfaltering smile with eyes that always appear to be closed. As obsessed as he is with masks, he seems equally obsessed about the concept of happiness.
Except when things don't go his way of course. As previously mentioned, The Happy Mask Salesman is prone to fits of intense anger and sadness, which can then swing right back around into his normal happy state. It's one of the primary reasons why many fans find him to be an unnerving presence in the Zelda games.
The Happy Mask Salesman has a ton of bizarre abilities that largely go unexplained. He can seemingly appear and vanish at will, as seen at the end of Majora’s Mask when he kind of just fades away into thin air. When teaching Link the Song Of Healing, a giant pipe organ suddenly appears out of nowhere, and then vanishes never to be seen or heard again.
Also, despite the three day time limit of Majora’s Mask, when you’re in the Clock Tower with the Salesman, time doesn’t seem to move at all. Whether this is his doing is hard to say.
He also seems to have a lot of knowledge about both Link and the history of Hyrule, including some things that no one else apparently knows. He even knows a lot about the masks that Link gets throughout his journey even though he never actually sees Link acquire them. Although at the beginning of the game he does say he’s been following Link for some time, so perhaps he’s been watching him from the shadows all along?
Regarding the masks themselves, there’s also a kind of disturbing implication about how The Happy Mask Salesman gets them. He teaches Link the Song Of Healing in order to turn him back from a Deku Scrub into a Hylian. By playing this song, it turns the curse he was possessed by into a mask for Link to wear. The song is designed to turn evil spirits and souls into masks.
However, does it only turn evil souls into masks, or can any soul be turned into a mask? The Happy Mask Salesman has a lot of masks, including ones of Gorons, Zoras and Gerudos. Could these and many of his other masks all be the souls of other beings?
Oh and by the way, he also has a Mario mask too. Has he trapped Mario’s soul into a mask?!
Happy Mask Salesman Theories
Zelda lore fanatics consider The Happy Mask Salesman to be one of the biggest mysteries in the Legend Of Zelda franchise. There’s really no concrete answer on who he is or what his goals are, hence why there are tons of theories all over the internet.
One of the leading theories is that he’s some sort of deity or god. After all, he possesses strange powers and knowledge that no normal person should have access to. He also seems to be able to travel anywhere (maybe even to the Mushroom Kingdom) and is seen across time periods. So there’s a chance that this unassuming merchant is secretly one of the most powerful beings in the whole series.
There’s also the chance that the Happy Mask Salesman is one of the fabled Ancient Ones, or at least a distant relative of them. He tells the story of Majora’s Mask and how the Ancient Ones feared that it would cause a great calamity so they hid it away. So if these Ancient Ones are long gone, how does he know this tale? And how did he know where to find Majora’s Mask? And what were his intentions with the mask anyway? If it’s a mask that possesses terrible power, why would he want it?
Regarding the Ancient One theory, as pointed out in a Resetera thread, The Happy Mask Sales does bear a strong resemblance to Rupin from Skyward Sword. Since that's the very first game on the Zelda timeline, could that mean Rupin is in fact an Ancient One? And if so, is The Happy Mask Salesman his long lost descendant?
There are other theories, but perhaps the most outlandish one of all is that The Happy Mask Salesman is supposed to be none other than Shigero Miyamoto. This bonkers theory was created due to his seemingly unlimited knowledge about Link and Hyrule, as well as the Salesman’s possession of the aforementioned Mario mask. The reason why he'd have these things is because he created both the worlds of Mario and Zelda.
Miyamoto has also stated he dreamed of putting on puppet shows, and many have theorized that The Happy Salesman may be the ultimate puppet master, pulling the strings of the events of the world behind the scenes.
But again, that theory is a stretch even for the already stretchy world of Zelda theories.
Overall, there’s nothing but lore and speculation when it comes to The Happy Mask Salesman. We know he knows far more than he lets on, and that his acquisition of his masks is extremely sketchy.
He also certainly isn’t always a happy salesman, as his manic, panicked outbursts of anger or distress are always mere moments away. He also is very focused on his money, happiness, and getting more masks, some of which possess great power.
So what exactly does the Happy Mask Salesman want? There must be a reason why he wants relics like Majora’s Mask so badly. He is some kind of treasure hunter? Is he an old god who lost his power and is trying to get it back? Is he an agent of chaos, putting events into motion for the various reincarnations of Link? Or is he just a creepy dude who really likes masks?
He hasn’t appeared as more than a cameo in a game since Oracle Of Ages in 2001, so unfortunately for now we’re likely to get no answers to these questions. So we’re just left to ponder about what it is The Happy Mask Salesman wants, and what he truly is.
But we do know one thing for sure: the man plays a mean pipe organ.