One side quest tradition in the Zelda series is the Trading Sequence side quest - a little mission strand that involves taking some basic item you get early in the game and slowly swapping it around various NPCs, trading up item for item, one by one, until you eventually land on something useful for your purposes in the game proper. In The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening the trading sequence has you swapping some interesting items, to say the least.
You start out with a Yoshi Doll, but will trade up for items like Dog Food, Bananas, a Broom, a Fishing Hook and eventually a Magnifying Lens. The ultimate reward for the trading sequence is a Boomerang, a classic staple Zelda weapon that proves extremely useful despite it being optional and missable as an item.
On this page, we'll guide you through the various items in the Link's Awakening trading sequence and where to take them in order to obtain the next item. Before we start, it's worth noting that you'll obviously have to wait before trading certain items - how far you can go will be determined by your items and ability to travel the map. Here they all are:
Yoshi Doll - Trading Sequence Item #1
The Yoshi Doll is the first item in the trading sequence, so you have to obtain this from nothing - or rather, from Rupees. The Doll is found as a reward in the Mabe Village Crane Game, aka the Trendy Game. Use the annoying claw to pick up the Yoshi Doll and then grab it. Obviously this will cost a minimum of 10 Rupees to get if you get it first time, but it may cost more if you take multiple attempts. Remember the field of shrubs directly above the shop is a great source of Rupees.
Ribbon - Trading Sequence Item #2
Once you have the Yoshi Doll, take it to the north of Mabe Village. There's a house there with two doors, so it stands out. This is Papahl's House. Inside this house are some young parents. Talk to the mother; she wants the Yoshi Doll for her baby. She gives you the Ribbon in return.
Dog Food - Trading Sequence Item #3
The next step in the item trades is a tin of Dog Food. It too can be found in Mabe Village, and... I wonder where? Yep, it's Madam MeowMeow's house, the house with the BowWow outside that you may have already used to enter one of Link's Awakening's early dungeons. Head into the dog house attached to the right of the main house. Inside is YipYip, a small BowWow. Give YipYip the ribbon to get the Dog Food in return.
Bananas - Trading Sequence Item #4
This step of the trading sequence is important, as you actually must complete up to this point to advance the story. You'll need the Bananas to find Golden Leaves in Kanalet Castle on your way to the third dungeon. To get the Bananas, head to Toronbo Shores, the beach to the south of Mabe Village. Hug the top edge of the beach area and head right; eventually you'll see Banana Trees and a house. ENter that house to find Sale, a crocodile who jsut loves food in cans. Give him the Dog Food to get hooked up with some Bananas.
Stick - Trading Sequence Item #5
As part of gaining entry to Kanalet Castle for the story progression of Link's Awakening, you'll have to give Kiki the Monkey your Bananas. They'll do something to help out your quest in general in return, but you'll also get a Stick for your troubles - which continues the trading sequence quest.
Honeycomb - Trading Sequence Item #6
To complete this stage of the quest you'll need to have completed the Key Cavern dungeon. Once you have, you'll find Tarin in Ukuku Prairie, the area to the east of Mabe Village. Tarin will ask to borrow the Stick to hit a beehive on the tree - he will, and predictable disaster ensures for Tarin... but you can nab the Honeycomb, your next trading item.
Pineapple - Trading Sequence Item #7
Take your Honeycomb back to the Animal Village. In the village's bottom-right house there's a bear who is also a chef - and this bear needs new ingredients. He'll swap you, giving you a Pineapple in exchange for the Honeycomb.
Hibiscus - Trading Sequence Item #8
This trading sequence item involves a familiar face - Papahl, whose house and wife you got the Ribbon from earlier. Papahl is in a bind up on Tal Tal Mountain - he's out of food and is far away from any. If you give him the Pineapple, he'll hand over the Hibiscus Flower.
Letter - Trading Sequence Item #9
Despite the fact you were probably just there trading for the Pineapple, it's time to head back to Animal Village. In one of the top houses in the village is Christine, a goat who always tells you that she loves flowers any time you speak to her - hint, hint. Give her the Hibiscus Flower and she'll give you a letter, asking you to deliver it to Mr. Write... which isn't much of a trade, really. She gets a flower, and Link gets... an errand?
Broom - Trading Sequence Item #10
All is not lost, however. You probably met Mr. Write from early in the game - he's up just north of the Mysterious Forest, which itself is north of Mabe Village. He's quite close to the entrance to Bottle Grotto, Dungeon 2 - he's west of it. Go to his house and give him the letter and he hands you the Broom in exchange, a useful item for the next step of the trading sequence.
Fishing Hook - Trading Sequence Item #11
There's one person on Koholint Island that you'll know wants to do some sweeping if you've been talking to everybody - that's Grandma Ulrira, who is outside Ulrira's phone booth house in Mabe Village. Take the Broom to her and she'll be ecstatic, and will turn over the Fishing Hook in return.
Mermaid's Necklace - Trading Sequence Item #12
The fisherman is probably the most obtuse stage of the trading quest in Link's Awakening. Head to Martha's Bay, the area that you'll find south of Ukuku Prairie or East of the beach. This is where the entrance to the Catfish's Maw dungeon is, in a large lake-like area. On the bottom-right of this Lake area is a bridge; jump into the water and swim underneath that bridge to find a secret area with a fisherman. Give him the Fishing Hook and in exchange he'll hand over the Mermaid's Necklace.
Mermaid's Scale - Trading Sequence Item #13
This one is nice and easy - as soon as you leave under the bridge where the Fisherman is hiding away, swim around close to the huge Catfish's Maw dungeon entrance. There's a Mermaid right here. This is Martha. This is her bay. You can't miss her. This is her necklace, and if you give it back to her, she'll give you a Mermaid's Scale.
Getting the Magnifying Lens, the first Trading Sequence Reward
Once you have the Mermaid's Scale, the trading Sequence is essentially over. You just have to get your reward. To do that, get out of the water and travel to the penninsula that's just south of the Catfish's Maw dungeon. To do this head northeast from the Martha the Mermaid, then follow the path south and west.
You'll need the hookshot to get over a gap, meaning you'll nee to be at least five dungeons into the game to get over here. At the end of the path is a Mermaid Statue.
If you place the Mermaid's Scale on the statue, it'll move away and reveal a staircase. Head downstairs and pick up the Magnifying Glass, which will also reveal the hidden enemies. If you know other Zelda, this item isn't dissimilar to the old Lens of Truth.
Getting the Boomerang - the final Trading Sequence Reward
The final, ultimate reward for the trading sequence is actually the Boomerang, but you have to make a little bit more effort to get it. Once you have access to the Magnifying Lens, you can use it to see many things hidden across Koholint Island, plus to do things like read a mysterious book in the Mabe Village library. You can also use it to get the Boomerang, one of the most powerful weapons in the game.
To get the Boomerang, head to the beach, to Toronbo Shores. On the very bottom screen of the game, you'll see a wall to the north with cracks in it. Bomb it and walk inside. You may have visited here before; without the magnifying glass, it looks empty. With the magnifying glass you'll discover Goriya, a secret, hidden resident of the island!
Goriya will give you the Boomerang - but only in exchange for another item from your inventory. You can swap back and forth at your leisure, but you do have to hand over another item. It's worth it, though. With that, the Link's Awakening trading sequence is complete.