Hint Guide for The Secret of Donkey Island

By Martijn Frazer

Last updated on 25 December 2023

This is a UHS-style hint guide for The Secret of Donkey Island (1994, original title "Tajemství Oslího ostrova"). For more information on the game, including download options (it's freeware), check out the website: https://donkeyisland.zip (yes .zip is a TLD now, it's fine)

The game comes with both a manual and a hints file. They contain no spoilers, so definitely check those out as they are very helpful really.

How do I get a sharp knife?

A good first step is finding a dull knife. There is one in the hut, in the top left on the wall, behind the chest.
A stone can be used to sharpen knives. You can find a stone on the ground in front of the big tree.
Once you have both the stone and the knife, use the stone on the knife to sharpen it.

How do I get the donkey in the hut to talk to me?

The donkey in the hut (behind the curtain on the right) is a magician who has some important items for you. Sadly they're not interested in talking until you do something impressive.
What would be impressive is making an alternative appearance, rather than coming in through the door.
Instead of using the door, you can enter the hut through the chimney.
Before you enter through the chimney, the fire needs to be out.
The fire goes out by pouring some water on it.
You can get some water from the screen called "coast" (right side of the map). Just walk up to the shore and choose "pick up" on the water.
Once the water is out, walk behind the house. Then click the chimney to climb up.
You're now in an attic. It's importat to inspect this location very well before pressing the big red button.
You need to look at the junk twice in order to find a broken pump. I don't think you can go back up to the attic later, so if you don't grab it now, you're softlocked.
Once you have the pump, press the red button. After a little cutscene, the magician is willing to talk to you and even gives you a quest.

How do I get rubber?

Rubber comes from a tree.
The specific tree you need is near the "big tree". It's not the big tree itself, but one screen removed from it.
From the screen with the Big Tree is an exit on the righthand side. There's a red orchid on the right side of this screen. Just to the left of the orchid is a tree with dry and cracked bark.
Use a a sharp knife to cut the dry bark in order to get to the rubber. Once you've done this, you need a way to take the rubber with you.
You can store the rubber in a bottle. There's a bottle on the ground in the screen called "coast" (right side of the map). Pick up the bottle there and use the bottle on the cut tree to get the rubber.

How do I get to the small island?

There's a small island on the bottom right of the overview map. You can get to it, but you'll need a boat, a pump and a paddle.
Once you have the items you need, you need to put your boat together.
Try combining the items in the right order.
First use the pump on the boat to inflate it. Then use the paddle on the inflated boat.
Once you have a working boat, you'll have to find a suitable place to deploy it.
What's a good place that's near the island?
Go to the screen called "coast" on the right side of the overview map. There you can use your boat on the water.
Once your working boat is in the water, you can move to the small island.
You might think you need to "use" the boat, but that's not it.
Instead you just walk onto the boat. Then Gajbraš will take it to sea and sail to the small island.
When you want to go back, you do the same thing. Just click on the boat with the walk icon selected and you'll sail back to the main island.

How do I get a boat?

The donkey in the jungle can help you. Have you met them? First go the "jungle" screen from the overview map (left of the volcano), and then on this screen exit at the left side. They're surrounded by balloons, you can't miss them.
When talking to the donkey, choose "let's talk business" and then bring up the boat. They're willing to set the machine up for making a boat if you give them some food in return. What do you think donkeys eat?
In this game donkeys eat clover.
Have you noticed any clover anywhere? It's really hard to spot, but it's mentioned in some descriptions if you look around.
It's near the lava stream at the base of the volcano. When you look at the grass, its mentioned how much clover there is. You can pick some up if you click in the correct location.
It's a bit towards the left and the bottom. Use the "pick up" icon and you'll grab some clover.
You can give the clover to the donkey by talking about the boat again. Once the machine is ready to go, just add rubber.
Now you have the boat, but you can't use it yet. To blow it up you need a pump and to move it across the water you need a paddle.

How do I inflate the boat?

You can't inflate it on your own, you're going to need a tool. You need a pump.
The pump is in the hut, but it's not straight-forward to get I'm afraid.
You can get it while trying to get the magician to talk.
Once you have the pump, it turns out it's broken. You can't repair it yourself, but someone can help you.
Surely the pump is made from rubber. Who do you know who's good with rubber?
That's right, it's Dunlop the rubber expert, out in the jungle. In case you haven't met them yet, go to the screen labelled "jungle" in the overview map (left of the volcano) and exit at the left side to meet them.
Talk to Dunlop and ask if they can fix your broken pump. It's under the "let's talk business" option.

How do I get a paddle?

The paddle is laying around somewhere. Where would you think it makes sense to store a paddle?
The paddle is outside of the hut. You can almost just take it, once you get something out of the way first.
The paddle is behind the logs. First take some logs, which reveals the paddle behind them. Then take the paddle.

How do I get mother's milk? (or: how do I get the scroll with the red ribbon?)

Mother's milk is one of the items the magician in the hut needs. You first need to be able to talk to the magician before you can give them this item.
You also need to be able to travel to the small island.
The mother's milk item can be found on the small island. What is there that holds milk?
Coconuts hold milk. There are no coconuts just laying around though. You'll need to put in some work.
On the first screen of the small island is a large palm tree which holds some coconuts.
Shake the tree to make a coconut fall to the ground.
Once you have the coconut you can talk to the magician in the hut. They'll give you a spell scroll with a red ribbon in return for it.

How do I get the scent of the forest? (or: how do I get the scroll with the blue ribbon?)

Scent of the forest is one of the items the magician in the hut needs.
Have you come across something in the forest with a particularly strong smell?
There's an orchid in the forest somewhere
The scent of the forest can be found near the big tree. First head to the screen labelled "big tree" from the overview map, then take the exit at the righthand side to enter the screen with the red orchid.
You can talk to the orchid to get to know it better.
The goal is to flatter the orchid into sharing its scent with you. The orchid is easily offended though. If this happens and it no longer wishes to talk to you, use the "use" verb on the flower to reset it. Then you can continue talking.
You'll have to praise its smell, say it smells much better than you and then ask for a memory of its scent.

The correct sequence of dialogue options is:

  • I'm Gajbraš Trípvůd, a lover of flowers
  • Orchids are the most beautiful
  • I admire your charming aroma
  • You smell nicer than me. I haven't washed in ages!
  • Give me a memory of your scent
Now the flower agrees to share its scent, but it requires a leaf to transfer the scent onto.
Once you have the leaf, go through the dialogue options again, but instead of choosing "give me a memory of your scent" now choose "would you perfume this leaf for me?".
The flower agrees and you now have a scented leaf. Head back to the hut and talk to the magician.
Oh no! There is no option to give the leaf to the magician, now what?
I don't know why they made it like this, but it seems you can only fulfill the quest once Gajbraš realises he has the quest item.
Looking at the leaf doesn't help. But using the leaf does, as Gajbraš then mentions how the leaf holds "all the scents of the forest".
First use the scented leaf, then talk to the magician again and you'll have a dialogue option to hand in the leaf. You receive another magic scroll, this time with a blue ribbon.

How do I get the death of the sea? (or: how do I get the scroll with the green ribbon?)

Death of the sea is one of the items the magician in the hut needs.
Death of the sea is actually in the sea. You need something to get it out of the sea. What could be used to get things from the sea?
It's a fishing rod. There's not a ready-made fishing rod available though. You'll have to make one yourself.
You need three items to build a working fishing rod.
What you need to make a strong fishing rod is: a vine, an anchor and bait.
Now that you have the items you need, you can combine them in order to make a strong fishing rod.
First use the vine on the anchor. This will attach the anchor to the end of the vine. Then use the vine+anchor on the sausages to put the bait on the hook.
Now that you have your contraption, you need a place where you can catch something.
Remember the beach? It has sharks in the water. It's the screen where the game started. It's labelled "beach" on the overview map.
When you try to use the fishing rod, Gajbraš mentions he's not strong enough by himself. You need some help from the environment. What looks strong?
The palm tree is strong enough. Use the fishing rod on the top of the palm tree to attach it.
Now you just leave it there for a little while. Try going somewhere else.
Just as you were exiting the screen, the fishing rod moves and you catch a shark! Go check it out!
Look at the shark to get a close-up of it.
Now what is actually the deadliest part of a shark?
It's the teeth. You can pick up one of the teeth by clicking around its mouth.
Once you have a shark tooth, return to the magician and talk to them.
Hmm... there's no dialogue option to give the tooth to the magician. It's the same thing as with the scent of the forest.
Before you can give the item, you first need to use it.
Once you've used the shark tooth, a dialogue option opens up when talking to the magician to give him the death of the sea. You'll get another spell scroll in return, this time it has a green ribbon.

How do I get the glitter of the ocean? (or: how do I get the scroll with the white ribbon?)

Glitter of the ocean is one of the items the magician in the hut needs.
To get the glitter of the ocean, you will need to go into the ocean. In order for this to work, you first need a spell scroll with a green ribbon.
This spell works a bit differently than the previous ones. Instead of finding the correct location to use it, you can just use it anywhere and Gajbraš will acquire the gills of a fish. This gives him the ability to breathe under water.
Once you have used the spell with the green ribbon and have the ability to breathe under water, you'll need to find a good spot to go into the ocean.
What's a screen with water access that we've not used until now?
It's the cape. Go to the screen labelled "cape", on the left side of the overview map. From there it's possible to go into the ocean. But it's not as straight-forward as simply clicking on the water, I'm afraid.
Notice that big rock? It wasn't interactive before, but now it suddenly is.
Once you have used the spell with the green ribbon, you can pick up the big rock on the cape.
Now you're at the bottom of the ocean. You can get two items from here.
The first item you can get is the pearl. That is actually what is meant by "the glitter of the ocean". The other item you can get is a chest. Take them both.
Once you have the two items you need, you can swim back up. But how?
How did you get down there in the first place?
It's because of the boulder. Use the boulder to swim back up.
Now go back to the magician and talk to him to give him the pearl.
If the dialogue option to give the pearl doesn't show up, it's because of the same problem as before with the scent of the forest and the death of the sea. You first need to use the pearl before you can give it.
Once you've used the pearl, talk to the magician and a dialogue option appears to hand it over. You'll receive a spell scroll with a white ribbon. It's the L.S.G.: spell of Last Saving Grace. It's the final spell you can get from the magician.

How do I get a leaf?

Getting a leaf is a step in the quest to find the scent of the forest.
In order to get the leaf, you need the spell scroll with a red ribbon, which you receive after handing over the mother's milk to the magician.
You can try to cast the spell anywhere to reveal an opening. The question is: which screens looks like it might hide an opening? Warning! The scroll can only be used once, so make sure you save before you cast the spell.
The opening is pretty large, so you need to find a place where it will fit.
The game designers have been kind and didn't make you walk far from where the orchid is (that's why you need the leaf, remember?).
The location where you can cast the opening spell is in front of the big tree. If you're at the orchid, exit to the left. Otherwise go to the overview map and go to the screen labelled "big tree".
When in front of the big tree, cast the spell to reveal a lever. Pull the lever and a door appears. Go through the door to go up the tree.
Now you would think there's lots of leaves up in a tree, but no. You need a very specific leaf and you currently don't own it. Someone else does, who is up in this tree.
The leaf you need is owned by a bird in the nest.
Try doing things with the nest.
Talk to the nest to reveal the bird. Ask the bird for help and it will give you the leaf.

How do I get a vine?

The vine is needed to make a fishing rod in order to get the Death of the Sea for the magician in the hut.
You can get the vine from the same location as where you can get the leaf. In order to get to that location you need a spell scroll with a red ribbon.
Ok, so the vine is up the big tree. It's just hanging there.
Go up into the tree through the entrance. The vine hangs to the right side of the entrance. Grab it and it's yours.

How do I get an anchor?

An anchor is needed to make a fishing rod in order to get the Death of the Sea for the magician in the hut. The anchor acts as a hook.
You need to be able to travel to the small island in order to find the anchor.
Once you're on the small island, just walk around a bit and see if you can spot the anchor.
It's laying on the ground next to the skeleton of Captain Kid. Pick it up and you've got it.

How do I get bait?

Bait is needed to make a fishing rod in order to get the Death of the Sea for the magician in the hut. The bait you're looking for is magic.
In order to make the bait appear, you need the spell scroll with a blue ribbon.
If you look at the spell scroll, you'll notice it says something about magical trees. Hmmm.
Have you seen a tree that looks like it might be magical?
In the jungle is an odd red-looking tree that's not quite like the others.
The red tree in the jungle is the magic tree. Go to the screen labelled "jungle" from the overview map and cast the spell while standing in front of it. It will magically grow all sorts of good stuff on it.
One of the items that grow on the magical tree are some sausages. Those look like they might make for excellent bait.
If you try to take the sausages, it won't immediately let you. But don't let this deter you.
There's nothing else you need to solve this puzzle.
Just keep trying to take the sausages and at one point it will work.
You'll need to jump up five times before you're able to get the sausages.
On the 6th attempt Gajbraš will jump up higher and is able to take the sausages, which you can use as bait for your fishing rod.

How do I get the red crystal?

The red crystal can be found on the small island at the bottom right of the overview map. This item is needed to open the temple door which is across from the lava.
Before you head over to the small island however, first talk to Dunlop the rubber expert. They're located in the screen labelled "jungle". From there exit to the left to get to Dunlop.
Talk about what makes Donkey Island interesting, especially its inhabitants. This unlocks a new dialogue option, about the ancient temple.
Talk about the temple with Dunlop. Then go to the small island, exit to the right and look at the tomb stone.
You learn the skeleton is that of Captain Kid. Once you know this, you can talk to the skeleton to wake them up. Try all the various dialogue options to get to know them.
If you've also talked with Dunlop about the temple, there will be an option to talk about the temple with Captain Kid. They'll bring up the red crystal.
Now simply talk about the red crystal and Captain Kid will give it to you.

How do I get the blue crystal?

The blue crystal can be found inside a chest, at the bottom of the ocean. The blue crystal is needed to open the temple door which is across from the lava.
Once you have the chest from the bottom of the ocean, you need to open it somehow.
The traditional ways of opening a chest don't seem to work. There is no key. You need to think of an alternative approach.
Maybe you can break the chest?
Dropping the chest from a big height would do it.
Where can you go up some height from the ground?
It's at the top of the big tree.
Go up the tree through the entrance and drop the chest down to the ground.
Use the chest on the green patch to the left of the opening.
Now go back down and pick up the blue gem that's laying there on the ground.

How do I cross the lava?

When you go to the volcano, there's a lava stream blocking your way. You need to create a makeshift bridge in order to cross it. Be warned though: once you've crossed, there's no going back! So either make sure you save your game, or make sure you have everything you need (which is the red crystal, the blue crystal and the last saving grace spell).
What would make good material for a bridge?
Logs would be good, right? Have we seen any of those?
There are logs outside of the hut. Go to the hut and pick up the logs.
Now use the logs on the lava to get to the other side. But again, be warned: once you do this, there is no going back. So either save your game before you deploy the bridge, or make sure you have all the items you need to open the temple door.

What's up with the temple?

The temple is one of the last places you need to visit. If there are other things you've still got to do, do those first.
The temple is across the lava stream near the volcano. In order to progress towards the end of the game, you need: a red crystal, a blue crystal and a spell of last saving grace.
So once you've crossed the lava you're standing in front of the donkey temple's entrance. Walk in through the nose to get into the temple. There you see two slots and an inscription with broken up text.
You need to insert two special items into the slots: a red crystal and blue crystal.
Walk up real close to the slots. Then use the red crystal in the left slot and the blue crystal in the right slot. The left door will close and the right door will open.
Now walk through the door on the right and up to the donkey's head to get a cutscene.

Oh no, I've fallen down the crater!

Once you've went through the temple and up to the donkey head, you will eventually fall down into the crater. No worries, this is normal.
It's a pretty dire situation though.
What you need is a last saving grace.
Good thing you have exactly the spell for that!
Cast the spell using the scroll with the white ribbon. You will receive some items that will help you out.
Did you notice the dark patch on the wall? It's weaker than the rest.
I bet if you used a heavy tool you could burst right through the wall.
Use the hammer to break the wall and hop out of here.

How do I deal with the evil pirate LeGek?

Don't worry about LeGek too much, he doesn't do anything until his pirate zombie assistant arrives.
You've been given a bunch of items, you could try using them for a bunch of fun. You won't actually beat LeGek using them though.
The solution is diplomacy.
Talk to LeGek. You can try all the options you like for a laugh.
The correct option is to apologise.
Say you're sorry to trigger the end cutscene.
You've now beaten the game. Congratulations!