It is summer in the countryside. Fields are full of golden corn and
green plants. The air is warm and the birds are singing.
A mother duck is sitting on her seven eggs. She has done this for many days. Now she is feeling tired.
Soon, her eggs start hatching. Six little ducklings come out of their shells. Their coats are yellow, and they are full of energy.
One egg hasn't hatched yet. It is bigger than the others. An old duck visits the mother duck.
The strange egg finally hatches. The duckling jumps free from his shell. He has a gray coat, not yellow. His neck is long and his nose is black.
The mother duck walks to the pond. The ducklings follow her. She jumps into the water. The ducklings quickly jump in, too. They can all swim well.
The mother duck shows her ducklings their home. They live on a farm with ducks and other animals. The little ducklings look around curiously.
The other ducks are eating dinner. A girl throws a fish head into the group. They all want to eat it. One duck quickly eats the fish head. The other ducks are jealous.
The ducks look at the mother duck and her ducklings. They are not happy to see them.
The ugly duckling drops his head. He feels ashamed. The mother duck pats him on the head.
Many weeks go by. The other animals are not nice. The rooster chases and bites him. The chickens tease him. The farm girl also kicks him at dinnertime.
The ugly duckling feels lonely. One day, he runs away from the farm.
He finds some ducks who live on a small lake.
The little duckling is hurt. He swims away. There are some geese nearby. They look kind. He swims over to them.
Just then, a loud sound comes from the side of the lake.
The duckling walks away from the lake. Soon, a storm comes. The wind blows very hard. There is rain and lightning. It is not easy to walk in this weather.
The duckling sees a small house. It is old and dirty. There are many holes in its walls. He goes inside. An old woman, a hen, and a cat live there.
The old woman looks at the duckling. Her eyes are not good.
She puts the duckling into a cage. Then, she gives him something to eat.
The duckling can't lay eggs. Instead, he eats a lot of food every day. After three weeks, he is growing fat.
Now, the duckling is too scared to eat. He doesn't want to get fat. People like to eat fat ducks.
The hen can't believe her ears. She has never seen a bird swim.
The old woman takes a nap every afternoon. The duckling waits for her to fall asleep. His cage's door is open. He quietly walks past the woman and leaves the house.
Outside, the duckling feels very cold. Autumn is here. There are leaves on the ground all around him. He looks up into the sky. There are many large, white birds flying away. They are swans.
The duckling looks for food. It is not easy to find any. Soon, there is snow in the air. Winter is coming. The rivers and lakes are very cold. The weather gets colder and colder. There is ice on top of the river. The duckling is tired and very hungry. He lies down beside the water. He is almost dead.
A farmer is walking beside the river. He sees the duckling. He picks him up and takes him home. His children are very happy. They feed the duckling and take care of him.
The duckling spends the winter at the farmer's house. The children feed him every day. The duckling gets stronger and larger. One day, in the springtime, the farmer looks at the duckling.
The farmer takes the duckling to a pond behind his house. The duckling is happy to see the water. He jumps into the water and swims joyfully around.
The duckling hears a sound. He looks up. The swans are returning. They fly into the water beside him. The duckling is happy and surprised. He wants to meet these beautiful birds.
The duckling looks into the water. It is true. He can see himself. He is a beautiful white swan! Some children are standing near the pond. They have come to see the swans.
The countryside was lovely. It was summer. The wheat was golden and the oats were still green. The hay was stacked in the low-lying meadows. There lay great woods around the fields and meadows. There were deep lakes in the midst of the woods. In the sunniest spot stood an old mansion surrounded by a deep moat. Great leaves grew from the vines on the walls of the house right down to the water's edge. Some of the leaves were so big that a child could use them as an umbrella.
In the depths of a forest a duck was sitting in her nest. Her little ducklings were about to be hatched.
At last one egg after another began to crack.
But the biggest egg was still there. And then she settled herself on the nest again.
The shell will not crack, but the others are the finest ducklings. They are like their father.
You had better leave it alone and teach the other children to swim.
At last the big egg cracked. How big and ugly the baby was!
The next day the mother duck with her family went down to the moat. She said, and one duckling jumped in after another.
The big ugly one swam about with them.
Afterwards, matters grew worse and worse. The poor duckling was chased and harassed by all the ducklings because he was very ugly.The ducks bit him, the hens pecked him. and the girl who fed them kicked him aside. Then he ran off and soon came to a great marsh where the wild ducks lived.
He was so tired and miserable that he stayed there the whole night.
In the morning the wild ducks flew up to see their new friend.
It was a terrible shock to the poor duckling.
A big dog appeared close beside him. He showed his sharp teeth and went on without touching him.
In the evening he reached a little cottage where an old woman lived with her cat and her hen. Her eyesight was not good, and she thought the duckling was a fat duck. will be rich if I have duck eggs,
The cat was the master of the house and the hen was the mistress.
One evening the sun was just setting when a flock of beautiful large birds appeared out of the bushes.
The duckling thought,
They were dazzlingly white with long necks. They were swans. He did not know what the birds were.
他们有长长的脖子，全身是令人眩目的白色。他们是天鹅，他并不知道这些鸟是什么鸟。 The winter was so bitterly cold that the duckling swam about in the water to keep himself from freezing.
The sun began to shine warmly again. The larks were singing and beautiful spring had come. Then, all at once, the duckling raised his wings and they flapped with much greater strength than before. Before he knew it, he found himself in a large garden where the apple trees were in full blossom and long branches of lilacs overhung the shores of the lake.
Just in front of him he saw three beautiful white swans swimming towards him.
But what did he see in the clear water? He was no longer a dark gray ugly bird. He was himself a swan!
The Ugly Duckling
One evening, the sun was just setting in with true splendor when a flock of beautiful large birds appeared out of the bushes. The duckling had never seen anything so beautiful. They were dazzlingly white with long waving necks. They were swans and uttering a peculiar cry. They spread out their magnificent broad wings and flew away from the cold regions toward warmer lands and open seas.
They mounted so high, so very high, and the ugly little duckling became strangely uneasy. He circled around and around in the water like a wheel, craning his neck out into the air after them. Then he uttered the shriek so piercing and so strange that he was quite frightened by himself. Oh, he could not forget those beautiful birds, those happy birds and as soon as they were out of sight. He ducked right down to the bottom and when he came up again, he was quite beside himself. He did not know what the birds were or where’d they flew. But all the same, he was more drawn towards them than he had ever been by any creatures before. He did not envy them in the least. How could it occur to him even to wish to be such a marvelous beauty? He wouldn’t be thankful if only the ducks would have tolerated him among them, the poor ugly creature.
Early in the morning, a peasant came along and saw him, he went out onto the ice and hammered a hole in it with his heavy wooden shoe, and carried the duckling home to his wife. There, it soon revived. The children wanted to play with it. But the duckling thought they were going to ill use him and rushed in and he frightened to the milk-pan, and the milk spurted out all over the room. The woman shrieked and threw up her hands. Then it flew to the butter-cask and down into the meal-tub and out again. Oh, just imagine what it looked like by this time. The woman screamed and tried to hit it with the tongs, and the children tumbled over one another in trying to catch it, and they screamed with laughter.
By good luck, the door stood open and the duckling flew out among the bushes and the new fallen snow. And it lay there, thoroughly exhausted, but it would be too sad to mention all the privation and misery had to go through during that hard winter. When the sun began to shine warmly again, the duckling was in a marsh, lying among the rushes. The larks were singing, and the beautiful spring had come. Then all at once, it raised its wings and they flapped with much greater strength than before and bore him off vigorously. Before he knew where he was, he found himself in a large garden with the apple trees were in full blossom. And the air was scentedly with lilacs, the long branches of which overhung the indented shores of the lake. Oh, the spring freshness was so delicious. Just in front of him, he saw three beautiful white swans advancing towards him from a thicket. With rustling feathers, they swam lightly over the water. The duckling recognized the majestic birds, and he was overcome by a strange melancholy.
“I will fly to them, the royal birds, and they will hack me to pieces because I who am so ugly venture to approach them. But it won’t matter. Better to be killed by them than be snacked up by the ducks, pecked by the hens, or spurned by the hen wife, or suffer so much misery in the winter.” So he flew into the water and swam towards the stately swans. They saw him and darted toward him with ruffled feathers. “Kill me, oh, kill me.” said the poor creature. And bowing his head towards the water, he awaited his death. But what did he see? Reflected in the transparent water, he saw below him his own image, but he was no longer a clumsy dark gray bird, ugly and ungainly. He was himself, a swan.