Once upon a time, there was a duck. She lived in the forest. One day she laid some eggs. There was one very big egg among the eggs she laid.
After warming the eggs carefully, the duck waited for the eggs to hatch. As she watched, three of her eggs cracked and three beautiful ducklings hatched. The mother duck was overjoyed but the largest egg was still there.
At last the great egg burst but it was large, grey, and ugly.
The mother duck looked at it. “Oh no! He can’t be my baby” she cried out. It was a strange looking duck.
“How ugly and different he is from all my other children”, mother duck said. The ugly duckling was disliked by his brothers and sisters. They would often make fun of him.
They wouldn’t swim in the pond with him and they never shared anything with him.
The ugly duckling felt so sad that ran away from home one day. While walking alone, the ugly duckling came across a house. He was curious to see who lived there so he went inside.
Perhaps, he would find someone who liked him. 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.
At first, the woman cuddled the duckling but the very next moment she screamed at him in anger. “Away from here, you ugly duckling”, she said.
The duckling was immediately terrified and ran out of the house. Once again, the poor duckling went walking sadly. He spent the rest of his day and night crying all alone. He felt lonely and miserable but the ugly duckling was hopeful in his heart that someone would like him.
He kept on walking and walking. Then, one day, the duckling saw a pond. His eyes lit up in joy as he hadn’t seen water for so many days.
The ugly duckling hopped into the water with joy. He swam to his satisfaction. But his happiness was short-lived. The water was suddenly becoming colder and colder.
Winter had started and the cold wind had started to blow. Due to the cold weather, the pond had frozen. The ugly duckling couldn’t swim anymore.
A little while later, a kind farmer happened to pass that way. The kind farmer saw the ugly duckling sitting all alone.
“What a strange looking bird”, the man thought to himself. “I shall look after you” he said.
He felt pity for the duckling’s miserable condition and took him home. The farmer took care of the duckling and soon the bird was well. Then the farmer left the duckling in the pond.
One morning, while the duckling was swimming in the pond, he saw beautiful swans around him.
The duckling was ashamed of himself because he looked ugly and bent his head low but he saw something strange beneath.
He saw his own reflection and it was the reflection of a swan!
He was no longer a grey, ugly bird. The duckling was amazed. He wondered if he were a swan too.
The bird had grown into a beautiful swan and those beautiful swans he saw were his brothers and sisters.
The mother swan saw him and cried out “What a beautiful looking swan!”
The mother swan swam to the ugly duckling and her baby swans followed. They were astonished by his beauty.
The ugly duckling remembered how everyone used to ignore him. The ugly duckling now heard the swans say that he was the most beautiful among them. Now he was no more the ugly duckling.
He lived with his new family and they lived happily ever after.