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

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

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THE UGLY DUCKLING                    241
turkey's egg ! Let it lie there, and teach the other children to swim.'                                                •*»
11 think I will sit on it a little longer,' said the Duck. 'I've sat so long now that I can sit a few days more.'
1 Just as you please,' said the old Duck ; and she went away.
At last the great egg burst. ' Piep ! piep ! ' said the little one, and crept forth. It was very large and very ugly. The Duck looked at it.
' It's a very large duckling,' said she; ' none of the others look like that: can it really be a turkey chick ? Now we shall soon find it out. It must go into the water, even if I have to kick it in myself.'
The next day the weather was splendidly bright, and the sun shone on all the green burdocks. The Mother-Duck went down to the water with all her little ones. Splash, she jumped into the water. ' Quack ! quack ! ' she said, and one duckling after another plunged in. The water closed over their heads, but they came up in an instant, and swam capitally ; their legs went of themselves, and there they were all in the water. The ugly grey Duckling swam with them.
' No, it's not a turkey,' said she ; ' look how well it can use its legs, and how upright it holds itself. It is my own child ! On the whole it's quite pretty, if one looks at it rightly. Quack ! quack ! come with me, and I'll lead you out into the great world, and present you in the poultry-yard ; but keep close to me, so that no one may tread on you, and take care of the cat ! '
And so they came into the poultry-yard. There was a terrible riot going on there, for two families were quarrel­ling about an eel's head, and the cat got it after all.
' See, that's how it goes in the world ! ' said the Mother-Duck ; and she whetted her beak, for she, too, wanted the eel's head. ' Only use your legs,' she said. ' See that you can bustle about, and bow your heads before the old Duck yonder. She's the grandest of all here ; she's of Spanish blood—that's why she's so fat; and do you see, she has a red rag round her leg; that's something particularly fine, and the greatest distinction a duck can enjoy : it signifies that one does not want to lose her, and that she's to be