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The Ugly Duckling Story

This is an amazing short story for kids,  the ugly duckling story. Once upon a time, there was a duck. She lived in the forest. One day she laid some eggs. After warming them carefully, the duck waited for the eggs to hatch. As she watched, three of her eggs cracked and three lovely ducklings came into the world.

Birth Of The Ugly Duckling

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. How ugly and different he is from all my other children.”, mother duck said. The ugly duckling was hated by his brothers and sisters. They would often mock at him. Also, Read The Three Bears and Goldilocks .

The Ugly Duckling Story – www.bedtimeshortstories.com

The Harsh Reality

The ugly duckling felt so sad that he ran away from home one day. Walking alone, the ugly duckling came upon a house. As he peeped inside, he saw an old woman sitting idol. 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 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. Also, read The Ugly Tree Story .

Then, one day, the duckling saw a pond. His eyes lit up in joy as he had seen water after so many days. The ugly duckling hopped of joy. He swam to his satisfaction. But his happiness was short-lived. Winters had started and the cold wind had started to blow. Due to cold weather, the pond had frozen. Now, the ugly duckling couldn’t swim.

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.

Ugly – No More!

One morning, the duckling saw the beautiful swans around him. The duckling was ashamed of himself and bent his head low. He saw beneath the water his own reflection. It was the reflection of a swan. He was no longer a grey, ugly bird. The duckling was amazed. Actually, he had grown into a beautiful swan. Those beautiful swans were his brothers and sisters.

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. Also, read A Proud Red Rose .

Don’t forget to check out the printable version of this story on Pinterest from here .

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Stories to Grow By

The Ugly Duckling Story 

Illustrated By: Stella Wei

This is the Fairy Tale The Ugly Duckling Story. It has been adapted from Hans Christian Andersen and is brought to you by Stories to Grow By. 

Listen to the Ugly Duckling while you read along! 

On a farm long ago , a Mama Duck sat on her nest.  “How long must I wait for my babies to hatch?” she said.  “I have to sit here all alone! And no one comes to visit me.”  But what could she do? A Mama duck must keep her eggs warm till they hatch.  

At last, the eggs began to crack.  One by one, yellow ducklings stepped out of their shells.  They shook their wings and said, “Quack, quack!”

“Look at all of you!” said Mama Duck with joy.  “You are all so cute!”

“Quack, quack!” they said.

Mama Duck said, “Come and line up.  We will go down to the lake for your very first swim.”  She counted – one, two, three, four, five. “Oh dear!” she said.  “I should have six ducklings!”

But one large egg was still in the nest. “Well," said Mama Duck, "it looks like that big egg will take more time.” So she had to go sit on her nest again and wait some more.

The Ugly Duckling

The next day, the big egg started to hatch.  Out came a baby boy bird. But if one may say so, it was an odd-looking thing.  This bird was much bigger than others. He was not yellow at all - he was dark-gray from his head to his feet.  And he walked with a funny wobble.

One of the yellow ducklings pointed.  “What is THAT? He cannot be one of us!”

“I have never seen such an ugly duckling!” said another.  

“How can you say such a thing?” said Mama Duck in a stern voice. “You are only one day old!  Your brother hatched from the very same nest as you did. Now line up. We will go to the lake for your very first swim.”

Yet the other ducklings quacked, “Ugly!  Ugly! Ugly!” The Ugly Duckling did not know why the other ducklings were yelling at him.  He took the last spot in the line.

Each yellow duck jumped in the river and swam behind Mama Duck.  When it was his turn, the Ugly Duckling jumped in and started to paddle, too.  “At least he can swim,” Mama Duck said to herself.

When they left the water and started to play, the Ugly Duckling tried to play with his brothers and sisters, too.  They yelled, “Go away! We will not play with you! You are ugly. And you walk weird, too!”

The Ugly Duckling

When Mama Duck was close by, she would not let them talk in this way.  “Be nice!” she would scold. But she was not always close by.

One day, one of the yellow ducklings said to the Ugly Duckling, “You know what?  You would do us a big favor if you just went away from here!” All of them started to quack, “Get out!  Get out! Get out!”

“Why won’t they let me stay here?” said the Ugly Duckling to himself.  He hung his head down low. “Ah, they are right. I should go.”

That night, the Ugly Duckling flew over the farmyard fence.  He flew till he landed on the other side of the lake.  There he met two grown-up ducks.

The Ugly Duckling

“Can I please stay here for awhile?” said the Ugly Duckling.  “I have nowhere else to be.”

“What do we care?” said one of the ducks.  “Just don’t get in our way.”

“Woof! Woof!”  Suddenly a big hungry dog came tearing by, chasing the two ducks.  They quickly flew up in the air, and their feathers fell down on the ground.  The poor Ugly Duckling froze in fear. The dog sniffed and sniffed at the Ugly Duckling, then turned away.  “I am too ugly even for the big hungry dog to want,” said the Ugly Duckling with his head hung low.

The sky turned dark.   Crack!  A bolt of lightning.  Then came a big storm, with heavy rains pouring down from the sky.  In just moments, the Ugly Duckling was soaked through and through. Then a cold wind started to blow.

“Brrr!” he said with both wings held close to his chest.  “If only there was a place I could get dry.”

All at once, a tiny light blinked far off in the woods.  “Could it be someone’s hut?”

He flew to the door.  “Quack?” said the Ugly Duckling.  The door of the hut creaked open.

“What is all this noise?” said an old woman, looking right and left.  Her eyes were not that good. Then she looked down. “Ah, look at that, it’s a duck!”  She picked up the Ugly Duckling and dropped him inside her hut. “You can stay here, but only if you lay eggs,” she said.

A tomcat and hen crept up to the Ugly Duckling.  “Who do you think you are, coming in here and taking up room by the fire!” said the tomcat.  

“Squawk!” said the hen.  “I do not need anyone else in this hut laying eggs.”

“Do not worry about that,” said the Ugly Duckling.  “I am a boy duck.”

“Then why are you still here?” said the tomcat.  “Did you not hear what the old woman said?”

“Get out of here, pretender!” clucked the hen.  

“Get out!  Get out!“ hissed the tomcat.

The door was still a bit open, so our poor Ugly Duckling slipped out the door, and back into the storm.

“No one ever wants me,” said the Ugly Duckling with a tear in his eye.  

The Ugly Duckling

The storm ended.  Soon he found a new lake.  Looking into the water, the Ugly Duckling saw the reflection of a flock of large white birds flying.  He looked overhead and could not believe what he saw. There, above him, were the most beautiful birds he had ever seen!  Their long white bodies and slender necks seemed to just glide through the sky. He watched until the very last bird had winged its way out of view.  

He stayed at that lake all by himself, and time passed.  The leaves of the trees turned deep red and gold, and then the leaves fell to the ground.  Winter came, setting a blanket of white snow all over. The cold wind and the dark clouds made the Ugly Duckling feel even more sad.

He had to go into the cold, cold lake to fish, but it was getting harder to swim.  The lake was turning to ice. One day, it was all he could do was to paddle the water to keep it from freezing around him, and trapping him in the lake.

“I am so tired!” he said, paddling with all his might.  The ice got thicker and drew closer to him.

In a moment, two giant hands swept him up.  “You poor thing!” said a farmer. He held the Ugly Duckling close to his thick wool jacket and took the bird to his home.  

Never was a warm fireplace more welcome!  For the rest of the winter, the farmer cared for the Ugly Duckling.  Then spring came. Tips of green covered the trees. Short, bright flowers popped up from the ground.  

“It is time for you to go to the lake to swim again, as you were born to do,” said the farmer.  He took the duckling back to the lake where he had found him, and set him with care on the water.

“Gosh, I feel strong,” said the young bird, flapping his wings.  “Why, I never felt as strong as I do right now!”

He heard quiet splashing sounds behind him, and turned around.  A flock of those same beautiful birds he had seen in the sky before landed behind him on the water.

“Do not worry!” he said to them, holding out one wing.  “I will go now. I will not make trouble for you.” A big fat tear rolled down his cheek.  He turned to go away. When he opened his eyes, he saw a reflection in the water of one of those beautiful white birds.  Why was it so close to him? He jumped back. And the reflection jumped back, too.

The Ugly Duckling

“What is this?” he said.  He stretched his neck, and the reflection of the beautiful bird stretched its neck, too.

“Why are you going so soon?” said one of the beautiful birds.  

“Stay here, with us!” said another.  “We’ll be great friends.”

Then, the bird who used to be the Ugly Duckling knew what had happened!  He was no longer an ugly gray bird that wobbled when it walked. 

At one moment, all the swans flapped their wings and took off into the sky. “Come with us,” one called back. “Take the lead!” So he flapped his wings fast and took his place in front of the whole flock.  All his new friends flapped their wings behind him.

“Say!” he said, gliding and dipping through the sky as he sped on.  “Who’s an ugly duckling now? Surely, Not I!”


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Never judge someone from their appearance

Don’t be mean just because something isn’t beautiful to you.

Never judge a book by it’s cover

It’s all about confidence.

Never judge a book by it’s cover, you will never know what’s inside.

Don’t judge someone from their appearance.

You are more beautiful than you think.

Every child and adult has challenges, which are sometimes painful. Some hardships are difficult and make us feel unworthy. Staying strong, asking for help and being persistent will pay off even if you aren’t aware at the time.

Never condem anyone

Don’t judge people by what they look like.

Its a good story

I think what the story is trying to persuade is that you should not be a rude person and judge someone from their appearance. People should know that you can’t judge a book by its cover, it is all about the inside.

A person can be measured only by his good qualities, not by his appearance.

Beauty is what is inside your heart.

My little sister loved this and found it really peaceful trying not to fall asleep to it and loving all the pictures

Maybe you were not perfect yesterday but maybe today you’ll be perfect, like the ugly duckling.

The story told us to treat people the same way we want to be treated ….

Never underestimate anyone

Beauty is not in clothes you wear, beauty is not in make-up you put on. The real beauty is in the good Manner we have.

We should not judge a book by its cover. We should not hurt other’s feelings. You grow beautiful, no matter what people say you are beautiful.

My 5 years old daughter said “you should never laugh at friends no matter what they look like”

Don’t bring people down, pull them up.

Never judge a book by its Cover. The ugly duckling was not a duck he was a beautiful swan ?

you have to be a friend to everyone

Just be your self

We should not hurt other’s feelings.

We should not judge a book by its cover.

Beauty is not every thing in life. We shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.

You grow beautiful, no matter what people say you are beautiful.

Don’t care what people say, just be yourself

not everything is the same even if you want it to be the same

It doesn’t matter what you look like because when you grow up you can be a beautiful person.

This is the best bed time story I have never had this before and I love it I am giving it 5 ?

He should of gloated in front of the ducks

never judge a book by its cover, that goes the same with humans ? Thanks for all the bedtime stories! ☺️

I am a fellow care taker of my little one (little space) and I read her this story and she fell right asleep. I’m very thankful that this webpage was available because I as a daddy to my little one, I have mental issues so I lack the happiness of imagination, but she wanted a story so this was a lifesaver. P.s. she’s so cute when she’s asleep??❤

I read this story to my boyfriend and he fell asleep….and the moral hits hard!!

My 14 year old bestie could not stop playing with her “toys” and actin up in bed so i read her this story and before i knew it she was fast asleep ??? time to do my share ????

Hi i think we should not underestimate any one

Hi! My name is Olivia. I am 5 years old. My daddy read this story to me for bedtime. And I really really enjoyed it. And I love my toys.

I never felt like I belonged with people my age, because I was tall and I was always so shy to talk irl. At the end it shows that no matter what, you’ll always get through stuff. Looks should not matter because god made us, and everyone is unique and different. I read this for my boyfriend till he fell asleep. This story shows to not be mean to people and always show respect ?.

After I rallied my girlfriend, I read her this story and she fell right asleep! She is 18, police, we’re just enthusiastic. It is her fetish.

I feel like this story belongs to people my age because people should know that looks do not matter and do not judge someone by them. The important lesson is what I said about the the first question.

Moral: Never judge people on their appearances. Still be friends with them whether they are ugly or normal.

I’m 15 this year. But my friends didn’t like me cause I’m too short and when we play together, they said that I’m troublesome.

Well… this story did give me some effect.

This teaches you the you should be kind to other people no matter the image the ugly duck turned into a beautiful swan ?

I like how the ugly duckling came out of his shell and met some friends.

1. I did feel like that because I had a very low self esteem but after years went by, I focused more on my schooling career. Now everyone wants to hang out with me and include me. 2. There’s always hope and there’s always a place for everyone and no matter what anyone has to say you are beautiful. Also never to judge a book by its cover and jump the gun.

This is an amazing and meaningful story . I’m speechless. I don’t know what to say.

1. I have not ever felt like I didn’t belong. 2. He found out that he wasn’t ugly and was a beautiful swan. You shouldn’t listen to what others think about you.

When some one is mean do you listen to them or don’t listen to him?

At school no one talks to me half the time. Except for Clara. That he is not an ugly duckling. And that you’re not always gonna be accepted. But it’s okay. You’re great on your own.

I think this was a amazing story. I felt like you should have added a bit more where the used to be ugly duckling showed his family of ducks what he looks like now. I feel that they would be jealous and sorry for the words they used to make the ugly ducking feel bad about himself.

never judge a book by its cover.

Yes, right now I do not feel good with people my age. It just gives me a feeling in my throat that makes me wanna cry. The most important lesson the Ugly Duckling learns is to not to treat others poorly just because of what they look like.

Great read, loved the detailed artist illustrations

I love the ugly ? duck

My kids and I enjoy these stories. We look forward to bedtime now..

This was a very nice story. Although my toddlers fell asleep, I kept on reading!

? – Its incredible how we people do not realize our own beauty. Neither do i, thank you for the great story. ?

This was a great version of an amazing classical story. I used to be made fun of for having light colored eyebrows and I hated it, until one day I realized that it doesn’t matter what people think of you!

I really like this story! My friend wanted me to tell him a story to fall asleep to, this is the one I picked.10/10

What a GREAT story. the ugly duckling reminds me of myself, because I am the ugly duckling.

My little sis really enjoyed this so much! I read it to her at night. She liked it so much that she fell asleep? before I even finished the story; which is kinda rare with her because it usually takes like a hour or so to make her go to sleep. Thank you for the story!!?

1. at one point i did feel like i didn’t because i was much smaller than everyone, but now that i hit a growth spurt i feel i’m above them all. 2.i feel that he has learned to not mind what people think of you, to ghost for a little while away from all distractions and to come back even better as he did at the end of the story.

The story is amazing and very nice the moral to it is good and really can teach people a good lesson.

This story is very inspiring and nice.

It brings me back to my childhood days and it brings me joy

This story always brings me happiness when I read it

i was always picked on by my family and they would tell me stuff and felt as if they never wanted me there with them

the important lesson the duckling learned is that it doesn’t matter who you are or what you look like, you will always be someone great

One time a friend felt like she didn’t with the rest of the kids and I made myself feel how she was feeling then I told the teacher.

This was a good book even though I’m nine I still really like it

I used to be insulted because of crooked teeth and wearing braces .. but few years later braces became a trend, even for people who didn’t need it (which is weird for me). After I removed my braces, they said I was beautiful. I never forgot because for such a small child, it was a sad thing to hear from people around me.

#sorry bout my english :)

When I was bad at basketball on a team of good basketball players. Even if you don look like everyone you can do do great things.

1.I did feel that way especially when I was a school-goer because of how I looked,no one treated me fairly calling me fat,I could not play with others.I felt like an outsider, constantly being bullied for no good reason. The moral of Ugly Duckling tells us that no matter what others say or think about you, always believe in yourself.There is beauty even in imperfection.The world may turn against your back,but you have got nothing to lose :)

yes, I have felt like I don’t belong somewhere before, the message of the ugly duckling is that no matter how you look you’re still beautiful

Yes, I always feel like I don’t belong in a place. I always have this thought that makes me think that I should leave but then I realized that there is no problem with me being there.

The ugly duckling learned that he was not an ugly bird, he looked at himself through a reflection and realized that he was beautiful the way he was.

When I was little I was pretty tall (not anymore) and I felt left out when I was constantly looking OVER the kids head. Soon enough I learned to be confident and that it was okay to be tall.

The lesson the ugly duckling learned is that he just has to embrace what he looks like and be confident.

I think this story had a great lesson to it because how each place and each person or animal the duckling went to he was always welcome because he wasn’t ugly he was beautiful just the way he was and so don’t let people tell you ugly you’re not beautiful because you’re perfect just the way you are and don’t let people tell you otherwise.

I like you had a choice to read by yourself or have read to you and that really helpful so can we have these options more often please

I have felt left out first when I did gymnastics I didn’t know anything so there were other girls that knew more, but it took me a while to be in there stage so here I am I can do what they could do and I’m learning more new things! ugly duckling learned his lesson that he just had to kept trying harder he didn’t give up which was great! So he learned to never give up and that he is beautiful

When I went to my new training

Question 1: I never really felt like I didn’t belong with others my age because everyone is so different where none of us are really the same. Question 2: The important lesson the Ugly Duckling learned in the end is to embrace your difference.

My daughter said it was amazing and she would love to read it again !

Very good story

She loved the bed time story and she whould like to have copyof your awesome story

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The Ugly Duckling

By hans christian andersen.

The Ugly Duckling

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.

"Well, how are you getting on?" asked an old duck, who paid her a visit.

"One egg is not hatched yet," said the duck, "it will not break. But just look at all the others, are they not the prettiest little ducklings you ever saw? They are the image of their father, who is so unkind, he never comes to see."

"Let me see the egg that will not break," said the duck; "I have no doubt it is a turkey's egg. I was persuaded to hatch some once, and after all my care and trouble with the young ones, they were afraid of the water. I quacked and clucked, but all to no purpose. I could not get them to venture in. Let me look at the egg. Yes, that is a turkey's egg; take my advice, leave it where it is and teach the other children to swim."

"I think I will sit on it a little while longer," said the duck; "as I have sat so long already, a few days will be nothing."

"Please yourself," said the old duck, and she went away.

At last the large egg broke, and a young one crept forth crying, "Peep, peep." It was very large and ugly. The duck stared at it and exclaimed, "It is very large and not at all like the others. I wonder if it really is a turkey. We shall soon find it out, however when we go to the water. It must go in, if I have to push it myself."

On the next day the weather was delightful, and the sun shone brightly on the green burdock leaves, so the mother duck took her young brood down to the water, and jumped in with a splash. "Quack, quack," cried she, and one after another the little ducklings jumped in. The water closed over their heads, but they came up again in an instant, and swam about quite prettily with their legs paddling under them as easily as possible, and the ugly duckling was also in the water swimming with them.

"Oh," said the mother, "that is not a turkey; how well he uses his legs, and how upright he holds himself! He is my own child, and he is not so very ugly after all if you look at him properly. Quack, quack! come with me now, I will take you into grand society, and introduce you to the farmyard, but you must keep close to me or you may be trodden upon; and, above all, beware of the cat."

When they reached the farmyard, there was a great disturbance, two families were fighting for an eel's head, which, after all, was carried off by the cat. "See, children, that is the way of the world," said the mother duck, whetting her beak, for she would have liked the eel's head herself. "Come, now, use your legs, and let me see how well you can behave. You must bow your heads prettily to that old duck yonder; she is the highest born of them all, and has Spanish blood, therefore, she is well off. Don't you see she has a red flag tied to her leg, which is something very grand, and a great honor for a duck; it shows that every one is anxious not to lose her, as she can be recognized both by man and beast. Come, now, don't turn your toes, a well-bred duckling spreads his feet wide apart, just like his father and mother, in this way; now bend your neck, and say 'quack.'"

The ducklings did as they were bid, but the other duck stared, and said, "Look, here comes another brood, as if there were not enough of us already! and what a queer looking object one of them is; we don't want him here," and then one flew out and bit him in the neck.

"Let him alone," said the mother; "he is not doing any harm."

"Yes, but he is so big and ugly," said the spiteful duck "and therefore he must be turned out."

"The others are very pretty children," said the old duck, with the rag on her leg, "all but that one; I wish his mother could improve him a little."

"That is impossible, your grace," replied the mother; "he is not pretty; but he has a very good disposition, and swims as well or even better than the others. I think he will grow up pretty, and perhaps be smaller; he has remained too long in the egg, and therefore his figure is not properly formed;" and then she stroked his neck and smoothed the feathers, saying, "It is a drake, and therefore not of so much consequence. I think he will grow up strong, and able to take care of himself."

"The other ducklings are graceful enough," said the old duck. "Now make yourself at home, and if you can find an eel's head, you can bring it to me."

And so they made themselves comfortable; but the poor duckling, who had crept out of his shell last of all, and looked so ugly, was bitten and pushed and made fun of, not only by the ducks, but by all the poultry. "He is too big," they all said, and the turkey cock, who had been born into the world with spurs, and fancied himself really an emperor, puffed himself out like a vessel in full sail, and flew at the duckling, and became quite red in the head with passion, so that the poor little thing did not know where to go, and was quite miserable because he was so ugly and laughed at by the whole farmyard. So it went on from day to day till it got worse and worse. The poor duckling was driven about by every one; even his brothers and sisters were unkind to him, and would say, "Ah, you ugly creature, I wish the cat would get you," and his mother said she wished he had never been born. The ducks pecked him, the chickens beat him, and the girl who fed the poultry kicked him with her feet. So at last he ran away, frightening the little birds in the hedge as he flew over the palings. "They are afraid of me because I am ugly," he said. So he closed his eyes, and flew still farther, until he came out on a large moor, inhabited by wild ducks. Here he remained the whole night, feeling very tired and sorrowful.

In the morning, when the wild ducks rose in the air, they stared at their new comrade. "What sort of a duck are you?" they all said, coming round him.

He bowed to them, and was as polite as he could be, but he did not reply to their question. "You are exceedingly ugly," said the wild ducks, "but that will not matter if you do not want to marry one of our family."

Poor thing! he had no thoughts of marriage; all he wanted was permission to lie among the rushes, and drink some of the water on the moor. After he had been on the moor two days, there came two wild geese, or rather goslings, for they had not been out of the egg long, and were very saucy. "Listen, friend," said one of them to the duckling, "you are so ugly, that we like you very well. Will you go with us, and become a bird of passage? Not far from here is another moor, in which there are some pretty wild geese, all unmarried. It is a chance for you to get a wife; you may be lucky, ugly as you are."

"Pop, pop," sounded in the air, and the two wild geese fell dead among the rushes, and the water was tinged with blood. "Pop, pop," echoed far and wide in the distance, and whole flocks of wild geese rose up from the rushes. The sound continued from every direction, for the sportsmen surrounded the moor, and some were even seated on branches of trees, overlooking the rushes. The blue smoke from the guns rose like clouds over the dark trees, and as it floated away across the water, a number of sporting dogs bounded in among the rushes, which bent beneath them wherever they went. How they terrified the poor duckling! He turned away his head to hide it under his wing, and at the same moment a large terrible dog passed quite near him. His jaws were open, his tongue hung from his mouth, and his eyes glared fearfully. He thrust his nose close to the duckling, showing his sharp teeth, and then, "splash, splash," he went into the water without touching him, "Oh," sighed the duckling, "how thankful I am for being so ugly; even a dog will not bite me." And so he lay quite still, while the shot rattled through the rushes, and gun after gun was fired over him. It was late in the day before all became quiet, but even then the poor young thing did not dare to move. He waited quietly for several hours, and then, after looking carefully around him, hastened away from the moor as fast as he could. He ran over field and meadow till a storm arose, and he could hardly struggle against it. Towards evening, he reached a poor little cottage that seemed ready to fall, and only remained standing because it could not decide on which side to fall first. The storm continued so violent, that the duckling could go no farther; he sat down by the cottage, and then he noticed that the door was not quite closed in consequence of one of the hinges having given way. There was therefore a narrow opening near the bottom large enough for him to slip through, which he did very quietly, and got a shelter for the night. A woman, a tom cat, and a hen lived in this cottage. The tom cat, whom the mistress called, "My little son," was a great favorite; he could raise his back, and purr, and could even throw out sparks from his fur if it were stroked the wrong way. The hen had very short legs, so she was called "Chickie short legs." She laid good eggs, and her mistress loved her as if she had been her own child. In the morning, the strange visitor was discovered, and the tom cat began to purr, and the hen to cluck.

"What is that noise about?" said the old woman, looking round the room, but her sight was not very good; therefore, when she saw the duckling she thought it must be a fat duck, that had strayed from home. "Oh what a prize!" she exclaimed, "I hope it is not a drake, for then I shall have some duck's eggs. I must wait and see." So the duckling was allowed to remain on trial for three weeks, but there were no eggs. Now the tom cat was the master of the house, and the hen was mistress, and they always said, "We and the world," for they believed themselves to be half the world, and the better half too. The duckling thought that others might hold a different opinion on the subject, but the hen would not listen to such doubts. "Can you lay eggs?" she asked. "No." "Then have the goodness to hold your tongue." "Can you raise your back, or purr, or throw out sparks?" said the tom cat. "No." "Then you have no right to express an opinion when sensible people are speaking." So the duckling sat in a corner, feeling very low spirited, till the sunshine and the fresh air came into the room through the open door, and then he began to feel such a great longing for a swim on the water, that he could not help telling the hen.

"What an absurd idea," said the hen. "You have nothing else to do, therefore you have foolish fancies. If you could purr or lay eggs, they would pass away."

"But it is so delightful to swim about on the water," said the duckling, "and so refreshing to feel it close over your head, while you dive down to the bottom."

"Delightful, indeed!" said the hen, "why you must be crazy! Ask the cat, he is the cleverest animal I know, ask him how he would like to swim about on the water, or to dive under it, for I will not speak of my own opinion; ask our mistress, the old woman- there is no one in the world more clever than she is. Do you think she would like to swim, or to let the water close over her head?"

"You don't understand me," said the duckling.

"We don't understand you? Who can understand you, I wonder? Do you consider yourself more clever than the cat, or the old woman? I will say nothing of myself. Don't imagine such nonsense, child, and thank your good fortune that you have been received here. Are you not in a warm room, and in society from which you may learn something. But you are a chatterer, and your company is not very agreeable. Believe me, I speak only for your own good. I may tell you unpleasant truths, but that is a proof of my friendship. I advise you, therefore, to lay eggs, and learn to purr as quickly as possible."

"I believe I must go out into the world again," said the duckling.

"Yes, do," said the hen. So the duckling left the cottage, and soon found water on which it could swim and dive, but was avoided by all other animals, because of its ugly appearance. Autumn came, and the leaves in the forest turned to orange and gold. then, as winter approached, the wind caught them as they fell and whirled them in the cold air. The clouds, heavy with hail and snow-flakes, hung low in the sky, and the raven stood on the ferns crying, "Croak, croak." It made one shiver with cold to look at him. All this was very sad for the poor little duckling. One evening, just as the sun set amid radiant clouds, there came a large flock of beautiful birds out of the bushes. The duckling had never seen any like them before. They were swans, and they curved their graceful necks, while their soft plumage shown with dazzling whiteness. They uttered a singular cry, as they spread their glorious wings and flew away from those cold regions to warmer countries across the sea. As they mounted higher and higher in the air, the ugly little duckling felt quite a strange sensation as he watched them. He whirled himself in the water like a wheel, stretched out his neck towards them, and uttered a cry so strange that it frightened himself. Could he ever forget those beautiful, happy birds; and when at last they were out of his sight, he dived under the water, and rose again almost beside himself with excitement. He knew not the names of these birds, nor where they had flown, but 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. Poor ugly creature, how gladly he would have lived even with the ducks had they only given him encouragement. The winter grew colder and colder; he was obliged to swim about on the water to keep it from freezing, but every night the space on which he swam became smaller and smaller. At length it froze so hard that the ice in the water crackled as he moved, and the duckling had to paddle with his legs as well as he could, to keep the space from closing up. He became exhausted at last, and lay still and helpless, frozen fast in the ice. Early in the morning, a peasant, who was passing by, saw what had happened. He broke the ice in pieces with his wooden shoe, and carried the duckling home to his wife. The warmth revived the poor little creature; but when the children wanted to play with him, the duckling thought they would do him some harm; so he started up in terror, fluttered into the milk-pan, and splashed the milk about the room. Then the woman clapped her hands, which frightened him still more. He flew first into the butter-cask, then into the meal-tub, and out again. What a condition he was in! The woman screamed, and struck at him with the tongs; the children laughed and screamed, and tumbled over each other, in their efforts to catch him; but luckily he escaped. The door stood open; the poor creature could just manage to slip out among the bushes, and lie down quite exhausted in the newly fallen snow.

It would be very sad, were I to relate all the misery and privations which the poor little duckling endured during the hard winter; but when it had passed, he found himself lying one morning in a moor, amongst the rushes. He felt the warm sun shining, and heard the lark singing, and saw that all around was beautiful spring. Then the young bird felt that his wings were strong, as he flapped them against his sides, and rose high into the air. They bore him onwards, until he found himself in a large garden, before he well knew how it had happened. The apple-trees were in full blossom, and the fragrant elders bent their long green branches down to the stream which wound round a smooth lawn. Everything looked beautiful, in the freshness of early spring. From a thicket close by came three beautiful white swans, rustling their feathers, and swimming lightly over the smooth water. The duckling remembered the lovely birds, and felt more strangely unhappy than ever.

"I will fly to those royal birds," he exclaimed, "and they will kill me, because I am so ugly, and dare to approach them; but it does not matter: better be killed by them than pecked by the ducks, beaten by the hens, pushed about by the maiden who feeds the poultry, or starved with hunger in the winter."

Then he flew to the water, and swam towards the beautiful swans. The moment they espied the stranger, they rushed to meet him with outstretched wings.

"Kill me," said the poor bird; and he bent his head down to the surface of the water, and awaited death.

But what did he see in the clear stream below? His own image; no longer a dark, gray bird, ugly and disagreeable to look at, but a graceful and beautiful swan. To be born in a duck's nest, in a farmyard, is of no consequence to a bird, if it is hatched from a swan's egg. He now felt glad at having suffered sorrow and trouble, because it enabled him to enjoy so much better all the pleasure and happiness around him; for the great swans swam round the new-comer, and stroked his neck with their beaks, as a welcome.

Into the garden presently came some little children, and threw bread and cake into the water.

"See," cried the youngest, "there is a new one;" and the rest were delighted, and ran to their father and mother, dancing and clapping their hands, and shouting joyously, "There is another swan come; a new one has arrived."

Then they threw more bread and cake into the water, and said, "The new one is the most beautiful of all; he is so young and pretty." And the old swans bowed their heads before him.

Then he felt quite ashamed, and hid his head under his wing; for he did not know what to do, he was so happy, and yet not at all proud. He had been persecuted and despised for his ugliness, and now he heard them say he was the most beautiful of all the birds. Even the elder-tree bent down its bows into the water before him, and the sun shone warm and bright. Then he rustled his feathers, curved his slender neck, and cried joyfully, from the depths of his heart, "I never dreamed of such happiness as this, while I was an ugly duckling." - -

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The Ugly Duckling

Deep in the forest, he saw a cottage in which there lived an old woman, her hen, and her cat. The duckling stayed with them for some time but he was unhappy there and soon left. When winter set in the poor duckling almost froze to death. A peasant took him home to his wife and children. The poor duckling was terrified of the children and escaped. The ugly duckling spent the winter in a marshy pond.

Finally, spring arrived. One day, the duckling saw a beautiful swan swimming in the pond and fell in love with her. But then he remembered how everyone made fun of him and he bent his head down in shame. When he saw his own reflection in the water he was astonished. He was not an ugly duckling anymore, but a handsome young swan! Now, he knew why he had looked so different from his brothers and sisters. “They were ducklings but I was a baby swan!” he said to himself.

He married the beautiful swan and lived happily ever after.

81 thoughts on “ The Ugly Duckling ”

This story is awesome!!

I have to do a report on it, thanks for the help:):):):):):):)!!!!!

it is one amazing story.

ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXY and Z now i know my ABC’s next time won’t you sing with me

a very cute story and great for fun

me and my friend had to do a report on this story….Thanks for the help!!!!!:)

its not because its influencing young children and telling them that they need to be beautiful to fit in!!!!!!!!!!!

No, it’s actually telling them that EVERYONE is beautiful!

this is so true so the ugly duckling if fully understood is not actually meaningfull!!!

S u are correct

it's too short but amazing.

Awesome story 😀

Excellent story!

nice story and very interesting to read……………………… awesome

Short n sweet…..

but baby swans arent ugly

Actually you could say that the story is for the ones who accept who they are and what they are.😁😁

I can't remember the story anymore.

A little duckling was very sad because he thought he was the ugliest amongst all his brothers and sisters. They would not play with him and teased the poor ugly duckling. One day, he saw his reflection in the water and cried, “Nobody likes me. I am so ugly.” He decided to leave home and went far away into the woods. Deep in the forest, he saw a cottage in which there lived an old woman, her hen, and her cat. The duckling stayed with them for some time but he was unhappy there and soon left. When winter set in the poor duckling almost froze to death. A peasant took him home to his wife and children. The poor duckling was terrified of the children and escaped. The ugly duckling spent the winter in a marshy pond. Finally, spring arrived. One day, the duckling saw a beautiful swan swimming in the pond and fell in love with her. But then he remembered how everyone made fun of him and he bent his head down in shame. When he saw his own reflection in the water he was astonished. He was not an ugly duckling anymore, but a handsome young swan! Now, he knew why he had looked so different from his brothers and sisters. “They were ducklings but I was a baby swan!” he said to himself. He married the beautiful swan and lived happily ever after.

A little duckling was very sad because he thought he was the ugliest amongst all his brothers and sisters. They would not play with him and teased the poor ugly duckling. One day, he saw his reflection in the water and cried, “Nobody likes me. I am so ugly.” He decided to leave home and went far away into the woods.

Finally, spring arrived. One day, the duckling saw a beautiful swan swimming in the pond and fell in love with her. But then he remembered how everyone made fun of him and he bent his head down in shame. When he saw his own reflection in the water he was astonished. He was not an ugly duckling anymore, but a handsome young swan! Now, he knew why he had looked so different from his brothers and sisters. “They were ducklings but I was a baby swan!” he said to himself.

that is very amazing story 🙂 🙂

it"s so beautiful story

The ugly duckling is actually very cute

Made me cry. Beautiful story!!

i love this story

Thank U for the Story

beautiful story

the duckling was married to a swan

even ugly he trusted himself he still would love to have him

If an ugly creature, because over time they also tempt

I like the stories it is brief and its also gives vivid description of the stories.

My childhood story

he wasnt ugly

weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee hahahaha

I love it thnks

nice story 🙂 :*

we love him

My life is similar to the ugly ducking, because I never see or meet my father, I travel to another country, still in pain but in the end I see my transformation of my life

How the cosmic bless the unfortunates ugly ducklings,


the story is so very interesting in life

the story is beautiful

i love the story hahahahahahahahahaaha

this is a nice story

I love this story because I m the student of ECD I want the job pls help me

what is the conflict of this story ??

The story teaches us not to judge things by its cover and to be kind to others.

Great summary.

what an amazing story wow

whos the author?

a very inspiring story.

How great this story…. I love this story from now on.. I like this one huh. So keep it up!!!!:-)

What a nice ending…… How nice…..

thank you you helped me with my work

it was a cool story


Nice I fapped to this story

How can a ugly duckling suddenly change to a beautiful swan?..

Its a fictional story think about it!

this so helped on me English assignment

We love this!!

very cute story

This is such a cool story! I wish I turned out to be a beautiful swan… 🙂

Gooooooood. Very good

Never give up, it is nice

Good story for story telling

Love it but too short

i love that story because it makes me think about myself i’m beautiful no matter what people think and now i have a boy friend who loves me for who i am so thanks to this story everyone haves a happy ending after all

Never judge a book by its cover. Beautiful story!

An interesting story indeed… A story with hope..

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Short Stories for Kids

The Ugly Duckling - Short Story For Kids

a short story ugly duckling

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DLTK's Fairy Tale Activities The Ugly Duckling

© Written by Tasha Guenther and illustrated by Leanne Guenther Fairy tale based on the original tale by Hans Christian Andersen

There was once a mother duck.  This mother duck had no children yet for none of her eggs had hatched.

She waited patiently day and night for her babies to hatch.  One day, as she was sitting on her nest of eggs the mother duck felt something move beneath her.


Filled with happiness, the mother duck watched as, one by one, her eggs hatched.  She was so excited to lead her children to the pond and teach them all the ways of being a duck.  Unfortunately for the mother duck, one egg was left to hatch.  This egg was larger than the rest.  This egg was browner than the rest.  Her little ducks impatiently waited for two more days and nights.

“I want to go to the pond, Mother,” one baby duck quacked.

“Let’s go!  Let’s go!” two more quacked excitedly.

But the mother duck made them all wait, for she promised herself that she would love all her children the same.

At the crack of dawn on the third day of waiting, the large brown egg began to vibrate.  It shook and shook as all of the ducks watched in awe.

Then suddenly:  CRAAAAACK!!!

Out from the large brown egg popped a large, strange looking head of a bird that didn’t look much like a duck.  This baby’s beak was a little too long, his feathers were a little too scruffy, and his face was a little too ugly!

But, nonetheless, the mother duck promised herself that she would love all her children the same.

ugly duckling

She taught them how to quack.  Each duckling quacked.


The ugly duckling quacked.


All of the ducks in the pond stared at the ugly ducking and began to laugh.  The mother duckling sadly took her little ducklings over to a different part of the pond.  The other ducklings were giggling and making fun of the ugly one.  Two nearby ducks swam by and pecked at the ugly duckling’s feathers.

“This one looks nothing like your others!” one jested.

“This one is ugly!” the other scoffed.

The ugly duckling hung his head in shame.  The mother duckling became very embarrassed of her ugly duckling and made him stay in the corner of the pond while the others practiced swimming, diving, quacking, and splashing.

One evening, as all of the ducks in the pond had gone to sleep, the ugly duckling decided that it was time for him to leave.  He knew he was causing his mother distress and he did not want to live in a place where he felt unwanted.

So the little ugly duckling ran away.

He waddled far away from the pond where he was born.  He waddled through small marsh plants and large river reeds.  He waddled over bundles of sticks and piles of dung.  All this waddling made him dirtier than ever.

He approached a new pond that was filled with a family of different ducks.  These ducks were happily swimming and quacking.  He advanced one of the ducklings who looked to be just a bit larger and older than the ugly duckling.

“Hello there!” beamed the ugly duckling to the other duckling.  With this, the new family of ducks turned and stared at the ugly duckling.

“And who are you?” asked the mother duck.

“What are you?” asked the father duck.

“You sure are ugly!” all the ducklings chimed in.

As this family of ducks began to quack and laugh at the ugly ducking, he waddled off again in search of a nicer family to call his own.

He waddled far away from the pond with the family of ducks.  He waddled through small marsh plants and large river reeds.  He waddled over bundles of sticks and piles of dung.  All this waddling made him even dirtier than before!

Next the ugly duckling came to an even larger pond filled with a family of geese.  The goslings were a brown-gray like he was!  Happily, the ugly duckling waddled to the water’s edge, plopped his little body in the water, and swam towards the family of geese.  He advanced one of the goslings who looked even larger and greyer than him.

“Hello there!” the ugly ducking happily exclaimed, greeting the gosling.  With this, the family of geese turned and stared at the ugly duckling.

“And who are you?” asked the mother goose.

“What are you?” asked the father goose.

“You sure are ugly!” all the goslings chimed in.

As this family of ducks began to honk and laugh at the ugly ducking.  Before the duckling could waddle off the geese surrounded him and the father goose said, “Though you are quite strange looking you may stay with us!  You are more than welcome to join our family.”

The ugly duckling couldn’t be happier.  The geese were very kind to him though their honks hurt his ears.

Many days and nights passed and the ugly duckling was living happily with the geese.  He loved to play with the goslings and the mother and father treated him like their own.  Everything was perfect.  Until…

A hunter and his basset hound approached the pond.  The hunter began firing off shots at the geese and the hound chased the birds around the pond trying to catch one.  The ugly duckling could do nothing but sit still.  As the hound approached him, sniffed for awhile and cocked its head, “What are you?  You sure are ugly!” it said before it ran off in search of a real goose.

In the midst of the hunter’s ambush, the ugly duckling sadly waddled off once more.

He was growing larger; his feathers were coming in and the ugly duckling was able to fly off the ground.  However, the ugly duckling had become very weak and hungry; he did not have enough strength to fly.

Instead he waddled his way to a small house where he took shelter during the night.

In the morning, the ugly duckling awoke to the sounds of human chatter.

“What is it?” an old woman asked.

“A duck, perhaps?” her husband replied.

“Just what we’ve needed!” the woman exclaimed.

With that, the farmer and his wife allowed the ugly duckling to live with them in the hopes that the duck would lay eggs for them to eat.

They waited and waited… and waited.  But nothing happened.  The ugly duckling never laid eggs; he did, however, grow larger and harder to take care of.

Though the farmer and his wife had grown fond of the ugly duckling, they had no more room him in their house.

And so, they shooed him out.

“Go find yourself a family that will love you!” shouted the farmer, sadly, as he shut the door.

The ugly duckling hung his dead and waddled far away from the farmer’s house.  He waddled through now frozen marsh plants and large frozen river reeds.  He waddled over frozen bundles of sticks and frozen piles of dung.  All this waddling made him colder than ever.

Miraculously, the ugly duckling had survived the cold winter.  With spring, all of the frozen ponds melted and the frost evaporated from the marsh plants and river reeds.  The ugly duckling was still sad, however.

He approached a crystal clear pond and saw a family of the most beautiful birds he had ever seen - swans.

As he sat by the water’s edge, he didn’t even dare to ask these birds if he could join, for he knew if he was too ugly to live with ducks, geese, and humans, he was surely too ugly to live with a gorgeous bevy of swans.

Suddenly, a swan gracefully glided through the water over to where the ugly duckling was sitting.

“My, my!  Your feathers are the whitest I have ever seen.  How they gleam in the sun!” the swan exclaimed to the ugly duckling.

Confused, the ugly duckling wandered to the water and peered at his reflection.  Much to his surprise, he was not an ugly ducking, for he was not a duck at all!   He was a beautiful white swan with a long and elegant neck.

He entered the water and joined his new family.

One day, as the swans were swimming, a man and his wife came strolling by with their child.  The swan recognized this couple as the farmer and his wife.

They approached the edge of the pond and began to feed the swans breadcrumbs.

The farmer looked at the once ugly ‘duckling’ and said, “It looks like you found yourself a niche – a family.  You are the most beautiful swan I have ever seen.”

For the rest of his days, the swan lived happily with his new swan family and was greeted often by the farmer and his family.

Printable version of this story

About Tasha :

My name is Tasha Guenther. I currently live in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, while I finish my Ph.D. in Cultural Studies with a concentration in digital cultures at McMaster University. I am an avid academic essay/book chapter writer, but I also enjoy writing short stories and non-fiction pieces. You can read more of my DLTKsCrafts work here !

Alongside my learning, studying, and thinking about digital platforms and critical theory, I appreciate long conversations with close friends, reading poetry, and taking photos of my cat. Learn more about me  here  or connect with me on my  Instagram ,  Twitter , VSCO , and  Facebook accounts.


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