Ok, I'm going to post the story again, because Duffydad asked me to do so. I think the story has more impact with the pictures, and I'll comment after the story on why I think Duffy is the way he is because of the book.
Anyway, here is the story translated by Duffydad, and pictures by me.
Endpapers with Cape Cod motif
One day, as Mickey was about to set sail for one of his long adventures, Minnie thought he should have a special keepsake to remind him how much he was loved while he was out at sea. Mickey is Minnie's favorite mouse, so she gave him a teddy bear she had hand-made with her whole heart.
Minnie wrote a rosy "Bon Voyage!" message and carefully dropped it into a small glass bottle. She gently tied the little bottle round the bear's petite neck, capped it with a cork and sealed it with a kiss for luck. Voila!
Minnie presented the bear to Mickey at the pier by the old lighthouse on a blustery day. Mickey smiled brightly, and placed the teddy lovingly into his duffel bag. "I'll call you Duffy!" And the two were off to begin a wonder-full journey.
One night out at sea, Mickey was dog-tired from navigating all day. He decided to go to bed early and fell fast asleep.
Duffy appeared in Mickey's dream, wearing a sailor's uniform and smiling. The happy little bear opened Minnie's message in the bottle and showed it to Mickey:
THIS BEAR IS MEANT TO BRING YOU LOTS OF HAPPINESS AND LUCK.
Mickey smiled in his sleep, and awoke feeling totally reenergized and cheerful.
Mysteriously, upon waking, Mickey found Minnie's message in his own hand! But he was sure that it had been in the bottle and sealed tight when he fell asleep! Not only that, but somehow Duffy had got dressed and was wearing the very same sailor's uniform from the dream!
When Mickey returned home from his voyage, he told Minnie and his friends about his surprising and inspiriting dream come true. They all agreed, but Goofy said it best: "Gawrsh, that Duffy sure is one special teddy bear!"
Everyone wanted one of Minnie's special Duffy bears. So she did her best to make them, one by one, for all of her friends. The waiting list was so long; Duffy was just too popular! There were too many orders, and Minnie couldn't keep up.
So her friends said, "We'll help, Minnie!" And they all worked together, Minnie and all of her friends, making the lovely teddy bears. Each one charmed with a message in a bottle from the heart – we can't forget that!
A lot of people love Duffy now… From children to princesses, to adventurers and explorers like Mickey. Everyone feels happier when Duffy's around! People especially love taking photos with Duffy. They say when anyone sees these pictures, the smiles in the portrait overflow to the viewer! When snapping photographs of cherished memories, you always find your warmest, brightest smile when you're with the bear of happiness and luck!
Mickey with Duffy
Huey, Dewey, & Louie with Duffy
Aladdin & Jasmine with Duffy
Ariel & Eric with Duffy
There's even a rumor that sometimes you can find Duffy by himself, strolling along the pier in his sailor uniform, perhaps returning from his own adventures… But how can this be?! He's just a teddy bear, right? Nobody understands it, but you should try to meet him yourself! Can you think of a new adventure for you and Duffy? Then you'll be saying, too, "That Duffy sure is one special teddy bear!"
Overview of Cape Cod area
Ok, now that you've all seen the story, now I can see why Duffy is treated the way he is. Basically, it looks like the storybook is sort of an "owner's manual". If you notice the pictures, the things the characters are doing with Duffy are very deliberate. You can see why people place Duffy at the table with them to eat...because Mickey and Minnie do the same. You can see characters lining up to take pictures with Duffy. You can see them buying the bears from the store. It's like the Japanese need to be shown what to do with Duffy, and once they understand, they run with it and do their own thing. It's very subtle marketing, and one that I think hearkens back to the way Walt Disney used to use synergy to get people interested in his products. He had a way of selling without being crass or overt about it. I think the way they've created this mythology for Duffy makes sense for the Japanese audience and also keeps it classy. So, how soon after Duffy's debut did this storybook come out?
Oh, I also love the use of the classic styled characters. Goofy looks like his early incarnation, and then you have the generic animals that all look like they came out of Mickey's early cartoons.
Anyway, hopefully everyone enjoys the story and pictures.