The Complete Fairy Tales & Other Stories
By Hans Christian Andersen - online book

Oxford Complete Illustrated Edition all his stories written between 1835 and 1872.

Home Main Menu Order Support About Search

Share page  

Previous Contents Next

240                    THE UGLY DUCKLING
really glorious out in the country. In the midst of the sunshine there lay an old manor, surrounded by deep canals, and from the wall down to the water grew great burdocks, so high that little children could stand upright under the loftiest of them. It was just as wild there as in the deepest wood. Here sat a Duck upon her nest, for she had to hatch her young ones ; but she was almost tired out before the little ones came ; and then she so seldom had visitors. The other ducks liked better to swim about in the canals than to run up to sit down under a burdock, and gossip with her.
At last one egg-shell after another burst open. ' Piep ! piep !' it cried, and in all the eggs there were little creatures that stuck out their heads.
' Rap ! rap ! ' she said ; and they all came rapping out as fast as they could, looking all round them under the green leaves ; and the mother let them look as much as they chose, for green is good for the eyes.
' How wide the world is ! ' said the young ones, for they certainly had much more room now than when they were in the eggs.
1 Do you think this is all the world ? ' asked the mother. ' That extends far across the other side of the garden, quite into the parson's field, but I have never been there yet. I hope you are all together/ she continued, and stood up. ' No, I have not all. The largest egg still lies there. How long is that to last ? I am really tired of it.' And she sat down again.
* Well, how goes it ? ' asked an old Duck who had come to pay her a visit.
* It lasts a long time with that one egg,' said the Duck who sat there. ' It will not burst. Now, only look at the others ; are they not the prettiest ducklings one could possibly see ? They are all like their father : the bad fellow never comes to see me.'
' Let me see the egg which will not burst,' said the old visitor. ' Believe me, it is a turkey's egg. I was once cheated in that way, and had much anxiety and trouble with the young ones, for they are afraid of the water. I could not get them to venture in. I quacked and clucked, but it was no use. Let me see the egg. Yes, that's a