The Ugly Duckling
One fine morning, a duck sitting in her nest full of eggs, felt something moving underneath her.
Crack! Crack! Crack!
Her eggs had started to hatch. She was very happy to see this. One by one, her little ducklings came out of their eggshells, each fluffier and softer than the previous one. But, the last egg which cracked had a very big duckling that was large, clumsy and dirty. He did not look at all like the other beautiful ducklings!
The mother duck loved it just the same, inspite of it being an ugly duckling. When the mother took her babies to the lake, the ugly duckling swam just as well as other ducklings. The mother duck was proud of him.
Few days later, the mother duck took her babies to the farmyard for the first time. The proud mother duck lined all her baby ducklings in a nice row, with the ugly duckling at the end of the row. She told them to quack properly and bow their heads to whomever they meet.
When the Mother duck entered the farm with her ducklings, the other ducks were quite rude.
“Look at that ugly little duckling! He’s not one of us! “said one beautiful snowy white duck. A mean goose even bit the ugly duckling on the neck.
“Leave him!” shouted the Mother duck but the other ducks continued to tease the poor duckling. Soon, his own brothers and sisters were also calling him “Ugly duckling” and refused to play with him.
| As the days passed the duckling grew bigger and uglier. All this time the bullying and teasing continued. Soon, he got fed of these teasing and decided to run off. He wandered from one place to another, often fighting the little birds who lived in the fields.
While he was wandering, the ugly duckling came before a little hut where an old lady lived with her pet cat and hen. The old lady took the duckling in, hoping that she would be able to sell him in the market for a decent price. But here also the pets were rude to the ugly ducklings, as they thought they were more beautiful than him.
One day the duckling ran away to a lake. None of the wild ducks spoke to him there, as they thought he was too ugly to talk.
One sunny morning, he saw a flock of very beautiful birds. Their feathers were so white that they glowed and they had graceful long necks. The sight of these beautiful birds made the ugly duckling cry.
Winters were approaching fast. The duckling stayed on the lake as he had no place and weather was becoming colder and colder. It grew so cold one night that the next morning duckling woke up to find his feet frozen in an ice sheet.
A kind farmer was passing through and seeing the condition of duckling he broke the ice sheet and set him free. The farmer took pity on the duckling and took him to his home.
The farmer set down the duckling in his kitchen, but the duckling flew into the pail of milk and spilled it because he was frightened by the noises, the farmer’s children were making. Then he ran across the kitchen and in the process knocked over a bowl of flour and made a mess.
The farmer’s wife got very angry with the duckling and chased him out from her kitchen. The frightened duckling could not run very far as it was dark and cold outside. There, he found a safe hiding place in an empty barnyard and made a nest for himself.
The whole winter, the ugly duckling nestled snugly in his hiding place. And he came out only in search of food.
At last came the spring. The ugly duckling stretched his neck and as his wings were very strong now so he flew and landed easily on the lake.
Three snowy swans appeared from the grass along the shore, when the ugly duckling was enjoying his first sunny day of spring.
The duckling felt excited when he saw the snowy swans just like he had the first time. As he drew near them, he bowed his head. When he lowered his head, “God!” he exclaimed as he saw a fourth most beautiful swan. And what was more that he was looking back at his own reflection on the water surface.
Over the long winter the ugly duckling had grown and had turned into a most beautiful swan. The happy bird thought that he would never forget the things he had learnt as an ugly duckling even though he would spend rest of his life as a handsome swan.