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The Ugly Duckling Fairy Tale is by Danish poet and author Hans Christian Andersen (1805 – 1875). The fairy tale is about an ugly little bird that is abused by his neighbors because he is so different from all the other barnyard creatures.
The story is known as an example of transformation from ugly to beautiful. It is very popular all over the world and has been translated into many languages. "The Ugly Duckling Fairy Tale" was published in November of 1843 by Andersen in Copenhagen, Denmark, along with three other stories. It was welcomed with a lot of love and fame as a critical masterpiece. The Fairy Tale is an original by Andersen and does not seem to have any basis from ancient oral stories or folklore.
When the Fairy Tale begins, a mother duck hatches her eggs. From one of the eggs a baby bird emerges that is very different from the other hatch-lings. The mother and the neighbors think this baby is a homely ugly duckling. This baby suffers a lot of physical and verbal abuse from these neighbors.
As the baby grows, He wanders all around the farm and nearby river encountering all kind of troubles. Finally he sees a flock of wild swans that are migrating south for the winter. He is very excited, but can't join them as he is too young and not yet able to fly.
That winter a farmer finds the freezing little bird and brings him home.
The farmer's children scare the poor little bird and he runs away again. It is a miserable winter. The little bird is by himself and very lonely. He finds a cave near a lake that partly freezes. In the spring when the lake thaws, the migrating swans come back. The ugly duckling is fully grown now.
He is so sad and lonely that he decides to end his life. He figures that the flock of beautiful swans will kill him if he tries to join them. He is shocked when the swans react differently.
Can you guess what then happened to the sad bird?
(This is "The Ugly Duckling Fairy Tale as it was published)
It was lovely summer weather in the country, and the golden corn, the green oats, and the haystacks piled up in the meadows looked beautiful. The stork walking about on his long red legs chattered in the Egyptian language, which he had learnt from his mother. The corn-fields and meadows were surrounded by large forests, in the midst of which were deep pools. It was, indeed, delightful to walk about in the country. In a sunny spot stood a pleasant old farm-house close by a deep river, and from the house down to the water side grew great burdock leaves, so high, that under the tallest of them a little child could stand upright. The spot was as wild as the centre of a thick wood. In this snug retreat sat a duck on her nest, watching for her young brood to hatch; she was beginning to get tired of her task, for the little ones were a long time coming out of their shells, and she seldom had any visitors. The other ducks liked much better to swim about in the river than to climb the slippery banks, and sit under a burdock leaf, to have a gossip with her.
At length one shell cracked, and then another, and from each egg came a living creature that lifted its head and cried, "Peep, peep."
"Quack, quack," said the mother, and then they all quacked as well as they could, and looked about them on every side at the large green leaves. Their mother allowed them to look as much as they liked, because green is good for the eyes.
"How large the world is," said the young ducks, when they found how much more room they now had than while they were inside the egg-shell.
"Do you imagine this is the whole world?" asked the mother; "Wait till you have seen the garden; it stretches far beyond that to the parson's field, but I have never ventured to such a distance. Are you all out?" she continued, rising; "No, I declare, the largest egg lies there still. I wonder how long this is to last, I am quite tired of it;" and she seated herself again on the nest.