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The Shunned Duckling

Once upon a time there was a mother duck who had six little eggs. And the six little eggs hatched, and six little ducklings emerged. At first they were weak, slimy and crumpled, but in time they grew to be soft and fluffy.

But one duckling was different from the others. He was big and dark and ugly, and the other ducklings made fun of him. This made the duckling sad, but when he saw his reflection in the water as compared to his kin, he saw that they were right: he was damned ugly.

And as time went by, the uglier he was, up until winter. By then he was expected to fly south for the winter, but the ugly duckling thought that he would only suffer in warm weather and decided to stay. Then he’d just suffer a short while in the cold.

And he did. Winter rolled in, and as it happened, it was the warmest winter in history, and he survived.

In spring, the ducks returned, and he met again his kin, but they did not recognize him. They were now stunned by his beauty, for he had turned into the most handsome swan.

The former ugly duckling became so happy that he decided to find other swans, and hang around with them. And for sure, the swans saw he was the most beautiful swan alive. And the ugly duckling mingled with them for a while. But the swans quickly grew to dislike the now beautiful swan, and they left him alone.

And the beautiful swan wondered why, and he spied on the other swans to find out what was the matter. He listened to the swans talk, and they said of him: “What is with that guy? Was he raised by ducks?”

Copyright © 2005 by Bewildering Stories on behalf of the author

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