Pheasant, peasant? What a pleasant present!
~ Shrek

Shrek is the titular protagonist of the original 1990 children's picture book Shrek! by the late William Steig. He is a repugnant and monstrous ogre who has nothing of the humane and good-hearted traits of his movie counterpart.


Shrek is a churlish and horrid ogre who is extremely repulsive not only to people, but also to all animals and plants. He can "spit blasts of fire a full 99 yards and vent smoke from either ear" and his glare can warm up things.

He is also shown to be almost fearless and very powerful, maintaining an evil smile for most of the book and proving capable of defeating a dragon, an armored knight and even nature forces.


After being kicked out of his home by his parents to get his own life, Shrek walks aimlessly around, meeting several other characters in his way. The first character he meets is a witch who, in exchange for Shrek's lice, tells him his fate: he will find his true love after a long journey and a fight with a knight found with the help of a donkey.

Shrek meets a peasant who faints with his presence, granting Shrek the peasant's pheasant for dinner. A storm then starts and Shrek confronts it by gobbling the thunder, causing rain and thunder to go away. He next defeats a dragon in the woods by spitting a flame into its eyes. Afterwards, he dreams with happy kids hugging and kissing him, which he sees as a nightmare.

After a while, Shrek finally finds the donkey foreseen by the witch and rudely commands it to do what it is supposed to. The donkey takes Shrek to a castle, where he defeats the armored knight who guards it by spitting fire on him. He passes through a mirror room and finally finds his ogre princess, who is very similar to him both in personality and appearance. The two marry and live "horribly ever after".

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