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The Ugly Duckling by HC Andersen: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Suzanne Rose

Suzanne has taught all levels PK-graduate school and has a PhD in Instructional Systems Design. She currently teachers literacy courses to preservice and inservice teachers.

What would you do if you were a mother duck who had one duckling that didn't look like the others? Read on to find out what happens to this poor ugly duckling in Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale.

An Egg Hatches

A mother duck sat, waiting for her eggs to hatch. One day, all the eggs hatched - except for one very large one. Finally, the large egg hatched and a young bird popped out. Mother Duck was amazed; it didn't look anything like her other ducklings. It was big, gray and ugly.

The Ugly Duckling Runs Away

The next day, Mother Duck took the ducklings to go swimming. The ugly duckling jumped right into the water with the others.

Mother Duck and Ducklings
mother

When the mother duck took the ducklings into the farmyard to show them off to the other animals, a spiteful duck said he was ''big and ugly,'' and ''must be turned out'' of the farmyard. His mother told the spiteful duck to leave him alone, but the ugly duckling was ''…bitten and pushed and made fun of, not only by the ducks, but by all the poultry.''

This went on day after day - even the ugly duckling's mother, brothers and sisters were mean to him, and the girl who fed the poultry kicked him. The ugly duckling was so sad that he finally ran away.

The Cottage in the Meadow

After leaving the farmyard, the ugly duckling met some wild ducks. They said that he could fly with them to another moor. Before they could leave, hunters with sporting dogs came and began to shoot the wild ducks. Luckily, the ugly duckling escaped.

He was so afraid that he left the water and ran through the meadow until he found a cottage. In the cottage lived an old woman, a cat and a hen. The duckling stayed there for a few weeks, until the hen told him that he either needed to learn to purr like the cat or lay eggs. Since he couldn't do either one, the ugly duckling left the cottage.

Stuck in the Lake!

The ugly duckling found some water in which to live, but all the other animals stayed away from him because he was so ugly. The weather turned colder.

One evening, he saw a flock of beautiful, graceful birds. They made the ugly duckling feel very strange: ''...he felt towards them as he had never felt for any other bird in the world. He was not envious of these beautiful creatures, but wished to be as lovely as they.''

Baby Swans
swans

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