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.
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.
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.''
As the winter grew colder, the water in the lake froze. One day the water froze around the ugly duckling's legs and he was stuck! A poor man saw him, broke the ice and took the ugly duckling home to his family. The duckling was afraid of the children and flapped his wings inside the cottage before finally escaping outside into the snow. The rest of the winter was very hard for the duckling.
The Most Beautiful Bird
Finally, winter passed and it was spring again. The ugly duckling found himself in a large garden, where he saw three of the beautiful birds he had seen the previous fall. He decided he would go to them, even though they might kill him because he was so ugly.
When he reached them, they flapped their wings to welcome him. When he bowed his head and saw his own reflection in the stream, he saw that he was ''…no longer a dark, gray bird…but a graceful and beautiful swan''
Little children threw bread and cake to the swans. The new swan, who was no longer the ugly duckling, was happy because ''now he heard them say he was the most beautiful of all the birds.''
In Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale, an ugly duckling is rejected by his family and goes off on his own. He has a hard life until he meets some beautiful swans and realizes he has grown into a beautiful swan, too.
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