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                    249
will kill me, because I, that am so ugly, dare to approach them. But it is of no consequence ! Better to be killed by them than to be pursued by ducks, and beaten by fowls, and pushed about by the girl who takes care of the poultry-yard, and to suffer hunger in winter !' And it flew out into the water, and swam towards the beautiful swans : these looked at it, and came sailing down upon it with outspread wings. ' Kill me ! ' said the poor creature, and bent its head down upon the water, expecting nothing but death. But what was this that it saw in the clear
water ? It beheld its own image ; and, lo ! it was no longer a clumsy dark grey bird, ugly and hateful to look at, but—a swan !
It matters nothing if one is born in a duck-yard, if one -has only lain in a swan's egg.
It felt quite glad at all the need and misfortune it had^ suffered, now it realized its happiness and all the splendour that surrounded it. And the great swans swam round it, and stroked it with their beaks.
Into the garden came little children, who threw bread — and corn into the water ; and the youngest cried, ; There -^ is a new one ! ' and the other children shouted joyously, ' Yes, a new one has arrived ! ' And they clapped their hands and danced about, and ran to their father and