Once upon a time, there was a duck. She lived in a small clearing in the forest. One day, she laid some eggs. After warming them carefully, the duck waited for the eggs to hatch.
Duck: Oh, my little ones! How cute they would be!
As she watched, three of her eggs cracked and three lovely ducklings came into the world. The mother duck was overjoyed. But the largest egg was still there.
At last, the great egg hatched.
Ugly duckling: Peep, peep!
But oh! how large and grey and ugly it was! The mother duck looked at it.
Oh no! He can’t be my baby. How ugly he is, and how different from my other children.
The ugly duckling was hated by his brothers and sister. They would often mock at him
Brother duck: How unattractive you are! You can’t be one of us.
The ugly duckling felt so sad that he ran away from home one day. Wandering alone, the ugly duckling came upon a house. As he peeped inside, he saw an old woman sitting idle. At her foot sat a cat and a hen. Suddenly, the woman noticed the duckling.
Woman: Who are you? Come in!
Ugly Duckling: The old woman looks kind! She has a cat and a hen as pets.
At first, the woman cuddled the duckling, picking him up in her hands. But the very next moment, she screamed at him in anger.
Woman: Away from here! You ugly duckling!
The duckling was frightened. The hen crowed and the cat mewed so fiercely that the duckling ran out of the house.
Once again, the poor duckling went walking through the dark woods. He spent his days sobbing and nights crying. He had no shelter, no food, no friends! He felt lonely and miserable. But the ugly duckling was hopeful in his heart.
Ugly duckling: So what if I am alone! I am sure that in this big world I’ll soon find a friend who would love me despite my ugliness.
Then one day, the duckling saw a pond. His eyes lit up in joy as he had seen water after so many days.
Ugly duckling: Ah, a pond! My favorite place!
The ugly duckling hopped of joy and waded into the pond. He swam to his satisfaction.
Ugly duckling: Happy days are here again.
But his happiness was short-lived. Winter had set in and the cold wind had started to blow. The first snowflakes fell on the ugly duckling.
Ugly duckling: I wish I had a cozy home.
Due to the cold weather, even the pond had frozen. Now the ugly duckling couldn’t swim. He sat moaning and shivering. His body became stiff, and the poor creature could bear no more.
A little while later, a kind farmer happened to pass that way. Taking pity on the duckling’s miserable condition, he took him home. The farmer nursed the duckling and soon the bird was well. Then the farmer left the duckling in the pond.
One morning he shook his wings. They were stronger and carried him forward quickly. The duckling saw some beautiful swans around him. The duckling was ashamed of himself and bowed his head low, but what did he see in the water?
He saw beneath him his own form, no longer that of an ugly, grey bird. It was the reflection of a swan. The duckling was amazed. Actually, he had grown into a beautiful swan.
Swan 1: Hello, brother! Welcome to our community!
You are the most beautiful among us!
The ugly duckling remembered how he had been laughed at and cruelly treated, and he now heard the swans say that he was the most beautiful among them. Now he was no more the ugly duckling.