THE UGLY DUCKLING 243
because it looked ugly, and was scoffed at by the whole yard. ***
So it went on the first day ; and afterwards it became worse and worse. The poor Duckling was hunted about by every one ; even its brothers and sisters were quite angry with it, and said, ' If the cat would only catch you, you ugly creature !' And the mother said, ' If you were only far away ! ' And the ducks bit it, and the chickens beat it, and the girl who had to feed the poultry kicked at it with her foot.
Then it ran and flew over the fence, and the little birds in the bushes flew up in fear.
1 That is because I am so ugly ! ' thought the Duckling ; and it shut its eyes, but flew on farther ; thus it came out into the grea^ moor, where the wild ducks lived. Here it lay the whole night long ; and it was weary and downcast.
Towards morning the wild ducks flew up, and looked at their new companion.
' What sort of a one are you ? ' they asked ; and the Duckling turned in every direction, and bowed as well as it could. ' You are remarkably ugly ! ' said the Wild Ducks. ' But that is very indifferent to us, so long as you I ^c^ do not marry into our family.' > ¥-**[
Poor thing ! it certainly did not think of marrying, and only hoped to obtain leave to lie among the reeds and drink some of the swamp water.
Thus it lay two whole days ; then came thither two wild geese, or, properly speaking, two wild ganders. It was not long since each had crept out of an egg, and that's why they were so saucy.
' Listen, comrade,' said one of them. ' You're so ugly that
I like you. Will you go with us, and become a bird of passage ? Near here, in another moor, there are a few sweet lovely wild geese, all unmarried, and all able to say
II Rap ! " You've a chance of making your fortune, ugly as you are ! '
' Piff ! paff ! ' resounded through the air; and the two ganders fell down dead in the swamp, and the water became blood-red. ' Piff ! paff ! ' it sounded again, and whole flocks of wild geese rose up from the reeds. And then there